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Top Sellers Aim to Sell Their Way to Pandemic Recovery

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What You Need to Know

  • MDRT's foundation gave $1.6 million to nonprofit groups last year.
  • The incoming president is Randy Scritchfield.
  • A diversity consultant says the energy MDRT members used to overcome obstacles to sales can help them overcome obstacles to making the world better.
Ian Green (Photo: MDRT) Ian Green (Photo: MDRT)

A group for top financial services sales people is trying to help members fight the COVID-19 pandemic by doing a better of selling life insurance, health insurance, annuities and financial planning services.

The Million Dollar Round Table convened its members online this past week for the group’s latest annual meeting.

MDRT has members located all around the world. This year, the group continued its tradition of offering sessions translated into a wide range of languages, including Hindi, Japanese, Spanish and three types of Chinese.

Ian Green, MDRT’s 95th president, told members that the group has been strong throughout the pandemic because of the work of past MDRT presidents.

He said it’s hard for an MDRT president to be the first to do anything.

“But I’m the first president to ever carry out the role entirely from home,” Green joked, panning his camera to reveal that he was speaking from his living room.

Green said he believes the most important way for MDRT members to improve their own performance, and to help clients, and the world, get through the pandemic, is to listen, and not be slaves to their cell phones.

“Don’t let your device by the boss of you,” Green said. “Be the person that gives one of the greatest gifts to others: Our time, and our full attention.”

Brian Walsh, president of the MDRT Foundation, a charitable affiliate of MDRT, talked about the “three rules of resiliency.”

The first is to resolve to change, the second is to speak up for what’s right, and the third is to recharge relationships, Walsh said.

MDRT Business

MDRT members voted on the nomination of Randy Scritchfield to succeed Green as president, Scritchfield is the first vice president of MDRT and president of Montgomery Financial Group of Damascus, Maryland.

Walsh reported that the MDRT Foundation gave $1.6 million to 257 organizations.

Sales and Marketing Ideas

MDRT has posted dozens of session videos on the web, behind a paywall.

Danielle Genier, an MDRT member from Timmins, Ontario, talked about the importance of identifying and setting goals when clients come on board, and of using those goals to hold clients accountable.

She gave the example of a husband and wife who told her that they “wanted to travel.”

She asked more questions and discovered they really wanted to buy a “home on wheels” and drive all over the country.

“When they started talking about that goal, they looked at each other and smiled,” Genier said.

When clients are enthusiastic about a goal, they will work harder to achieve that goal, Genier said.

“It’s wonderful to see clients reach their goal,” she added.

Laurie Leja, a Northwestern Mutual-affiliated financial advisor based in Mount Prospect, Illinois, talked about how veteran agents can improve their performance by hiring the right coach.

“Spend some time thinking about the kind of coaching you might need,” Leja said.

The right coach may be able to help a client overcome negative thoughts, set ambitious but achievable goals, or even help an advisor think through staffing problems, Leja said.

James Aussem, a succession planning lawyer with Cavitch Familo & Durkin Co., in Cleveland, gave attendees tips on how to decide whether to sell a financial services firm, and on how to sell a firm.

The first step should be for the owners to update the firm’s manuals, to reflect the current operations, and to have the financial statements reviewed by outside accountants.

“Challenge expenses which may be person, excessive or not related to the core business,” Aussem said.

A DEI Consultant

One of the speakers, Torin Perez — a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant — worked on selling session attendees on the idea of fighting discrimination, and the idea of working harder to make opportunities available to all.

“Be the change,” Perez said.

Perez said that some of the excuses for not working to expand opportunity may be similar to the obstacles MDRT members had to overcome when they started selling financial services.

“Transfer the same energy to this work,” Perez said. “No one single person can change the world and solve all of the world’s problems… What matters is that you have it within you to become an inclusive leader.”

(Image: jozefmicic/Adobe Stock)