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Enough with all the articles about social media! Agents and financial professionals who believe that social media is a shortcut to success are endangering their careers. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. are fabulous vehicles for creating name recognition and maintaining relationships. They are tools that can be used very effectively by great salespeople. But the attention lavished on social media has mistakenly caused some salespeople to think they can use it as a primary source of prospecting. This is a mistake.

First, social media can be very time consuming. This is due to all the trial and error required to target a market. Yet many in our industry take a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach with their social media attempts.

Remember: To achieve success in our business you must find prospects with money they can invest or find prospects with insurable interests who can afford to protect those interests. Most salespeople fail because they cannot locate those two very important types of prospects. Meanwhile, study after study reveals that 80 percent of the wealth in this country is concentrated in the hands of people over age 65. Social media is not a good way to target these people. They generally do not buy products like these from the Internet.

Second, many are using these programs without learning the basic sales skills necessary for success. Even if you manage to get in front of people, how are you going to get them emotionally invested in what you are saying? I compare it to texting Hw R U? It is shorter, but can you compose a real sentence?  

Be a good salesperson first

Salespeople need to learn to be good salespeople first. The inspiration for taking action comes from us and is different with each prospect. Our industry must train and retain great salespeople to serve the financial interests of the American people during this time of uncertainty.

In the months ahead, we will review ways to develop as many prospects as you would like. Here is your first tool:  

Sell where your feet are

This works at golfing, fishing, at sporting events, at dinner parties, anywhere! As a professional salesperson, I keep my eyes and ears open. Americans are distressed about the economy, their investments, their pensions, home values, etc. They want to talk about it.

You are always only a few questions away from an appointment. What do you think about our economy? Did you lose money in 2007 and 2008, and have you made it back yet? What happens if you lose money again? Do you have a strategy to prevent losses and take advantage of opportunities? I do. Are there strategies for preventing taxes, lost benefits and inflation from destroying your financial future? I have them.

This works. Try it.

Social media cannot make you a better salesperson.

Van Mueller, LUTCF, (www.vanmueller.com) is an insurance agent, professional writer and speaker and Senior Market Advisor’s 2010 Advisor of the year. Responses and questions can be sent to feedback@seniormarketadvisor.com.