By W. Andrew Unkefer
Every single day, I see offers being made to agents that misdirect their energy, time and resources to serve someone else’s business plan. The offer nearly always plays on the agent’s own strong desire to achieve or fear of failure.
This is why you hear so many promotions about so called “systems” that generate unlimited numbers of new leads and prospects for you. Alternatively, you will hear about “programs” that generate millions of dollars in commissions for little effort. Sadly, once you have pursued these systems and programs you realize the truth. They did not deliver countless leads or millions of dollars in revenue to you. We’ll explore why in just a moment.
To survive as an independent agent you must discipline yourself to view everything through what I call, “The Lens of Success.” Picture this lens like a giant magnifying glass that instead of enlarging the subject matter, instantly exposes any illegitimate offer, program, business model or come-on. Using this lens, you could easily navigate away from half-baked promises and better yet, move toward solid, sound business opportunities.
Imagine looking at an offer and being able to instantly see any flaws! Think of how productive you could be. The fact is that for years, agents have been misdirected. The good news is that when you are equipped with the “Lens of Success,” you can put your personal business on a winning path.
Looking Through the Lens of Success
Marketing success is derived from following fundamental principles that exist above and beyond your knowledge, experiences or any particular product. The Lens of Success is actually a set of business principles that when followed allow you to make decisions that will absolutely lead to amazing results.
Using a number of strategies may generate additional incremental sales opportunities, but a thriving business is centered on an approach that adheres to fundamental principles that drive consistent opportunity.
When considering any marketing program, you must look through the Lens and ask yourself the following questions.
Can I measure my results? No business model can succeed for long if the model does not include active management of the numbers. For example, you must be able to measure not only response rates on an advertising campaign, you must also measure the time it takes to generate a given response and then the time it takes to get from response to revenue. This is your business cycle and allows you to then calculate how much capital your plan will need to succeed. The ability to measure a program gives you the ability to compare and judge between new opportunities and the opportunity cost. Too many producers have left one program for another only to find that the new program actually offered less profit potential because no one ever took the time to measure. If your proposed program is not easily measurable, you should walk away.
If successful, can I easily scale the program up to a higher level? A large percentage of the sales systems offered to agents are designed to rapidly bring in revenue for the firm that is telling the agent about the opportunity. The motive is rarely focused on providing a system that can be easily scaled up. If your adopted approach is not easily scaled then you should avoid the program. Move away from it or you will be trapped within a limited opportunity environment.
Can this easily be systematized so that I can regularly repeat the process? Systems and scale often work hand in hand. The Lens of Success separates them so that you can evaluate if people and systems can be utilized to systematically execute your plan. If you cannot turn this over to others or use technology to leverage your effort, your business model will suffer reduced success or collapse under its own weight.
Do I have the necessary expertise to convert these opportunities into revenue? Or do I have access to the necessary expertise to convert these opportunities. Ultimately, ideas, knowledge and experience are necessary to generate substantial revenue. Work within models that focus on your strengths and experiences. Work with marketing firms and companies that have a broad and deep resource of knowledge. For Example: If you are moving into estate planning but have little understanding of the laws that affect people’s estates, you may want to reconsider your path unless you have fingertip access to the information you need exactly when you need it.
Do I have the energy to execute the program? Be honest with yourself. Do you wish for more money with less effort? While this can be accomplished over the long haul, the initial effort can be immense and it is a necessary component of success. Your energy level must be up to the task!
Am I 100 percent committed? Energy and commitment work together. Energy without commitment is useless. Commitment without energy means nothing. Once you have adopted your plan, method or model, you must throw yourself into it 100 percent of the time.
Do I have the time? This requires another honest assessment of where you can spend your most valuable resource – your time. Have you severed the ties that bind you from investing your mind and energy so that all may be accomplished? Existing and past commitments may need to be reconsidered and recalibrated.
Do I have the money? If you can affirmatively answer items 1 – 7, you now need to invest! Do you have the resources? Is the capital present to move the plan forward? If not, how will you work to acquire or save the capital necessary? Do not move forward without the capital needed.
Business coaches, mentors and the like will approach you offering to “help.” If they do not use the Lens of Success above, you are better off on your own. Test everything by gazing through the Lens. Apply its principles and discover where it leads you. It is an exciting journey!
W. Andrew Unkefer is the president and CEO of Unkefer & Associates, Inc., a national annuity and life insurance marketing firm. The company’s goal is to be the No.1 resource for independent agents in their life and annuity business. He may be reached at 800-523-5851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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