I had lunch a few weeks ago with a bright, eager, personable young man who has just started his career in the life insurance business. I asked him how it was going, and what he told me did not surprise me in the least. He loves the business, he said, and he loves talking to people about life insurance. But he finds it incredibly challenging to find enough people who are willing to talk to him about their insurance needs.
I’m not sure whether he found it reassuring or frightening when I told him that his challenge is a common one, and not just among newer producers. Many veterans of the business still find this the most difficult part of their business, but they have found successful methods to make sure they see enough people on a favorable basis.
This month’s roundtable focuses on prospecting and some techniques that really work. I asked three of the top producers in our business about their personal approaches to keeping the pipeline full. I found that, even for these producers, meeting good prospects is not a slam dunk — it takes hard, thoughtful work and persistency.
For part two of this roundtable, see: How to find prospecting ideas
For part three: What’s your best prospecting idea?
Q. Many successful agents I know talk about the importance of making prospecting a regular part of the business day. But in reality, that’s easier said than done. Could you share some specific suggestions for the young producer who is trying to establish strong, productive prospecting habits?
Marcus T. Henderson Sr., LUTCF, president/CEO of Henderson Financial Group Inc. in Nashville, Tenn.: The absolute No. 1 suggestion I would make to a young producer about prospecting is to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Always keep in mind that prospecting is not done sometimes or on a specific day. It is a constant in our profession, almost like breathing. It is something a producer does naturally and with deliberate effort; prospecting should be a part of your very being. Now, I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s necessary. That’s the type of commitment it takes to enjoy the fruits of the MDRT and Top of the Table. Any great producer or executive, in any profession, has already embraced the concepts that will make them successful.
R.J. Kelly, CLU, ChFC, M.S.F.S., founder and chief visionary officer of the Wealth Legacy Family of Companies in San Diego: Become known for something special. Find a way to stick out. Become a specialist in disability insurance for professionals and executives, or college planning services, or charitable planning, or business insurance — e.g., key person life and disability, etc. — or advising on the setting up and funding of buy-sell agreements for franchise owners, or gifts from grandparents to their grandchildren using life insurance, or funding retirement shortfalls with life insurance. There was a young workman on a construction project who always wore red or other bright-colored shirts. He worked hard, showed up early and stayed late. Small surprise that he was quickly promoted. He stood out, he was noticed and he did other things right as well. First step is getting noticed — to not be just a commodity. Be unique.
See also: Where have all the prospects gone?
Marc A. Silverman, CLU, ChFC, president/CEO of Silverman Financial Inc., in Miami: A young producer who is trying to establish strong, productive prospecting habits must get into the routine of prospecting each and every day and set aside specific times to prospect, letting nothing get in the way. For example, you might want to make phone calls from 9 to 11 each morning. Even if you make several appointments early in the week, you should not give up on prospecting later in the week. It is very important that you consistently do the same thing over and over if you want to be successful in prospecting.