Host: Tim Martin
Guest: Moe Sullivan
Episode 2: The Formula for Success – Tim Martin & Moe Sullivan
February 21, 2014
Welcome to Success is Voluntary, a podcast devoted to helping you become the salesperson you were always meant to be, where it’s all about helping you learn the techniques and tools that will enable you to win in the increasingly competitive world of voluntary benefits. Welcome your host, a guy who has hired and trained over 2,000 voluntary benefit salespeople in his career, Tim Martin. Success is Voluntary, selling voluntary benefits.
Tim Martin: Yes, my name is Tim Martin, and you are listening to episode number 002 of Success is Voluntary. Over the last 16 years, I’ve seen agents who looked good, talked good, smelled good, and had a great resume fail. During the same time, I’ve seen agents who didn’t have near the same amount of polish or, quite frankly, the same amount of talent hit unbelievable sales highs.
People constantly ask me, “What is the secret to success in the voluntary benefits arena?” Well, I have bad news and good news for you today. The bad news: There is no secret to success. I can’t give you a secret that will make you successful. The good news, though, is there is a formula. If you’ll follow the formula, your success is almost guaranteed. If you don’t, I can promise you one thing. You’re in for a short, miserable, unfulfilling (and did I say short?) career in this industry.
Tim: Hey, let’s welcome back into the studio my good friend, Moe Sullivan. Well, Moe, I am really excited about today. I’ve been teaching the formula for success for a long time, and everybody wants to know what the magic bullet to success is. “Is there a magic bullet? Is there this one script that will work?” Or, “Where should I go prospecting?” Or a lot of people want to know what industry to go work on. Have you noticed that?
Moe Sullivan: Oh, it’s either one industry or, “Hey, where is the area that’s never been hit before?”
Tim: You bet, and they want the perfect question, or they want the perfect comeback for an objection, and I’ve been telling people for a long time there is no magic bullet. There is no one thing that you can do, but there are some patterns. There are definitely some patterns that you can follow that will help you be very, very successful, and one of them is the formula for success, so let me just lay it out for you real quick.
Formula for success is attitude times activity times effectiveness times market equals success. What kind of a formula is that?
Moe: That would be multiplication, Tim.
Tim: Very good. Good for an accounting major. I like it. You bet. It’s a multiplication formula. If you have a multiplication formula, what happens if you put a zero in any one of those spots?
Moe: You get a zero.
Tim: Zero. That still works. Right? It doesn’t matter where you put the zero. It’s still a zero at the end. Right?
Moe: That’s correct.
Tim: Absolutely. My point here is this: You can’t afford to be a zero in any of those. You can’t be a zero in effectiveness. You certainly can’t be a zero in attitude or activity or market. Put a zero in anywhere; you end with a zero. On a scale of 1 to 10, even if you’re a 0.5, half of a number, you can still be successful, but you can’t do it if you’re a 0, right? Of all those areas, where do you think you can be the lowest and still not kill you?
Moe: In effectiveness.
Tim: That’s right. Absolutely. Absolutely. So obviously, you have to look at it this way: You can be low in effectiveness to start, but can’t stay there.
Moe: No, you’ll have to eventually get better.
Tim: You’re going to need to improve. How do we do that?
Moe: Through study.
Tim: Through study and…
Moe: And practice.
Tim: It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Right?
Moe: No, it doesn’t.
Tim: You have to get just a little better every day, and basically, the way to do that, and I will come back to this a little bit more in just a second, but the three words I think of about effectiveness are read, listen, go. We’ll come back to that in just a second. If there is one area where you can’t afford to be weak, where do you think that would be?
Moe: I would say attitude.
Tim: Attitude. I agree 100 percent. It’s all about attitude. It drives everything, doesn’t it? You know what happens…I see this all the time with new agents…is their attitude suffers, and so they don’t get out and do the activity, and when they don’t do the activity, they end up feeling guilty or they’re disappointed with themselves, or whatever, which makes their attitude go down obviously, which means that they do less activity, which drives their attitude down and…
Moe: Does that put you into a double-death spiral?
Tim: I think that’s exactly. Technically, I think that’s what that’s called, a double-death spiral. Absolutely. You know, Zig Ziglar says that all sales is really is just the transference of enthusiasm, so it’s so critical we keep our attitude up. We have to keep that attitude up, and so we’re going to give you some practical things here in just a second, but…
Moe: Well, and also to interject on the attitude, when you’re out there working with individuals, your mood is prevalent. People can read your mood. They read your energy levels, if you will. Think about if I were to come up to you all excited and say, “Hey, Tim, great news!” versus if I came in and said, “Hey, Tim. I have some news for you.”
Tim: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, if you walk in the front door and say, “Hey, I don’t suppose anybody here would want to buy any insurance, would they?” You know, have that whole Eeyore… Yeah.
Moe: Right and also when you’re passionate about something, when you have that attitude about something, sometimes you will get a sale just because of your passion and just because of your positive attitude.
