I notice that our industry is filled with lots of advice about staying motivated and keeping your head up and being persistent and having a plan and working your plan and similar advice. "Just make one more call at the end of each day," your manager tells you. "Ask for referrals," your peers advise. This all strikes me as advice instructing you to do what you normally do not want to do. Doesn't that seem like fighting an uphill battle? Wouldn't life and your work be a lot more enjoyable if you could prosper by doing what is natural?
Years ago I hit on the secret of doing just that and I want to share it with you.
My first step is to admit that I'm lazy. No kidding. I'd rather sit home and watch television and read magazines than go to work. In fact, I'd rather do that than go play golf! I mean I am really lazy. You may not have the problem as severely as I do, but let's face it. Most of us would rather not do anything.
So the whole idea of cold calling or getting motivated or being proactive is a foreign idea which sets you up for constant struggle. You are always forcing action against your natural inertia of being lazy. Why struggle? Is that what life's about?
Think about this. Most advice you get is about correcting your weaknesses. Why bother? Doesn't it make more sense to play your strengths? So the first step is to reverse this backward training we get. Admit you're lazy.
My second step was to look at what part of my work was easy and took no effort. I noticed that when someone called me wanting to invest, I found that conversation easy, even fun! In other words, I like it when the sales come to me, when all I need to do is react rather than pro-act. Don't you also think it's easy to pick up the phone and receive a call from a prospect rather than to call one? Isn't it easier to be an order taker rather than a sales person?
My third step was to develop marketing systems that would FORCE ME to react. I needed to design my work so that I have prospects forcing me to meet them and answer their calls. I know this sounds crazy, but stay with me here.
Isn't it a lot easier to meet a prospect for an appointment than to get an appointment? Then a system that puts appointments on your calendar would make for a pretty easy life, wouldn't it?
I designed my business to do that. I started doing seminars. When I do a seminar, it takes very little effort (particularly because I do the same thing every month and I find talking in front of groups enjoyable). All I need to do is show up, give my talk, invite people to meet with me, and I walk out with 20 or more appointments. Then, for the next 2 weeks, all I need to do is greet each prospect, have a sales conversation and go forward with those people interested in becoming clients. There's very little work!
I make no cold calls, I do not try and convince any one to meet with me, I never even ask for referrals. I just respond to people who request to meet with me. I have made myself into an order taker.
I developed another system where I advertise about annuities and offer people a free booklet. They call and request the booklet. Then, some of them call me and we make an appointment. This system has not caused me to break a sweat yet. The people who do not call me, I need to call and I have a short conversation, under 5 minutes, and ask them if they want to meet. If they say no, I hang up and never call them again. If qualified, I do send them my monthly newsletter and eventually, one of the articles will catch their eye and they will call me, ask me for more information and make an appointment. Then I sell them what they want.
I have set up my entire business to be an order taker, to be a facilitator at having the client buy. I do very little selling because they come to me.
They do not come to me because I am charming or I have special products or services. I have the same stuff that you do. They come because I have set up a system to make it easy for them to meet me. I make thousands of invitations each month and all I need is a few people to take me up on the invitation. Those invitations are in the form of direct mail or an advertisement.
The point is, I have set up life so that all I do is respond. Because reacting is what we do naturally. I do not listen to motivational tapes or attend workshops to get me psyched up. I don't need to be motivated--I just need to answer the ringing phone or show up for the appointment.
When you market yourself, you no longer need to do much selling. The key to working easy is to learn to market and cease your focus on selling.
Now that we have gotten this far, let me close by noting the difference between people in the financial services business, who want to be considered professionals, and people who are always considered professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants.
Do any of these other professionals make cold calls? Do you think a physician ever gets into a discussion about price like you do about loads on mutual funds? Do you think that many accountants have learned the alternative choice close or the Ben Franklin close to bring on a new client? Do you think they listen to motivational tapes in their cars? These professionals need not engage in any of these tactics because they do business with people who pursue them.
Think about the last time you went to a new doctor. How did you find him and why did you choose him? How about your accountant or attorney? Start setting up your business to meet people the same way that you met these professionals and you'll truly be a professional. More importantly, you'll enjoy your work more, work will be easier and you won't need to listen to any more motivational tapes.