Saturday, September 29, 2007

New State Addition

I learned a very valuable lesson today. I need to ensure that I prep potential clients about what is going to happen when I schedule a first-in appointment and we both determine that it is best to look at all the options. My biggest pet peeve is when people don't return my phone calls or e-mails. I'm the type of guy that prefers closure one way or another. I rather somebody tell me to hit the road so I don't have to analyze things as much. I haven't done a face to face appointment in a while and my lack of preparedness showed. I won't make that mistake again.

I was able to salvage the appointment I missed yesterday due to helping a client fill out an application. Unfortunately, or should I say, fortunately for me the prospect told me that she applied for state assistance today. HaHa, that's not a good sign. She thought it would be a good idea to wait a few weeks until she gets a response and I couldn't have agreed more with her. I had a feeling she wasn't a strong prospect from the get go, but I like to "know for sure" so I don't experience the.........I should have done this or that that crop up into my mind.

On a positive note I have made plans to add a new state to my territory, as well as a few contract changes. After talking back in forth with a Regional Director at BlueCross BlueShield down in South Carolina and her superiors I have been given the green light to get a non-resident appointment with the company. In order to keep the contract I need to submit 40 deals by May 2008, which is 1.5 deals a week if I start next week. I talked to a good friend about this opportunity and he conveyed that might be difficult considering my current production or 2-3 deals a week. All I could say is that I will find a way to make it work. BCBS in my humble opinion is one of the easier insurance carriers to sell due to their name brand recognition. I look at it like this. I consider BCBS to be the honda civic of insurance. Quality product that is affordable and well known to the public. My primary carrier is in the Ferrari class due to being the most expensive, not having the name brand recognition, but they have GREAT VALUE and I'm not the "I can beat that rate type of guy." I don't like price shoppers because they are the first to complain about something.......

The importance of becoming appointed with BCBS in SC is that I OWN THE BUSINESS, they pay great commissions, the plans are good overall and they have strong name brand recognition. I would have had to go through a brokerage had it non been to working out this deal and I was not willing to do that since I'm a control freak and I don't trust working with brokerages because my experience is that they are a pain in the ass, but more importantly, they own the business should I decide to leave. "Ok, so let me get this right.....I work my ass off, move down to SC and get my contact, but the brokerage keeps my renewals and have the opportunity to switch my clients over to another carrier." No dice!

So, that brings the tally up to 4 states that I sell in (MD, VA, PA and SC). I was told the top rep last year sold 500 applications, which is very impressive. 500 X $3000 AV (My average AV level) yields $1,500,000 AV per year. At 20% annualized I'd net $300,000.
I know that I can successfully obtain 10-20 applications a week myself and I look forward to sharing my success with all of you throughout the next year!

I have also decided that I'm going to get all my own contracts now with the top three carriers (Golden Rule, Assurant and BCBS, followed by Aetna and Unicare when applicable) and I'm in the process of putting together a training manual that I should have had when I started, to help me focus my efforts and prepare things accordingly when I decide to take on agents. I'm still going to be doing business as usual up here in good ole MD, but I need something to motivate me outside of my normal channels and I LOVE training.

I'm off to get some reading done. Have a good night folks and thanks for reading my blog...........Livin La Vida Loca!!!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Good Times

UPDATE: I'm kicking ass and taking names. It's amazing how a diet change, some discipline, techno music and good old fashioned hard work can pay off. I have completely changed my diet recently and have been eating healthier. I'm almost done to the weight I was at when I joined the military 8 years ago. I have also cut off coffee and substituted it with Jack and Coke. Makes telemarketing a lot more pleasant :)

This week has been the best week I have experienced to date and there are still a few days left. I changed my telemarketing script this week and it is working wonderfully. My goal is to usually call 45 numbers in an hour without getting too bored off my ass and obtain 2 leads to work. I'm now average 1 appointment an hour vs. 2 leads and THIS HAS MADE A HUGE difference in my confidence level, as well as my ability to get the job done NOW!!!!

My goals haven't changed much, I just no longer count leads in the manner as before and have devised a system that makes it easier for me to track where each client is in the sales cycle. I have also set up the system that even if I do not meet one goal, I can hit the 2nd highest goal with helps to sustain my energy and enthusiasm. I only talked with one rude guy this week out of hundreds and I think part of that has to do with my change of attitude on the phone. Just today I had 4 appointments scheduled and sold one of them. The first and 2nd appointments were both no-shows, while the 3rd one netted a client a wonderful HSA plan. Unfortunately I missed the 4th appointment because the application took A LOT longer than expected, so I'm going to try and salvage that one tomorrow.

I have yet to hit my target goal of $20,000 AV per week, but I have a strong feeling that I'm getting closer. After I got done working tonight at 8:30 p.m. (evening appointments are strong if they show up) I started thinking about my potential once I can start to dump some serious money into advertising on a weekly basis and outsource my telemarketing efforts.