Tim: I know that was the case early on in my career. I wasn’t very effective. When I say half, 0.5 in effectiveness, I think I’m being a little generous to myself. I was horrible with effectiveness, but I had a great attitude, and I worked my butt off. I went through at least 100 doors a week, usually closer to 200 doors a week, and had a great attitude.
Like Zig Ziglar says, if you’re enthusiastic, they’re going to get enthusiastic. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, they’re going to be excited because you’re excited. You bet. When is the best time to make another appointment or make another sale?
Moe: I’ve been told this several times and practice it myself: It’s after you made a sale. Immediately after you made a sale.
Tim: Yeah. Why do you think that is?
Moe: It’s because you’re already on a high. You’re enthusiastic. You’re confident. You know you can do it, so now when an obstacle hits your way, you know you can overcome it. You can handle it because you just did.
Tim: You bet. That’s exactly right. A guy I know says it this way. He says, “There is nothing higher than a salesperson’s high, and there’s nothing lower than a salesperson’s low.”
Moe: What do we call that? The bipolar coaster.
Tim: The bipolar coaster, I like it. Absolutely. You bet. We have to protect our attitude, and so we’ll give you some practical things. This is the theoretical part. Well, we’ll get into practical things here in just a second, so let’s talk a little bit about the next one. It’s attitude time activity. Why is activity so important?
Moe: Well, activity is the lifeblood of our business. If you think about it, how many people are going to call you to buy insurance?
Tim: Yeah, none.
Moe: You actually have to get out there. You have to get in front of them. They’re not going to call you. They may want it, they may need it, and they’re definitely going to want it and need it once they hear about what it is.
Moe: Nobody is going to be giving you a call on this. Is it okay if I do a little exercise with you?
Tim: I would love to.
Moe: All right. Go ahead and close your eyes, and if anybody is listening, follow along with this exercise.
Tim: Not if you’re driving.
Tim: Don’t close your eyes if you’re driving. Please do not do this if you’re driving.
Moe: Don’t do that if you’re driving.
Moe: Pull over. Stop the tape. Do it when you’re sitting down, but close your eyes, and I want you to picture your dream car.
Tim: Nice. Okay.
Moe: Do you have that dream car pictured?
Tim: Mm-hmm. Yep, the Audi R8.
Moe: All right. I want you to picture every single detail about that car. What color is it? How does it shine in the sunlight? All right.
Moe: What do the seats look like? What type of stereo system is in there? I want you to see yourself sitting in that front seat of the car.
Tim: Got it.
Moe: You got yourself there?
Tim: Oh, yeah.
Moe: Okay. Now imagine it’s Sunday afternoon, and you have all of your honey-dos done.
Tim: Not going to ever happen.
Moe: You have nothing else to do today, but just whatever you want to do; what are you going to do with that car?
Tim: Oh, man. I’m driving it to Flagstaff through Sedona up Oak Creek Canyon.
Moe: You already have that path mapped out. Right?
Tim: Oh, man. You bet.
Moe: Well, before you do that, I need you to do one thing.
Moe: Go ahead. Try and start that car.
Moe: It doesn’t start because you’re out of gas.
Moe: How does that make you feel?
Tim: That’s not good.
Moe: Well, here’s the deal: We have a great tool. We have the Action Selling Process. That’s your dream car. The gas in it is the activity. It’s the prospecting.
Tim: I got it. Yeah. Absolutely.
Moe: Another thing is (doing a lot of reading, practicing) I read a book by a gentleman by the name of Robert Smith. He wrote a book called Rush. He built an insurance agency from ground up, up in North Scottsdale. He mentioned in the book, if you are a salesperson and you don’t like your income, you don’t like where you are today, simply do more prospecting.
Tim: Nice. Nice. I think it was Tommy Hopkins (or maybe it was Zig), but he said the number one reason that salespeople fail is a lack of qualified prospects.
Moe: Right and we actually talked about this in TKO. I asked the question in both of my breakout sessions. You have an experienced salesperson, someone who has a lot of talent, and then you have that brand-new salesperson who doesn’t know anything about this business. Which one of them is going to do better in this business?
Tim: The one who prospects the most.
Moe: The one who does the most activity.
Tim: Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay, so we have attitude. We have activity. We’re understanding why those are important. Let’s talk about effectiveness. Effectiveness. You know what, if there is one area that you can be weak in at first, it is effectiveness. Like I said earlier, you just can’t stay there. You have to improve.
I said, “Read. Listen. Go.” You have to read books. You have to listen to tapes. You have to go to the seminars. You can’t stay where you’re at. We’re going to give you, again, a little bit more practical things here in just a second, but man, we have to be effective.
Then the last one is market. We have attitude times activity times effectiveness times market. Quite honestly, in our business, in the voluntary benefits here in Maricopa County, and really around the country, I oftentimes forget…forget…to even include market in the formula because I just assume the market is good.
You know, all voluntary benefit competitors combined, we’re still at less than 10 percent penetration. That means if you walk into 100 doors, Moe, 90 of them don’t have us, don’t have our competitor, don’t have anything like us, and would be a good fit for us.
