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Life Health > Running Your Business

Senior Market Advisor Expo 2010

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This year’s Senior Market Advisor Expo hits Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino August 25-27, with an impressive array of motivational speakers, seminars, workshops and other opportunities to learn more about the business and network with the best. Here’s a preview of what to expect, as well as an informational piece on websites written by advisor, speaker and media expert Nolan Baker. For more information on the event and how to register to attend, visit

Attract new clients and keep the clients you have
Friday, Aug. 27 | 11:15 a.m.
Hal Becker, Author and Sales Expert

Closing keynote speaker Hal Becker doesn’t ask for referrals–never has and never will. “My doctor has never said, ‘Hey Hal, you know any sick people I can call?’” he notes. Instead, he uses what he calls the “Bruce Springsteen” method. Springsteen got on the cover of every major magazine back in the ’80s for one simple reason, says Becker: He gave great concerts. “If you really do a great job, people want to refer you,” says Becker. “I think weak salespeople ask for referrals.”

Becker is a sales trainer, consultant and author of books including “Can I Have 5 Minutes of Your Time?” At the age of 22, he became the No. 1 salesperson among a national sales force of 11,000 for the Xerox Corporation. Six years later in 1983, he survived cancer only months after launching Direct Opinions, one of America’s first telephone survey marketing firms.

Becker has since sold the company and has become a nationally recognized expert on sales, customer service and negotiating. He conducts seminars and consults to more than 140 organizations a year. He has been featured in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Nation’s Business, plus newspapers and radio and television stations worldwide.

In his presentations, Becker notes that companies have shifted resources away from sales training and that has hurt salespeople’s performance. “There are 34 million salespeople in the U.S. and less than 3 percent are over quota, which is kind of shocking,” he says. “Most salespeople hover around average or below average and that’s with virtually no training.”

Becker presents a multistep process to improve performance. The first step is to get organized. Great salespeople are highly organized, he says. They keep track of the details in their business and keep their appointments and commitments.

Get More: Read more articles from Hal Becker.

The second step is to become aggressive, but this doesn’t mean beating prospects up with the world’s hardest close. By aggressive, Becker means staying in contact with clients and prospects. “The key is how many calls can you make a day, whether it’s to high-net-worth individuals or to small businesses,” he says. It’s a constant process.” The third part of the process: honesty. “I know it sounds corny, but all we have is our reputation,” he says. “A lot of salespeople forget that. You want to build a fabulous brand or reputation and when it’s all said and done, that just takes time.”

Generating leads through all stages of your career
Wednesday, Aug. 25 | 2 p.m.
Honey Leveen, President, Your Insurance Specialist LLC

Not many people get to hear royalty speak in person. That will change for attendees of a presentation by Honey Leveen, LUTCF, CLTC, LTCP, owner of Your Long Term Care Insurance Specialist, LLC, in Houston, Texas. Leveen is the self-proclaimed “queen of long term care insurance.” It’s a whimsical title but in fact Leveen is an experienced and successful producer who has focused exclusively on LTCI since the early ’90s. She has qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table several times and is ranked among the top 100 LTCI producers.

Leveen’s presentation will cover lead generation, and she will share her experience of trying multiple methods over the years. In the early part of her career, she used mailings and cold calling. “Direct mail worked beautifully in the early ’90s but for some reason, it’s not that effective these days,” she says. “Maybe people are getting too deluged or maybe people resort to the Internet more.” Some methods have been less successful than others. For example, Leveen has tried print advertising but with weak results.
Nowadays, however, she relies on a busy networking schedule. She’s an active member of the West University Rotary Club and president of Houston Area Continuity of Care. Leveen also belongs to a business women’s book club that meets monthly as well as another professional women’s group that meets once a month.

Her participation in Houston Area Continuity of Care ties in directly with her work. The group “encourages the mutual sharing of information among health care professionals involved in continuity of care and discharge planning.” Leveen says the membership comprises health care agency owners, durable medical equipment providers and marketing staff from assisted living facilities.

Leveen’s program will focus on how different lead generation strategies can work differently for different people and at different stages of their careers. She plans to cover three distinct phases–starting out, mid-career and experienced–in an interactive session using videos. The presentation will draw on her experiences and recognition of how her techniques have evolved. “When I think of how I generated business in the early part of my career, I really was meeting myself coming and going,” she says. “I was much more phone intensive. I planted many seeds during these years and now I’m reaping what I’ve sown over the past 20 years.”

