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How to become a champion broker

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SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA — There are a lot of threats out there for benefits professionals: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), mergers and acquisitions, rising health care costs and technology, to name a few.

But the biggest threat to your professional, and personal, success, is actually yourself.

That was the word from Jack Singer, president and CEO of Psychologically Speaking, to a room full of benefits professionals at the opening keynote of the Benefits Selling Expo in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“I’m convinced every one in this room has a gift but not everyone opens it. All of us either have a best friend or an enemy in our head,” he said. Which one you choose it to be — either a motivating voice or a voice telling you you will fail — “is the key to success, and also the key to your health and the success of your life,” Singer said.

He told brokers the way to differentiate themselves from just a “sales professional to a world-class professional” is to create a winner’s mindset with “linguistic nutrition.”

“What you say to yourself has to be nutritious, but it is usually poisonous. You tell yourself, ‘I can’t do this. What if this happens?’ You have to change it not just for your career but for your life.”

Here are ways to do that and become a “champion benefits professional.”

1. Recognize, and silence, your inner critic. 

There is a thing called “imposter fear” that hinders success for every single person, Singer said. “This is the thought in your heart of hearts that ‘Everyone has faith in me, but I don’t and everyone will find out I’m really a failure.’ It’s about being afraid of what can happen.” Brokers and agents, for example, might fear competition is getting stiffer, someone won’t bite on your sales pitch or PPACA might doom your business. That turns on the “fight or flight nervous system,” Singer said, which also hurts your health.

“It’s not OK if you have these anxieties or worries 30, 40 times a day,” Singer said. “Every time you worry or are anxious, it turns down other parts of your body. Your immune system is shutting down because of your lack of control over your internal dialogue.”

The first step, Singer said, is to acknowledge that that inner voice exists and that it’s not OK. Second, Singer said, “Whenever you receive positive feedback, as soon as you can, pull out a notebook and write down what that person said. And those times when you are feeling helpless and hopeless, read it and it will evaporate those feelings.”

2. Think mental toughness. 

Simply put, you have to grind through when things are tough, Singer said. “Think to yourself, ‘I have to start prospecting because sooner or later someone is going to benefit from what I’m offering.’ Don’t let stuff get your down. Bounce back from setbacks. As soon as you recognize it, get it to stop. As soon as you start a negative thought, snap the rubber band on your wrist. Thoughts are habits and they come back.”

3. Repeat an identity statement to yourself. 

Don’t be humble about your gifts and what you can, and do, offer as a benefits professional. Know you have value. Think about what your gifts are and repeat it to yourself daily.

“Tell yourself, ‘I am a fabulous benefits professional and here’s what I’m good at.’ This is what you need to repeat to yourself over and over again.”

4. Focus on the process, not the outcome. 

Though the ultimate outcome a benefits professional wants — closing a sale — is important, you can’t get to it without focusing on the process. “Take charge of the process of being a world class benefits professional. People who worry about outcomes are those who won’t get them,” Singer said. “If you worry about commissions, approvals, closing the sale, you aren’t thinking about the right thing. If all you’re worrying about is the outcome — if I’m going to make a sale — you take away the process which leads to the sale.”

5. Make a great first impression. 

The first seven seconds, Singer said, are critical in making a great first impression to clients. Most importantly, you have to remember to be an active listener and to focus on clients, and not on yourself.  “You have to smile, you have to maintain eye contact, you have to ask them questions about their life instead of selling them something,” Singer said. “Take a genuine interest in them — whether the church they go to, the football team they like or their children. If you do that, they will read that interest and they will trust you.”

See also:

10 bad work habits that you might be doing right now (& how to stop them)

How to evaluate prospecting methods

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