Moe: That’s actually awesome, and of course, why don’t they have us? Because someone hasn’t walked in the door and said hi to the owner yet.
Tim: You bet. What do you think is happening with national health care reform? What has happened as far as our visibility?
Moe: Well, that’s actually just shot us through the roof.
Tim: You bet. You know, I’ve been saying this for a while now, the last year and a half, two years: I really truly believe that when the history of voluntary benefits is written, this next 10 years, maybe 15 years, that we’re going through (we just started about a year ago), this 10 to 15 years is going to be considered the “good old days” of voluntary benefits, the “golden era.”
I mean, if you think back to some of the golden eras in different markets, you think of Detroit in the 50s and 60s when they were cranking out the Mustang and those kinds of things. You think about those good old days, and everybody would love to have been part of it. Man, we’re there. We’re in the good old days. You have to remember that. I think it’s important, so the market is phenomenal, if we have effectiveness that’s improving, we work our brains out in activity and keep a great attitude, I promise you, you can’t help but be successful.
Tim: So let’s get into the practical matters, though. Let’s talk about…What can we do to keep our attitude, our activity, our effectiveness, and the market in our favor? When it comes to attitude, what is the first thing you think of to help you with your attitude, Moe?
Moe: Well, I think the first thing you have to do is believe in what you’re selling.
Moe: In fact, let’s talk about this in our industry. Do you own the products that you’re selling? Do you believe in them enough to own them yourself?
Tim: Yeah, it cracks me up when I go in a car dealership, and the salesperson doesn’t own the cars they’re selling, right?
Moe: No. They end up owning something from another dealership.
Tim: Right…where they worked last week. Right?
Moe: Yeah. Yeah.
Tim: Exactly. No, you have to own them, man. You have to believe enough in it because it will happen sooner or later. Somebody says, “Man, I really like the different programs you showed me the other day. Which ones do you own?”
Moe: Right. Right.
Tim: You go, “Uh, well, uh, none,” or…
Moe: That’s never a comfortable moment.
Tim: No, it’s not, and you can’t fake it. You have to believe in it. I really do. The other thing that I think helps you believe in your products is claims. You know, when you’re first starting out, you don’t have a claims story yet. Maybe you do have a story about somebody who you know who had the product before you started working for that company or somebody who should have had the product, but sooner rather than later, if you’re doing the activity and you’re having some success, you are going to have one of your people file a claim.
When you see the rubber meet the road, so to speak, it’s going to change it. It’s going to move it from your head to your heart, and I think that’s important. If you don’t have a claims story, you need to steal one. You need to borrow one from somebody else for a while, and I’ll give you one. I think it’s really, really important in the voluntary benefits.
I lost my mom, as you know, in 1998 to cancer. She was a schoolteacher right here in Phoenix, Arizona, worked at Trevor Browne High School, which is part of the Phoenix Union School District. Schoolteachers, they don’t make a lot of money, but what do they have, Moe?
Moe: They have great benefits.
Tim: Yeah, they do, and they certainly did in 1998. In fact, the year my mom battled cancer (and it was a gross, ugly year), she went through 28 radiation treatments, half a dozen different rounds of chemotherapy, 2 surgeries, 3 hospital stays, you know, all the other things that come along with cancer, like, anti-nausea medication, biopsies, CAT scans. You name it. She went through it, including hospice at the end. Well, for that year she was in treatment for cancer, her out-of-pocket expenses were less than $2,000.
Moe: Oh, wow. I knew a gentleman who just had a surgery and had to be out-of-pocket about $30,000.
Tim: Yeah, $30,000. This is a year’s worth of incredibly aggressive cancer treatments, so that’s pretty good health insurance. Wouldn’t you agree?
Moe: I would say that it’s stellar.
Tim: Yeah, I’m pretty sure national health care reform is about that good. Right? I mean that’s what we’re…
Moe: Oh, nope.
Tim: No, not even close, is it? No, it was phenomenal, so then you know the answer, but I’m going to pose it as a rhetorical question. Why did my dad end up having to sell the house as my mom was battling cancer? Well, neither one of them worked. She couldn’t work for a year. She was too sick. My dad didn’t because he was taking care of her.
I mean, if you have ever seen anybody go through something like that, you know somebody has to take care of them. Somebody has to take them in for treatment, stay with them there, bring them home, stay with them after they get home, help them around the house, those kinds of things.
Not only did my dad feel like he needed to do it; he wanted to do it. Right? She is his wife of 35 years. He is going to be there for her, so neither one of them worked for almost a year. If they had had our critical illness plan with the cancer plan here, we would have paid them over $72,000 that year.
Moe: Was that more than your mother made in a year?
Tim: Much more than my made in a year.
Moe: So your dad would not have lost the house. Would he?
Tim: Would not have lost the house. I think that’s one of the coolest things about our industry. We change people’s lives. We make a significant impact on their life, and I think that you would agree that could have been a huge impact for them.
