ment it takes to enjoy the fruits of the MDRT and Top of the Table. Any great producer or executive, in any profession, has already embraced the concepts that will make them successful.
R.J. Kelly, CLU, ChFC, M.S.F.S.: Become known for something special. Find a way to
stick out. Become a specialist in disability insurance for professionals and executives, or college planning services, or charitable planning, or business insurance — e.g., key person life
and disability, etc. — or advising on the setting up and funding of buy-sell agreements for
franchise owners, or gifts from grandparents to their grandchildren using life insurance, or
funding retirement shortfalls with life insurance. There was a young workman on a construction project who always wore red or other bright-colored shirts. He worked hard, showed
up early and stayed late. Small surprise that he was quickly promoted. He stood out, he was
noticed and he did other things right as well. First step is getting noticed — to not be just a
commodity. Be unique.
Marc A. Silverman, CLU, ChFC: A young producer who is trying to establish strong,
productive prospecting habits must get into the routine of
prospecting each and every day and set aside specific times
to prospect, letting nothing get in the way. For example, you
might want to make phone calls from 9 to 11 each morning.
Even if you make several appointments early in the week, you
should not give up on prospecting later in the week. It is very
important that you consistently do the same thing over and
over if you want to be successful in prospecting.
Finding the right technique
Hirsch: What prospecting techniques have made the biggest difference to you? Was there
ever a breakthrough technique that made you realize what kind of approach worked well for
your business, or was it a variety of techniques?
Kelly: I wasn’t smart enough for that — just willing to work long hours and meet a lot of
people. For several years, I got the yellow pages from the city phone directory and compared
all the new listings from one year to the next. I then called up the new listings, figuring they
were new to the area — attorneys and accountants; now I would include private fiduciaries
— and said, “This is R. J. Kelly. I am a specialist in the areas of financial services for busi-
ness owners, professionals and executives. You and I are both in the people business. It is not
always what you know — but who you know, too. Let’s meet. If you want to become a client
someday, I won’t tell you ‘no,’ but the primary reason for meeting is to explore how we can
help each other grow with clients. How does that sound?”
Run that by your compliance people, but that should open some doors for the new folks
A second idea that has always worked well is to ask to be referred by my clients to the
people or businesses that sell to them. In most cases, a business owner or sales person won’t
risk offending one of their clients. So find out who sells to your clients and then go call on
them — with your client’s advance permission, of course.
Another variation on this theme is to look back over your credit card receipts and through
your checkbook. Who have you spent money with locally? What dry cleaner, dentist, auto
dealer, etc.? Where have you spent your money? Most owners won’t want to risk offending a
customer who approaches them in a professional and polite way. “Hi, Mary. My name is R.J.
Kelly, and I just bought my car through your salesperson, Julie. You were so helpful to me, I
want to return the favor, introduce myself and share what I do with other business owners like
yourself in the areas of tax-savings and risk management. How does that sound to you? When
would you have 20 minutes next week?”
Silverman: The technique that has made the largest difference in terms of getting in front
of more qualified prospects is to target a specific market. In doing so, we’ve become well
known in the retirement market, propelling us to do even more business in that marketplace. I
would also tell newer agents to specialize in
a given area. We specialize in working with
people who are retired or getting ready to retire. More specifically, we dug deep down by
focusing on niches within this marketplace.
Henderson: When I trace the success-es and challenges of my career, several
prospecting techniques do, in fact, stand
out. First, be around people you enjoy. It
makes sharing additional planning time
with them effortless.
Second, work harder on yourself than you
do in or on the profession. Develop “The
Art of Attraction.” Make yourself interesting. Ask yourself, “Other than the products
and services I offer, why would anyone
want me to be their confidante or advisor?”
This should begin a personal development
quest that will lead you to a personal breakthrough. Once this question is answered effectively, high-quality and interesting people
will come your way on a regular basis. This
particular technique was a game changer for
me. Once the fish began to chase the boat,
my life and career changed forever. This process isn’t easy, but it can take you to the top
— Top of the Table, that is.
July 2013 / LIS / LifeHealthPro.com 29
Matching clients and prospecting
Hirsch: What prospecting methods are