Editor’s Note: This is the third in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2015. To view the rest of the series, click here.

80. Overcome the Impostor Syndrome.

If, despite your sales success, in your “heart of hearts,” you dismiss your accomplishments as luck, timing or convincing supervisors and clients that you are sharper than you really believe you are…you are a victim of the all too common “Impostor Syndrome.”  The fear connected with this syndrome is that sooner or later a real expert will look at your body of work and recognize that you have been faking it all this time. Steps to reverse the syndrome:

  • Recognize that it exists and it is based on false beliefs about yourself
  • When you receive positive feedback, internalize it and believe it, don’t discount it
  • Never attribute your success to luck.  Luck is preparation meeting opportunity. It was your preparation that enabled you to take advantage of an opportunity.
  • Recognize that no one is perfect. You will have little problems. These do not erase your accomplishments.
  • Keep a journal of each success you have and review it frequently.

— Jack Singer, Ph.D.

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79. When offering worksite LTCI to your book of business, put the focus on caregiving.

LTCI as a benefit will do little for an employer’s bottom line because most working individuals will not use these contracts during their working years. This is why discussing how caregiving is affecting the bottom line is key. The average working caregiver is 49 and is spending 15 to 20 hours per week caregiving. They tend to be the top performing people in management because they are the right age to be performing these tasks for their parents. Ask employers if they have seen an increase in employees’ tardiness or absenteeism as these can be signs someone recently became a caregiver. Savvy employers need to be watching for signs that caregiving has started. Only then will the employer see how LTCI naturally flows out of this discussion as an important benefit for them to be offering to their employees.

— Paul Daugs, multi-life LTCI specialist, Newman Long Term Care

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78. Blog the right way.

Starting an insurance blog is one of the strongest ways to build your personal brand and begin to establish yourself as an expert in the insurance business. Every agent has their own expertise, which puts you in the position to create valuable and educational content. Blogging is an excellent long-term lead generation strategy.

Committing to blogging is the first half of the battle; optimizing and growing your followers is the other. Enlist the help of an experienced blogger to ensure you aren’t just spinning your wheels in the mud. Many agents think strong content with strong keywords will do the trick, but it’s not that easy. By connecting with a blog expert you will find there are specific tactics you should follow to maximize your chances of getting strong and consistent visitors. Again, it takes time. The good news is most agents aren’t doing it, which creates a huge opportunity for you. 

— Drew Gurley, EVP, Redbird Advisors

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77. Start by eliminating the negatives.

When it comes to retirement portfolios, advisors often focus on building positives, and they neglect to minimize or eliminate the negatives. When we work with advisors to help find solutions for their clients, our process allows us to view potential positives and negatives at the same time.

We focus on efficiencies in the portfolio to generate income, using any tax benefits of Roth conversions, delayed Social Security income or FIFO accounting rules. Because fees and taxes — not interest rates — play a larger role in overall success, they could diminish up to 55 percent of the total return. By controlling those variables, the chances of success grow exponentially.

Talk to your clients about re-positioning their portfolios — getting in position to minimize all the negative influences. By doing so, you optimize the portfolio and open it up for more positive outcomes. 

— Mike McGlothlin, Executive Vice President, Ash Brokerage

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76. The best salesperson is the “assistant buyer.”

Prospects really don’t want to shop. The whole process creates anxiety and for good reason. They don’t really know enough about all the options and permutations that may make them regret their purchase latter. They really want an “assistant buyer” who they like, trust and feel has their best interests at heart. They want that “assistant buyer” to be a friend, confidant, and ombudsman. In other words they want to rely on you to make decisions on their behalf. And when they do they will give you the keys to the warehouse. This is why we say the best sales person is the assistant buyer. This means the salesperson must first establish a positive relationship with the prospect way before the pitch. They must thoroughly understand the prospects situation and needs so they can speak with credibility. Remember, they buy you, not your product!

— Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, Founders, Barefoot Wine, New York Times Bestselling Authors of The Barefoot Spirit, How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s#1 Wine Brand, Speakers, Writers, and Consultants

 

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75. Befriend a devil’s advocate and become a detective.

Invite your trusted friends, family members and peers to be devil’s advocate and shoot holes in your sales pitch. Put yourself in the position of your competitors, and try to identify gaps in the products and services you offer. Gather all the information and learn from it. It can be a humbling, eye opening and awesome learning experience!

— John Richard Pierce, Jr., author of ‘Sell More and Sleep at Night’

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74. Be strategic about your brand.

Building a Personal Brand requires long-term strategic planning. Your branding is more than just how you dress or act. It consists of everything that you are and do, both in person and online. Make sure your online brand reflects the perception that you want to leave with your audience as well. 

Todd Greider, CPLP, Training specialist, Fortune 500 Company; Twitter @toddgreider

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73. Prospect socially.

As advisors we need to make it easy for our clients to introduce us to their friends. I believe that our clients have people that they want us to meet and sometimes are just uncomfortable with making the introduction. We host Ladies’ Nights and Men’s Nights at our office several times during the year. They are social gatherings where our clients can invite a friend. We generally pick a non-financial topic and invite an expert to speak for 20–30 minutes. The rest of the time is set for socializing. We have been able to pick up some new clients from this form of prospecting.

— Juli McNeely, owner and financial representative, McNeely Financial Services, Inc. 

s72. Consider a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust.

For clients with estates of $5 million and over, a spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT) has become increasingly popular. A SLAT delivers the benefits of a standard irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT): (1) estate tax-free death benefit; and, (2) income tax-free estate liquidity. A SLAT adds sizzle by providing a spouse with lifetime access (through a trustee) to cash value.  It could be the perfect solution for clients who like the idea of permanent, cash value life insurance but do not like the idea of losing control over cash value if they use a standard ILIT.

— David Szeremet, second vice president, advanced marketing, Ohio National Financial Services

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71. Stay knowledgeable

Bring value to the customer relationship by learning how newer life insurance offerings are designed to meet client needs in virtually any market environment. Take advantage of training resources provided by the carrier. Consider the utility of having one life insurance product that addresses multiple needs, creating a cost-effective solution for middle-market Americans who may not be able to afford three or four separate products. Today’s innovative products offer more than just a death benefit; they can provide access to cash value to address longevity or a qualifying chronic illness. Americans are grappling with massive issues, including outliving retirement income and mitigating the potentially ruinous financial impacts of chronic illness. When you can help clients understand how today’s life insurance products are built to respond to these types of needs, you have the potential to bring significant value to the table.

— John Deremo, executive vice president and chief distribution officer, life insurance, AIG Financial Distributors. 

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2015. To view the rest of the series, click here.