Moe: Oh, it would have been a life-changer, a game-changer, for your father.
Tim: You bet. It would not have saved my mom’s life. It wouldn’t have done any of that. It wasn’t like she couldn’t afford that last treatment that would have helped her. They did everything they possibly could, but it sure would have taken a lot of pressure off them at a time where you don’t need extra pressure. You have to believe in what you’re doing, and if you don’t, then go do something else.
Tim: It’s that simple. You can’t just be here to make money. People will smell that on you. You have to believe in what you’re doing.
Moe: Well, ask this question. Tim, you’ve been in this business for a long time. You look at the people, and just about everybody who comes in comes in, first, to make money.
Tim: Yep. I did. I’ll be honest. I did.
Moe: How impactful is it to their career when they finally make that switch to no longer try to make money but try to help people?
Tim: Oh, it’s night and day. Everything changes, and it’s hard to give that. If there is one little sprinkle of magic fairy dust I could give new agents, I wish I could give them that one.
Moe: Of course, once they make that switch, don’t they start to make more money?
Tim: They do make more money. It’s ironic. When they stop worrying about the money and start worrying about helping people, the money flows, and it’s just ironic. As long as they’re focusing on what is in it for them (what kind of money can I make?), people smell it.
Tim: There’s an old expression: “You can’t teach a hungry cat how to mouse.” Think about that for a second. I have a lot more crude expressions than that one, but I think it’s true. “You can’t teach a hungry cat how to mouse.”
Tim: All right. Well, let’s talk about… There are a couple of other really practical things we can do to keep our attitude up. I think another one is you have to fill the tank. You were talking about the car running out of gas because of activity.
Tim: I think about attitude as being a gas tank, as well. You go out and you get 30 trillion noes in a row, right?
Tim: It just drains you. It can be very draining, especially when it’s 127 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona, and that’s before 10:00 a.m. You had a whole bunch of noes. Maybe you had a whole bunch of noes yesterday, and your spouse or your sweetie was wondering when you’re going to get paid again. You’re already kind defeated before you go, and your tank is empty.
Moe: How do you fill it?
Tim: Well, there are a couple of ways. I think the first thing you have to do is you have to fill your mind with positive things. We live in a very negative world. We’re in a negative profession. Lots of negatives going on. You have to overcome that. First of all, motivational tapes or podcasts or those kinds of things, going to seminars, find an inspirational author who you really like, a motivational speaker. Those kinds of things. I think that can help you a lot, so that’s addition.
Subtraction on that would be stop listening to negative stuff. I cannot stand listening to talk radio, all the political things. I mean, I don’t care whether you’re incredibly conservative, incredibly liberal, somewhere in the middle. If you listen to your side’s rhetoric, it just makes you mad. You get pissed off at the whole world, and I can’t listen to that stuff because my blood pressure goes up higher than it already is. I get very frustrated, and it just is demoralizing. I’m not saying be uninformed. I’m just saying don’t listen to the garbage out there.
Moe: Also, what do you say, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”?
Tim: Yeah, that’s another one of those expression I have, yeah, that’s not so… Yeah, I’m not sure that’s what I’m talking about here, but yeah, absolutely, and so I think that’s important.
Another thing you can do is keep a success file. A lot of people, especially in this industry, you’ll get notes and letters of encouragement and things like that. Save them. Put them in a file and then when you’re having a crappy day, you’re having a really bad day, pull that file out, and take a look at them. You go, “Oh, yeah, I used to be cool at one point. People liked me. They appreciated me.” It makes you feel good.
There has been more than one day where I’ve grabbed… Instead of “attaboys,” I call them “atta Tims.” That’s what the file actually says on it: “atta Tims.” I pull out my “atta Tim” file, and I’ll read them, and it makes me feel a ton better. Some of those are thank-you notes from claimants, again, helping you remember why you’re doing this business, and I think that’s really important.
Then the last one on attitude, it doesn’t sound like it’s an attitude one, but it is, and it’s called GOYA, and that’s Tommy Hopkins. It stands for “Get off your anatomy.” That’s how he says it. I won’t use the other “A” word we could use, but get off your butt, man. You cannot wait until the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and all is right in the world to go out and do some prospecting. You have to go do it. You can’t feel your way into action. You have to act your way into feeling.
Moe: That would basically be on that day when you wake up and you just don’t want to go prospecting, that’s the time you should?
Tim: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah, if you don’t feel like prospecting, what should you do?
Moe: Go prospecting.
Tim: Absolutely, so it will help your attitude. It’s amazing what happens. You get out there, even if you get beat up a little bit, but you told yourself you needed to go do it, and you do it, and you feel better. It’s like going to the gym. I hate going to the gym, but afterwards, I feel much better, right? I like being at the gym. I love having done my workout. I just don’t like going.
Tim: Yeah. Okay. Let’s talk about activity. That’s a good segue right into activity. I know you’re a big believer in calendaring. Why is it that so important?
