According to Webster, “access” is “the ability to approach or communicate” and “ capable of being reached or influenced.” In sales, it comes down to who you know on a favorable basis, and who knows you on a favorable basis. Who is easily accessible to you? It’s this degree of accessibility, or access, which will in large measure determine your success in the financial services industry.

More access, less labor

The access/labor equation holds that the greater the degree of access a person enjoys, the lower the amount of labor required to achieve similar results. Conversely, the lower the level of access, the greater the labor required to achieve those results.

Picture a circular running track about one-eighth of a mile around. Let’s say a runner can get around this track in 40 seconds. Now add another track around the first one, only larger — a quarter-mile around. How long will it take for our runner to get around the second track? Probably twice as long. And if we added a third track that was a half-mile around, it would take even longer to get around, at least three times as long as the first track.

That’s exactly how prospecting works. If track one represents existing clients, it may only require 12 calls to reach our goal of 10 appointments.

Let’s assume track two represents friends in our natural market. A relationship does exist, and we enjoy some access, but they haven’t as yet done business with us. It may take about 20 phone calls to these people to secure our 10 appointments for the week. Do you think it makes sense to put some effort into expanding your natural market?

Track three may represent referred leads. We don’t have as close of a relationship with these people as we do with close friends, but we have something else. We have the borrowed prestige of the person who referred us. So how many calls do you think it would take with these people to land your 10 appointments for the week?

Work your way to the inner tracks

I think you can see where I’m going with all this. As we move to the outer tracks, we see things like newcomer lists and notices of births and marriages. In these instances, the prospects may have a reason to discuss life insurance with someone, but since they don’t know you, they are unlikely to grant you the appointment.

Each of us should stop now and consider the tracks we are running on. If most of our activity is generated on the outside tracks, we have a lot of running to do. But even on the outside tracks, we can generate referred leads. And through these referred leads, we move immediately to the inside tracks where the labor is less intensive and the results are better.

Remember, life is better when working on the inside tracks, where sales are more plentiful. Take every opportunity to get referrals that land you immediately on the inside tracks. And regardless of which track you find yourself on, keep working each week until you reach your appointment-setting objective, whether it be five, 10 or more. Set your own schedule, make the access/labor equation work for you, and you will see your income grow, your stress level reduce and your whole attitude toward life change for the better.

Editor’s note: The preceding is an excerpt from “Understanding the access/labor equation,” by Frank J. McCarthy, CLU, RHU, which originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Life Insurance Selling. Click here to read the entire article.

To read last week’s Words from the Wise, click here.

For more on meeting prospects, see:

Meeting senior prospects? Read this first

Use referral events to meet new prospects

Get to know your prospects — before you meet them