A young man, in his late 30's, got corporate downsized from a sales position he held and was very successful at for 8 years when the company was bought out by a competitor. He decided on a new career in selling insurance / financial planning. Fortunately his reputation preceded him and he was sought after by two of the largest financial services companies. He chose AXA Advisors, LLC (part of global leader AXA Group).
I asked him what made him think he could be successful selling insurance and being a financial adviser. He replied, " I want to help people - this company will give me the training I need, and once I make a sale I will get referred to other prospects."
I then learned that more than 80% of the people starting a career in insurance sales and financial planning fail. So being interested in this young man's career I invited his new boss (mentor) to play golf and asked him, "Why do 80% of new people in your business fail?" He said there were 3 reasons.
- They should not have been in the business in the first place. They do not have the correct abilities and drive.
- They will not follow the proven skills and techniques that help make a person in the insurance / investment advising business successful
- They are not aggressive enough to start succeeding.
I doubt that anyone reading this article is just starting out in business, but the same principles apply. Over my many years in the wholesale, retail, manufacturing and service businesses I have seen many established businesses become less and less aggressive in doing what made them successful in the first place.
The biggest area of sales and marketing where they become less and less aggressive, for reasons I will never figure out, is in asking their present customers to help them find and gain new customers (Referral marketing).
Recently I helped the contractor who built my sun room on my house 2 years ago gain a project of a 3 room addition. He aggressively used referral marketing by having his prospect telephone me and ask me about the quality of his work. He had done a great job for me, and I could not stop telling the prospect about it. He telephoned me the next day to thank me for helping him land the job.
It is easy to get your satisfied customers to recommend you. Just use the "Magic Words" from my book "How to take customers away from your competition."
The young man, new to the insurance/financial planning business, got his first sale from one of his old colleagues and then his second sale from a friend of that first sale. The young man will be quite successful in his new career because he is 1: Aggressive in learning his new skills and techniques, and 2: Aggressive in making his success breed business success.
He understands that sales success comes when aggressively asking for referrals. People, even when extremely happy with your products and services do not just walk around referring you. Just think of the last time you made a purchase you were very happy with. Did you call your friends and relatives to refer that business? Of course not, you have other things to do and think about.
From the book, "How to take customers away from your competition" Aggressive Action No. 19 - Use The Magic Words
I left our tire business, on my wholesale tire route, with a load of 100 snow tires. Before leaving I had bet my dad I would sell all the tires on the truck before I returned that night. I was sure I would sell them all because it had been snowing for a few hours, and in Pennsylvania in December when it snowed it was easy to sell snow tires.
As I stopped at gas station after gas station the number of tires remaining on the truck was steadily going down, partly because of the weather and partly, I like to think, because of my sales ability. Then I hit the wall. No, not physically; I did not run into anything. The expression "hit the wall" is used by athletes when they have given their all and just cannot go on. I stopped at eight gas stations and tire dealers in a row. It was now 8:30PM and I could not sell my remaining four tires.