Moe: Well, it actually gives you something to do during the day. If you look at your calendar at the beginning of the day, especially when you’re a self-employed individual, and you have nothing in there, how employed are you?
Tim: You’re unemployed, yeah.
Moe: Versus if you end up filling your calendar with the activities that you need to do, such as you have time blocked out to go prospecting. You have time blocked out to do your phone calls. You have time blocked out to do some self-improvement.
Tim: You bet.
Moe: Then it gets done. If it doesn’t make it to your calendar, it’s never going to happen.
Tim: Yeah, that’s my expression I have said for years. “If it doesn’t get calendared, it doesn’t get done.” Then don’t cheat your calendar, right? You cannot cheat your calendar. So that’s good. Andrew Carnegie was given… Well, actually, he wrote a check for $100,000 for a good idea, the $100,000 idea.
Moe: What year was that?
Tim: Oh, geez. I don’t even know.
Moe: Was that in the early 30s?
Tim: I think so. It was way back. It may have been even before that. I would have to look it up, but I think it was even before the 30s.
Moe: It’s safe to say that $100,000 would be worth a lot more today?
Tim: I’m guessing it would be worth a ton more today. Absolutely. You bet. Basically, what was that idea? You know the idea.
Moe: Yeah. Basically, every day, before you leave your office, before you call it a day, write down everything you need to do tomorrow.
Tim: Right. Just to write it down. Why is that so important?
Moe: Well, because it allows you to focus on it. It’s no longer a concept. It becomes reality once you write it down. You know the things that are done, and when you jump out of bed at 8:00 in the morning or 7:30 or 5:30 or 6:30, depending on the person who you are…
Tim: Or 11:30 for some people.
Moe: Yeah, that’s a little too late.
Moe: When you jump out of bed, you’re able to jump out of bed and get going. You don’t have to worry about it, don’t have to waste another two to three hours in the morning planning on what you’re going to do.
Tim: You bet. No, I think that’s critical. The other thing I think it lets you do, without trying to get all metaphysical on you, but it lets your subconscious go to work on it the night before. You start to think about it. You start to come up with solutions if it might be a challenge, those kinds of things that you’re working on. Absolutely.
Full disclosure: I did just pull up Wikipedia. Andrew Carnegie…you were right. It was the early 30s, the early 1830s. He was born 1835, so we were only off by 100 years.
Moe: So $100,000 would be worth probably what Bill Gates is worth today.
Tim: Yeah, it would be a lot of money. He paid that to a gentleman. I may slaughter it slightly, but basically, the story goes… A gentleman came to him and says, “I have an idea for you. I’m going to give it to you. I’m going to come back in a month, and you can pay me what you think it is worth.”
He didn’t demand any money upfront, didn’t say how much he wanted for the idea, gave Andrew Carnegie that idea: Before you close your day out, to write down everything you have to get down tomorrow, those kinds of things. Make a to-do list, basically, before you leave the office every day.
When he came back a month later, Mr. Carnegie handed him a check for $100,000, and that’s not Dale Carnegie. That’s Andrew Carnegie. If you’ve traveled anywhere on the East Coast, you see all these Carnegie libraries. Yeah, that’s that Carnegie. Okay.
Moe: Carnegie Mellon Institute.
Tim: Yeah, that Carnegie. Yeah. Absolutely.
Moe: Yeah, so…
Tim: Not Carnegie Deli either.
Moe: No, no, well… Okay. Here’s the question I have for you, Tim: If this was worth $100,000 to Andrew Carnegie way back when, it should tell us how much it’s worth to us today.
Tim: You bet.
Moe: If that’s the case, what is something that would be great for every agent to list out before they went to bed?
Tim: Oh, probably where they’re going to go tomorrow, like a list of places they want to go cold calling on, right?
Moe: An actual list of each individual business, not just an area, but maybe the names of those businesses that they want to go see.
Tim: Yeah and the decision maker name and address and all that good stuff. Yeah.
Tim: I’m a huge believer of that. Even if something derails you, at least you have a list for the next day, so absolutely.
Moe: Of course, it doesn’t mean that those are the only ones that you have to go see that day, but if you have at least the minimum number that you need to go see to hit your goals, that allows you to do it, to have a check-off list every single day so that when you don’t feel like it, you can say, “I have to. I have to get my list done.”
Tim: You bet. One more thing for activity. We’ve given them get it in the calendar. If it doesn’t get calendared, it doesn’t get done, the $100,000 idea, and then I think this one is worth at least the same amount. I think this is probably one of the most brilliant ideas when it comes to outside sales, especially for what we do, and that is partnering.
Moe: I would have to say that was the reason for my success in the business, because I partnered up every single day when I got started in this business. I’m the type of person who, no matter how good I get at prospecting, I don’t like to do it by myself, so I always found individuals to go with me every day to go knocking on doors.
To be honest with you, when I first started doing it, I was beating myself up a little bit, wondering why I couldn’t do it, why I didn’t like to go by myself, why it was so much easier with another individual. I asked one of my friends, who was not even in sales, not even in the insurance business, I asked him, “Why is it so effective to partner up?” He gave me four reasons for it. First, it motivates you to get out the door every single day.
