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Focus on service, not standing

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Two years ago, financial services agent Karen became a “Top 10” representative at her firm. Out of the several hundred agents at her firm, Karen was awarded a certificate, a $15,000 bonus and a great deal of positive attention. But last year, she barely made it into the top 30.

In January, Karen called me for help. “I didn’t do anything differently this past year than I did the year before,” she told me. “Maybe it’s the economy, because it just seems like fewer and fewer people are saying ‘yes’ to me.”

“When you made the ‘Top 10’ two years ago, were you consciously pursuing it?” I asked her. No, she told me, she had been taken by surprise by it.

“What were you focused on?” I asked.

“I guess, my total focus was on helping as many people as I could in as many ways as I could,” she explained.

“Well, did your focus change this past year?”

After careful consideration, Karen responded, “I wanted to make it to the ‘Top 10’ again, and I guess my focus was on that and not really on helping anyone. But would that really have made a difference? I was helping people, either way!”

“There’s a way to find out. Start focusing again on helping as many people as you can in as many ways as you can, and see what happens.”

Sometime later, Karen called to let me know she had made it back into the “Top 10” but that she was no longer focused on either getting there or staying there. Her focus was, once again, on what got her into that exclusive club in the first place.

“What about the economy?” I teased.

Karen laughed. She knew that this had been a poor excuse for taking her focus off exceptional service.

The moral? Stop worrying about your standings, your income or the number of cases you’ve opened, and instead focus your energy, as Karen has, on serving. If you do, you’ll undoubtedly find the personal success and satisfaction you’re after, no matter what your numbers are.

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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet. For more information, go to


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