Ben Nevejans Featured in Broker World Magazine
We’ve all heard the story. If you’ve spent any time in sales at all it’s a tough one to avoid, but it’s still a great story… Based on the recommendation of a high-level executive, ACME Shoe Co. agrees to expand into a new market in the South Pacific. Wanting to impress the C-Suite and shareholders alike the executive puts his two best sales people on the job and ships them to two different tropical islands halfway around the world.
After a couple weeks go by the exec calls up the first sales person and asks with anticipation, “So how’s it going over there? Are we selling a lot of shoes?” The response comes back terse and aggressive, “Are you kidding me? You sent me to an island where no one wears shoes! Of course I’m not selling any shoes! Send me a plane ticket home, I’m outta here!”
With this disappointing report the executive tentatively dials the number for the second sales person and this time asks with trepidation, “So how’s it going over there? Are we selling any shoes?” The excited response he receives changes his mood drastically. “Are you kidding me? You sent me to an island where no one owns any shoes! I can’t keep them on the shelves! Send me another dozen crates, I’m killing it over here!”
Whether you view it as a cautionary tale against a negative attitude or an inspiring tale about having the right mindset, it definitely underscores that great Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It’s also a terrific metaphor for the state our industry found itself in during March of 2020.
In the early days of COVID-19, with quarantines sweeping the nation, we witnessed two types of producers and, to a large extent, two types of marketing organizations. Those that felt their clients and prospects—watching the world as they knew it crumble before their eyes—had no desire or need to talk to them about the products and solutions they provide.
Then there were those that viewed it completely differently. With a virtual mortality tracker updating on the news every night, businesses closing their doors daily and the stock market dropping like a lead weight in your favorite fishing hole, their mantra quickly became: “There has never been a better time to be in the insurance and financial planning industry.”
Indeed, who else has the insured solutions to protect against future market volatility? Who else could offer peace of mind should their worst fears be realized with this pandemic ravishing the nation at untold rates? And certainly not least, who else could provide tax advantaged retirement vehicles in a future where tax rates must certainly and drastically increase to pay for the unprecedented amounts of government stimulus packages?
The question remained though, how does one do an about face and reinvent a practice to be successful in a world where face-to- face interactions no longer exist? Even those that knew they were on the precipice of arguably the greatest opportunity of their career did not know how, or where, to jump.
Having the right solution is critical. But it’s only one of four crucial ingredients necessary to bake a successful “virtual” practice. And like any good recipe, it’s important to add each ingredient at the right time with the right measurement in the right steps.
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