Tim: Yeah, it’s so much harder to hit the snooze button when you know you have to meet somebody at Starbucks at 7:00 or whatever.
Moe: Right. It keeps you accountable. It’s kind of like, Tim, if you want to go to the gym, isn’t easier if you have a partner meeting there?
Tim: Much, much, much easier. Yeah.
Moe: The second thing it does is if you walk in a door by yourself, you’re an individual, but if two of you walk in, you automatically become a company in their eyes.
Tim: Nice. Also, I think not just you become a company, but it shows respect.
Tim: There are two of you calling on him. You bet.
Moe: Right. Another reason, when you get out there, part of selling to individuals is getting people to like you. Is it possible that there are going to be people out there who won’t like you regardless of anything you do?
Tim: Well, not me, but you maybe.
Moe: Uh, yeah. Okay.
Tim: Yeah, yeah, okay. No, absolutely. I know that comes as a shock to you, Moe.
Tim: But not everybody likes me. Weird.
Moe: Not really that much of a shock. No, I’m just kidding. If you end up partnering with someone, there are going to be some people who will like your partner better than you or like you better than your partner, so it doubles your effectiveness out there.
Moe: On the same thing, you’re able to play off of each other’s strengths. While you’re presenting, your partner can be watching what is happening in the backfield to see if there’s another avenue, another way that it can go in, or while your partner is presenting, you can be looking in the backfield. Then when you leave, you can replay that call and hone your skills.
Tim: You bet. Oftentimes, you miss those clues, especially when you’re nervous or you’re so focused, and somebody else can pick up on them and come up with, maybe, a different spin and save that appointment or save that drop for you. That’s great. All right.
Some practical things on attitude, some practical things on activity, let’s talk about effectiveness. This one, like I said, if there’s one area you can start with a low number, it is effectiveness. You just can’t stay there, so I’m a huge believer, have been preaching this for a long, long time (you know that, Moe) in having a personal growth plan. Every year, you need to have a personal growth plan. If it has the word plan, what do you think that implies?
Moe: It means you need to write it down.
Tim: Write it down. Wow! What a concept. Yeah, it can’t be, “Oh, I’m just going to read a whole bunch of books this year.” You can’t just say, “I’m going to read a bunch of books.” You have to list them out, and you have to be very intentional about it.
There are a million, million, trillion books out there that you could read on sales, on becoming more effective with time management, all those things, but if you just don’t have a plan or you say, “I’m going to read a bunch of them,” the year is going to go by, and you might have read two. Now, two is better than none.
Moe: Right. Two is better than none, and two is actually better than most people do, so…
Tim: Most, absolutely. Almost 80 percent of salespeople have never read one book on sales.
Moe: That’s insane.
Tim: That is insane.
Moe: You know, we can make more money than a doctor can.
Tim: Yeah, I hope my doctor has read something on being a doctor, wouldn’t you?
Moe: I would hope so.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely.
Moe: Tim, it’s not just about books too. There are other things that you want to put into that growth plan. What are some other things you would put into that growth plan?
Tim: You bet. Seminars that you’re going to go, whether it’s a sales seminar or personal development, an intentional mentorship program, making time in your week, in your quarter, in your month (whatever) to work with your mentor, those kinds of things. It could be going and taking an Excel class. Maybe you’re struggling with Excel, and you know in sales, especially for what we do, you’d better understand how to do a database and those kinds of things.
You know, there are all sorts of things you can do to help grow, but you have to be a little bit self-aware, see where your weaknesses are, and work on those a little bit….a little bit. Find out where you’re strong, and really spend some time growing there. Again, this is going to come as a shock to you: Nobody is ever going to pay me to sing. On a scale of 1 to 10, I think I have a nice voice. I’d say it’s about a six or a seven.
Moe: Would they ever pay you not to sing?
Tim: Yeah, they might. No, I think I have a six or a seven voice. It doesn’t make the dogs howl or anything like that, but if I really worked hard (I mean, I really worked hard) and hired a singing coach and all that, I might get to an eight.
Tim: Nobody is ever going to pay… Well, Britney Spears maybe, but… No, no. Nobody’s… Justin Bieber. No. I mean, nobody is ever going to pay somebody who has an eight voice.
Moe: Unless you have the looks to go with it.
Tim: Yeah, that’s a problem for me, but at any rate, people don’t pay for mediocre. They never have, never will, so you have to look for where you’re strong, and really develop those.
Tim: Really develop those.
Moe: Tim, we talked about the training. We talked about the seminars, talked about the books. Is it possible that a company might provide some free training for you?
Tim: Most companies do, and it shocks me how few people really take advantage of it. They go through the required training, the stuff that the company makes them do to keep their job. Oftentimes, there are so many other opportunities for training. For instance, for us, we have this thing called Friday Fundamentals. It shocks me how many people we have who I know, based upon their sales, that they’re not making a ton of money.