SMA’s 2009 Advisor of the Year shares his formula: Success by design
Friday, Aug. 27 | 10 a.m.
Dave Williams, President, RDW Financial Group

Dave Williams makes it sound easy. But the owner of RDW Financial Group in Brownsburg, Ind., didn’t become SMA’s 2009 Advisor of the Year by accident. He determined what steps were required for his success and implemented a systematic plan for growing his business.

Get More: Read about how Dave Williams became Senior Market Advisor’s 2009 Advisor of the Year.

Williams began his career as a financial advisor in 2000 after working in corporate finance and software development. He entered the industry on the insurance side but soon earned his securities licenses and migrated to full-service financial planning. From the start, he sought affiliations that would help grow his business. “I knew I needed a bigger background than what I could do as a one-man operation,” he says. “I sought out an organization that I felt was good at developing producers, that had good solid business practices and would help me grow my business. I sought out and found an FMO to help me, if you will, develop my business as a partner.

“They had a seminar process for working with the index annuity products that I thought was intriguing,” he says. “They had a turnkey operation where they helped me to put people in the seats, showed me how to give the presentation effectively and then how to understand people’s needs and effective product placement. I listened to what they said and then did what they said and found it to be very successful.”
Williams launched a series of seminars that continues today. He presents roughly 40 public dinner seminars each year. Those seminars generate half of his new business with the balance coming from referrals. His firm has grown to include another advisor and several support staff who serve about 400 clients at or near retirement in central Indiana.

So how did Williams do it? He believes there are five key elements to his success:

  1. Build successful partnerships.
  2. Constantly upgrade your professional education.
  3. Develop a consistent and effective sales process.
  4. Measure what you do to make sure it’s working.
  5. Always operate with integrity.

Adhering to his plan and principles has paid off, but nonetheless Williams was shocked to be recognized as 2009′s Advisor of the Year. “I was absolutely amazed–I had no idea,” he says. “Still to this day I’m awed by the recognition.”

Five quick ways to fix your website
By Nolan Baker, Founder, Retirement Specialists of Northwest Ohio, home of “The Retirement Guys”

Baker will be featured in two presentations:

  • How to Use Social Media as a Prospecting Tool
    Wednesday, Aug. 24 | 2 p.m.
  • Master the Media
    Thursday, Aug. 26 | 2:45 p.m.

I met “Bob” nearly 10 years ago when I was invited to a conference for a major insurance company. Like most financial professionals, I was curious what Bob’s secret was to acquiring new clients. He told me that every day he came in and checked his e-mail to see how many leads he got in from the Internet. Since this was the early days of the Internet, I was intrigued on how he did it. Here are some of his secrets.

An unoriginal website goes nowhere. As a kid, I was one of those nerdy guys with an old Tandy 8086 but was connecting with friends online. I was one of only a few people “online.” Today, everyone is online and a copy cat or template website could make your Internet marketing a failure.

You need to have an original website that is completely unique to you. To find out if your website content is unique, highlight five or six words of content from your website and type it into Google and hit “search.” If any matching results come up, your site is not unique and you could have a hard time being found online. Spend the time or the money to have an original website.

A website is as powerful as a business card. Make sure the website is as powerful as you are. Recently, the furnace went out in one of my rental properties. The first thing I did was go online and Google “furnace repair companies” in town. I looked at a couple of websites and made a judgment call of the company based upon how good their website was. I hired a local company that simply had a great website. Make sure your site looks good and tells your story.

Check your rank. When I served in the Marine Corps, the person with the highest rank was always in charge. Today, the Internet works the same way. On the Internet the consumer usually clicks on the first-, second- or third-listed website. If your website is not listed at the top, you are missing out. Include original content and headings customers would look for. Check your own ranking for free at Then work on improving the results.

“Call to actions” are crucial. So you have a great website that ranks well in the search engines, so what? What do you want your visitors to do? I want them to contact me for help. I have been to several websites that look great but really don’t have any call to action. Creating an experience is important and offering a simple call to action such as offering a free report or tickets to an upcoming seminar is crucial. One way to start tracking your results is using a free service, Google Analytics. This tool tells you what people look at, how long they stay on your website, what brings them to your site and what they click on.

Follow-up is everything. So what’s next, when your site gets ranking? Follow up. Take time to develop a follow-up system that is designed to convert visitors to clients. I have created several e-mail campaigns that automatically follow up with visitors, so they know exactly how I can help them. Then, by automating the follow-up process, I only need to personalize my e-mails to people who have responded to me. I was taught to “automate the expected so you can humanize the unexpected” and you should do the same.


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