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45 things I learned at SMAX...

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The 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION of the Senior Market Advisor Expo brought the best and the brightest in the business to Las Vegas for three days of learning and networking. Here’s a snapshot of some of your favorite takeaways, advice and observations that could help you become next year’s Advisor of the Year.

1. Being an independent financial services provider and a loan producer, it was a great benefit to be around so many caring producers. At times my business — even with staff and great clients — feels like I am alone, so through conversations, workshops, exhibitors and keynote speakers, your meeting has me feeling renewed.
– Victor Gray

2. “Approach … Probe … Present … Close.” Also appreciated the information about creating a dream board to set your goals and write them down.
– Pierce Trcka

3. I learned that I must up my efforts to promote myself and my agency through electronic media. I found Nolan Baker’s presentations on this subject to be especially inspiring and worthwhile.
– Jim Geitgey

4. Overheard: “There’s a 96 percent chance you’ll lose every penny you put in a slot machine, and you give financial advice for a living.”

5. “Answer a client’s questions with questions of your own. Try to figure out what’s the thread of their discontent. It’s all sort of like a dating process.”

6. I now see the importance of an elevator speech.

7. One line that will stick with me was said by Chris Abts: “You do not have the right to lose other people’s money.” This is a statement that I live by, but it was great to hear it from an Advisor of the Year finalist.
– Joan Kerr

8. In today’s turbulent and volatile economy, this Expo was absolutely timely. To not attend would be an absolute disservice to your practice.
– Manny Negron

9. Every advisor needs a means to measure their practice and themselves. By hearing highly successful producers share their methods provides a useful measuring stick. By improving my practice and myself I will be of more value to my clients.
– Bill Cox

10. I appreciated the “hammer and shovel” story I heard at Chad Slagle’s “5 Ways to Get to Yes” session. The shovel is an annuity and the hammer is a bond; when you are digging a hole to financial freedom, you surely don’t want to use the claw of the hammer, but when you want to nail two boards together, you shouldn’t use a shovel, either.
– Mike Mynaro

11. I learned to ask more questions with prospects, as Van Mueller suggested: “Would you rather be rich or positively, absolutely be guaranteed never to be poor or run out of income?”
– Ronald C. Russell

12. Overheard: “Everyone will tell you anything if you let them.”

13. “We’re all about education. But I want to educate them into action.”

14. In this age of social media, Internet and everything electronic, sending a personalized card (congratulations, keep in touch) will make you stand out and be unique. Think about it. How many personalized cards do we get? Not many. Take the time to show clients that you care.
– Connie Phillips

15. I liked Dave Williams’ ideas on holding client events for your clients’ children. He did a great job of laying out the keys to success.
– Curtis Cloke

16. “When it comes to your website, it’s a lot easier to improve upon what you already have than to start over from scratch.”

17. I got some great ideas on how I can improve my brand image and how I can help my clients work through the natural reflexes of objections. I also appreciated Abe Ashton’s openness on how he grew his business from being on the last few dollars to his name.
– Roy Kinzler

18. (This Expo) has been an excellent forum of collective information that can be immediately implemented with proven results.
– Debbie Andrews

19. Stop trying to get referrals. Get introductions instead.

Tips & Takeaways from Closing Keynote Speaker HAL BECKER:

20. There’s nothing new in sales. If someone says they have a new idea in sales, they’re lying. Everything you need to know and apply is in the classics like “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

21. As a salesperson or advisor, be yourself. Be natural. Don’t be phony or stiff with your clients. They’ll see right through it. Be the way you are around your best friends. That’s how you build trust.

22. 4 Keys to success:

  1. Love what you do.
  2. If you’re married, be a great spouse.
  3. If you’re a parent, be a great parent.
  4. If you want to have great friends, be a great friend.

23. 4 Reasons salespeople fail:

  1. They don’t like what they do.
  2. They talk too much about themselves.
  3. They don’t make enough sales calls.
  4. They make poor decisions.

24. If you want to succeed:

  • Be organized: Use your daily planner and always keep in touch with clients and prospects.
  • Be aggressive: Consistently make new sales calls every day.
  • Be honest: All you have is your reputation. Do what you say you are going to do.

25. Leave your technology — your cell phone and other electronic devices — in your car when meeting with a prospective client. Don’t let technology get between you and a prospect.

From our Twitter feed:

26. SMAX showgoers warned of the impending Medicaid tsunami. Medicaid consumes 20 percent of most states’ budgets.

27. Advisors should never be afraid to seek out mentors. Always ask, always be on the lookout for top advisors to learn from.

28. Don’t forget public relations is designed to produce long-term leads, not short-term ones.

29. Don’t underestimate the importance of a structured schedule.

30. Want to be the best at what you do? Don’t dictate to your clients.

31 Ready for the 12 most influential words, according to opening keynote speaker Kerry Johnson? Discover. New. Money. Love. Health. Guaranteed. Easy. Proven. Results. Safety. Save. You.

32. “The Internet is today’s Yellow Pages. The basis of social media marketing is interaction.”

33. “The ‘sunk cost’ fallacy — showing your clients how long it takes to get back the money that they’ve lost.”

34. Seniors live on compressed time, and they don’t have the 10-year planning horizon many of us do. We’re the final opportunity to help these people make decisions that will affect the quality of their lives.
– Mike Suttle

35. I never realized the importance of social media. I’ve never really been into that, and now I realize I need to get better at it.
– Tina

36. “Events like this remind me that our business isn’t about the products we sell, but the relationships we build and the people we help.”

37. “Use social media, websites, e-mails and blogs to develop interaction with your customers. Calling them to action is critical.”

38. When clients ask, “How do I know I can trust you?” it’s sometimes easiest to say, “Simply go and check me out on my website, or check me through the Better Business Bureau or the National Ethics Bureau.” Show them you have nothing to hide.

39. Every 80-year-old is like my dad — they deny that they have any money saved away. But they’ll need to talk to someone some day about it.
-Bill McLaughlin

40. The group interactions and responses to common client objections were exceptional pieces of sharing. A roomful of talented, experienced professionals, willingly giving their best answers to the challenges we all face daily.
- Alan C. Kifer

41. Eighty-nine percent of clients are much more interested in their relationship with you than the rate of return. You need to increase the frequency of that relationship.
– Kerry Johnson

42. Use Facebook less for sales pitches and more for social events.

43. I really walked away with a better appreciation for the work that needs to go into your relationship with the client. It’s all about maintaining contact and trust.
– Travis

44. Prospects and clients want to understand what they’re buying, so they can tell their friends.

45. It’s time to go to people and provide them with products that really matter. You are all in the right place at the right time to help.
– Van Mueller


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