As I start each day, I put six poker chips in my left pocket. For each appointment I set, I transfer one poker chip to my right pocket.

When all six chips are in my right pocket and I am finished conducting my appointments for the day, I go home. That is my reward.

I adapted my system from the ideas of Dr. Aaron Hemsley.

There are only two ways to get poker chips:

1. Set up a fact-finding interview.

2. Set up a close.

The most any client can be worth to me is two poker chips.

Three common kinds of appointments do not earn a poker chip:

1. Rescheduling appointments would be similar to cheating at solitaire.

2. Holding second, third, fourth or later closes is inefficient. I close 80% of my business on the first closing appointment. This keeps me spending at least 80% of my time where I generate 80% of my business.

3. Closes where I can make more than $1,500 in first-year commissions do not earn a poker chip for the closing appointment, because I have “big case-itis.” I have trouble asking for more than $3,000 in premiums generating $1,500 in commissions. This way, I can satisfy a need for a client and not worry if he buys, because I have at least 30 other appointments for the week. That will keep my banker happy. With this attitude, I am able to get one or two big cases each month.

I use a trick to earn six poker chips a day, year in and year out. I give myself rewards, not commissions, but little things like a cup of coffee, a soft drink or calling my wife, anything that is pleasurable. Before I can get this pleasurable reward, I must earn the right by getting one or two poker chips. Thus, I may set a goal that before I get a cup of coffee, I must get two more poker chips.

Using this reward system, I can generate nine poker chips a day. Six is the minimum.

The system works. I have been in the life insurance business for only a few years. Every month, I have played my poker chips, for longer than three years, I have earned at least $6,000 in first-year commissions. That is the minimum. Many months have been much higher.

Editor’s note: The preceding Million Dollar Sales Idea was originally published in the April 1987 issue of Life Insurance Selling.

For more Million Dollar Sales Ideas, click here.

For more on prospecting motivation, see:

Better prospecting: No more excuses

How to overcome prospecting jitters

Better prospecting: The power of negative thinking