On a side note, I experienced my first claims issue with a client this week and was able to resolve the issue with the support of a good friend and quite a few calls to the insurance company. My client had visited a doctor who worked for a practice that was part of the network, yet the doctor did not accept the network (largest in the mid-atlantic area) so the charges were considered out of network. This just goes to show how important it is to verify that your doctor accepts the insurance network with a particular carrier. She will not be making the mistake again and we talked about how to ensure this does not happen again. She thanked me for kindly reminding her about the importance of verifying everything. When in doubt, call me because that is what I get paid to do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Licensed To Insure

I'm happy to say that I'm back and better than ever. August was a major PITA, but September is rocking. I have been focusing 100% of my efforts lately on finding cheap ways to market, as well as the usual telemarketing. Once the temperature raises slightly above HELL I will incorporate some B2B. Ahhh, I LOVE Fall.

After listening to a good friend of mine have success with local marketing, I finally cracked myself and said "Screw It." Even if I'm only in MD for another year or two, it would be stupid to not get back into networking and building up the agency. I now have a new routine that I recently implemented that incorporates daily exercise, reading, relaxation and business. I have been sleeping a lot better lately, which tells me I'm on the right track. I have gotten rid of every negative thing I can think of except taxes and things are going smoothly. I have a 80% chance of making 2 deals tomorrow, so that should net me about $4200 AV for the week. 16,000 more to go....

I also took the liberty of picking out the color, features, etc. of my Mercedes and have the pleasure of looking at the car every day on my desktop (see above picture) to keep me motivated and focused. I think there are essentially 3 keys to success not including educational resources. These attributes have helped me in the past.

1) Unwavering determination..... If somebody says you can't, you tell them to get lost and watch!

2) Strong social support - Jargon back from my psychology days that essentially means that the people you associate with provide encouragement and support without being negative. Conversing with other successful people also helps a lot.

3) Strong visual, behavioral and/or physical cues- Pictures, scents, breathing, stretching, exercise, day dreaming, all provide methods to keep you going in times of adversity.

I'm also happy to report that I am learning towards moving down to the Columbia, SC area. I plan to visit the area next spring to determine if the feel is right. You can analyze data until your blue in the face, but I'm a strong advocate that something needs to feel "right" and the only way to to do that is to experience it.

I'm particularly interested in the Lake Murray area, as my 5 year goal is to purchase a house on a lake. A sample of the type of house I like can be found here . It has mostly everything I wanted, with the exception of a pool and an immigrant earning $12 p/h filling my pool with those small Evian bottles you find in the grocery store. For all my liberal friends, you know I'm just joking........I'd never pay $12 an hour......

Believe me, nothing would be more satisfying to me then sitting outside having a kick-ass barbecue, combined with some beverages and a bit of water sports. Figure out a way to build a slide from the second story to the lake or pool and I'm golden. Every time I feel like sitting in my butt and not doing anything productive, I dive head first into the water and get back to work.

Until next time........

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Favorite Season

It's been a few weeks since I last posted so allow me the chance to share with you what has been going on my world. The last few weeks I have been in a sales slump and haven't made much progress towards my weekly goal of $20,000 AV. I would say that not only did the shit hit the fan, but it hit the fan and then went after me and I could barely muster enough strength to come up for air. The good thing about my approach to life is that I usually bounce back twice as determined. I'm a Scorpio so it is easy for me to get emotional about things. The perils of being passionate I suppose. Each of us has our ups and downs and I'll be the first to say that selling is an awful like a drug addiction. You have the greatest feeling in the world when you make a sale and then flies won't even land on you when you're down because they have better things to do. I went out and bought a can of Raid and motivated myself the usual way..........Jack Daniels baby!!! Just kidding......

Recap, August was my worst month to date! But now it's September and fall is my favorite season. Time to put away the Tommy Bahama and break out the sweaters and khaki's.. Throw some eggnog in starting mid October and then bam....... turkey, Christmas lights, snow, the holidays and New Years Eve.

I have some great news to share with all of you though. I just saved a ton of money on my car insurance....What do you say...Exactly, who cares!!!!!!! I just spoke with a rep from the American College up in PA and she told me that they now have a 3 year program that allows people to complete the courses at their leisure and make monthly payments instead of paying $4000+ up front. Works for me where do I sign? I'll be receiving the information shortly and plan to I start the program in October. I have found that I stay the happiest when I keep the momentum going and continue to stay busy. The happiest I have been was when I was pulling in 60-80 hour weeks and managed to unwind on the weekends. I had never even been to a happy hour until I was 26 or so. I rather make money then drink and wonder how I am going to make money.

So, starting shortly I will be conducting business as usual, but 9-11 will be spent on earning the ChFC designation. I need to complete 8 courses and expect that to take me 8-16 months depending upon how fast I can learn the material. I have 5 months to complete each course, but I highly doubt it will take that much time. We shall see if that changes once I get my first course in the mail. I generally like to have a clear picture of my goal before venturing down a path, which leads to my final thoughts.....

I have also been thinking about the direction I want to take my agency and have decided upon a path, although I'm still pondering moving or now. Right now I'm in MD for at least the next year, but I feel very strongly that I will move somewhere within the next few years....As for my agency, the focus of the agency will be financial planning that specializes in retirement planning and estate planning for small business owners. I'm getting together with a friend of mine in a few weeks who has been kind enough to take me under his wing and mentor me in the life/disability insurance areas of insurance as he presently is doing things I respect and admire. It is going to be a blast!

I'll keep you up to date as things progress.......