Tim: Right? We’re going to give them tools every Friday, yet the class is half full at best, right?
Moe: There are some days it’s not even half full.
Tim: Yeah, exactly. I’ll tell you what. Over the years, that has made a huge impact on so many people’s career. I’ve had people who told me that if it weren’t for Friday Fundamentals, they would not have stayed in this industry, so find out what your company does. Get involved. Go multiple times. Just because you sat through the class one time doesn’t mean you learned it all.
Moe: Repetition is the mother of learning.
Tim: Something like that. The other thing, another well-used, overused phrase is, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” right?
Tim: Honestly, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve taught those classes, hundreds of times. I know I’ve never taught them the same way twice, ever. Every time, I use different examples, slightly different stories, those kinds of things, and you’re going to get something out of it. I suggest you go to the classes multiple times. I think it can help you.
Tim: Don’t use it as an excuse not to do activity.
Moe: Right. Don’t do it just because you don’t want to go knocking on doors. Do it to help you when you do go knocking on doors. We did talk earlier about reading, and you read quite a few books. Of course, there are also some good seminars out there. Who are some of the favorite authors, the favorite sales gurus who you like to follow?
Tim: Well, you could always go back to all the classics, like Tommy Hopkins and Zig Ziglar, all those guys. I mean those are phenomenal, and they’re good, and I would suggest you read them, but the people who are hot right now, the people who I think really have their finger on the pulse of sales and some of the things that are going on, Anthony Iannarino at www.thesalesblog.com/. He is awesome.
Todd Duncan, one of the premier sales trainers, especially about time and attitude management. He does a great job. His book is called Time Traps. It’s one of my favorite personal productivity books ever written. Then, Jeffrey Gitomer. I like Jeffrey. He’s kind of a smart aleck, and I enjoy that. He does not pull punches at all, so…
Moe: Not at all, and it’s also great to see some of his videos for free on YouTube.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely.
Moe: Do you want to hear something sad? I actually ran across basically a set of seven books by Jeffrey Gitomer for only $35.
Tim: That’s a steal.
Moe: They’ve never been read.
Tim: Never been read. Wow. I’m telling you 80 percent of salespeople haven’t even read one book on sales. It blows my mind. All right, so market, what can we do to change the market? Can we do anything to change the market?
Moe: I don’t think you can do anything to change the market unless you want to run for president, and you don’t even affect it then, so…
Tim: That’s right. You can’t do anything, so you have to make sure you are selling a product or a service that has a good market. I mean, that’s all you can do personally, make sure… And we already established this is a phenomenal market. This is the good old days of voluntary benefits, but inside of that market, again, I said everybody wants to know that one area that that’s virgin land that nobody has ever called on, right?
I’ve seen agents literally drive all the way across Maricopa County and then all the way up to Prescott because they’re sure that nobody in Prescott has ever heard of voluntary benefits. They’re just going to walk in, and people are going to fall at their feet and say, “Thank you for coming. We’ve been waiting! We’ve been waiting to buy this stuff!” Right? Does that happen?
Moe: That happens. The question I have is…How many businesses do they pass by on their way to Prescott?
Tim: More than they could ever do in their entire career. When I sit down with a recruit, oftentimes, I’ll ask them what ZIP code they are in, and I’ll go pull up ReferenceUSA or Salesgenie just looking for businesses in their ZIP code.
Moe: How about just do a radius search around your house?
Tim: Well, just in their ZIP code, Moe, usually, the number is somewhere between 800 and 1,200 businesses in the same ZIP code they live in. Most people are like, “I live in a residential ZIP code.” I said, “Yeah, but all the dentists, all the doctors, all the chiropractors, you know, you name it. It doesn’t have to be Intel in your neighborhood.”
Moe: Well, I sat down with a new agent recently, and he lives in a very rural area, okay? He lives just outside of Tucson, and Tucson is rural enough, but he lives outside of Tucson. We did a search of businesses just between 10 and 50 within a 2-mile radius of his house.
Moe: How many do you think there were?
Tim: Two-mile radius. I’m guessing…very rural…500?
Moe: It was a little less than that. It was 350.
Tim: Yeah, 350 in the rural area.
Moe: Those were just the ones between 10 and 50. We didn’t even talk about businesses that were smaller or larger than that.
Tim: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Yeah, I forgot you said 10, so yeah, no kidding. That doesn’t shock me. It’s amazing, but it doesn’t shock me because I’ve pulled those.
There’s a great book out there. I can’t remember the author, but it’s called Acres of Diamonds. It’s an old, old sales book, but every time I see an agent drive way away from their house to go prospecting, it reminds me of that book. The synopsis of the book is a young man gets an inheritance, and he blows it trying to become rich. He has a modest inheritance. He travels the world looking to find a diamond mine, and he goes all over.
He becomes an old man, goes through all his inheritance, and just before he passes away they discover diamonds right underneath his feet, basically, acres of diamonds right underneath his feet. There is so much opportunity right there. Don’t drive miles and miles and miles to go prospecting. It’s right in your backyard, literally right in your backyard. All right, so those are kind of the practical tools. We talked about practical tools for attitude, activity, effectiveness, and market, so let’s go into the inspirational part of this.
Tim: Hopefully, everything we’ve talked about should have inspired you a little bit to get out there and prospect. I’m going to tell you a story, though, that I think kind of puts a fine point on this whole thing. The story is about a group when I was living up in Washington State. I lived in Olympia. My office was in Seattle, 72 miles from my home.
I had kind of a very weak appointment, I thought, a weak appointment with a decision maker for this little golf store. Well, it was supposed to be a 4:00 appointment. I was going to leave my office early because in Seattle, believe it or not, every time it rains, the roads get bad. Does it ever rain in Seattle?
Moe: Uh, every day.
Tim: Every day. The roads in Seattle are awesome. No traffic problems unless it’s raining, so that could be a problem, but at any rate, I get stuck in traffic, and I had left my office at 2:00. It should have only taken me 45 minutes tops, so I was wanting to get down there, avoid the traffic. You never know.
I should have been there by quarter to 3:00. My appointment is at 4:00. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but left early. Well, at 3:30 (and I was still a long ways a way), I call him and say, “Hey, I could be late. Do we want to reschedule?” The guy said, “Absolutely not. Come on in. It’s fine. No problem.”
Well, I could keep going on and on. I kept in touch with him. I didn’t end up getting there until almost 5:30. It was brutal, and by that point, I was tired. I had had a long, stressful day in traffic. A couple of things had not gone well for me in the morning, as well, and all. I almost begged off. I almost called the guy and said, “Hey, listen, just today is not going to be a good day. Let’s reschedule for another day,” but I didn’t.
I called him, and he said, “We’re going to be here at least until 6:00,” so I show up about 5:30, meet with him, and it didn’t turn in to be a weak appointment. It was a great appointment. He was the decision maker. It wasn’t one store in Tacoma. They had five stores around all over Western Washington with about 25 employees per store, made good money, so it wasn’t just a typical retailer where they’re making just over minimum wage. They actually made really good money, and we ended up getting the group.
I’m telling you, I almost lost that because of attitude. I could have easily lost it because of activity, trying to push it off. I think it was after I had been in the business for a few years, so my effectiveness was a lot better. Right? Then there’s the market. So you have to get out there. You have to see the people. You have to make that “one more” call. Do that “one more” drop. Make sure you keep your attitude right when you go into meet with people.
Moe: Right, and then I just wanted to step back to that story. How did you initially get that appointment?
Tim: On a cold call.
Moe: You just walked in the door.
Tim: I walked in the door.
Moe: They didn’t call you?
Tim: Shockingly, no.
Moe: I have a feeling that when you first asked for that appointment, they weren’t interested, were they?
Tim: They were not interested.
Moe: So you…
Tim: That’s why I thought it was a weak appointment. It was like he gave it to me just to shut me up and get me out the door. You ever have that happen?
Moe: There is nothing wrong with it. I do it all the time.
Tim: That’s right, so I was shocked he didn’t reschedule or completely put me off the first time I called, let alone by the second or third time I had to call there.
Moe: I think he was impressed you were still going down there even though the roads were bad.
Tim: Yeah, well, maybe. It’s kind of common, though, in Washington. At any rate, so again, could tell 100 trillion stories, and you guys don’t want to hear all those, but I’m just telling you this is the formula for success: attitude times activity times effectiveness times market equals success.
Moe: So what you’re saying is, “Like what you do. Do it.”
Tim: A lot.
Moe: “Get better at it.”
Moe: “And you can do it next door.”
Tim: And you can do it next door. Make sure you’re selling the right product, service.
Moe: You’ll be successful.
Tim: You will be successful. Absolutely. Hey, Moe, we cannot have a podcast without throwing out a challenge.
Moe: What would you like that challenge to be? Or do you want me to just tell them what I want it to be?
Tim: You tell them. You tell them what you want the challenge to be.
Moe: All right. Here’s what I’d like to see: I’d like to see someone out there commit to doing 100 door knocks in a week.
Tim: One hundred in a week.
Moe: How many is that per day?
Tim: I’m guessing… let’s see…if you work a 5-day workweek, that sounds about like 20 a day.
Moe: Twenty a day. How long would it take you to do 20 quality door knocks in one day?
Tim: Hmm. Three or four hours.
Moe: So a half a day?
Tim: Half a day.
Moe: Okay, so all I want…
Tim: Quality. Not just run in and…
Tim: …drop something off and hope that nobody…
Tim: …talks to you and run out.
Moe: They at least have to get the name of the decision maker.
Moe: Okay? Or a business card for that door when they go in. One hundred quality door knocks in a week. All I’m asking you to do is work half a day, every day, doing nothing but prospecting. The first person who sends me those door knocks… Oh, you have to put them down on those drop lists that I give you.
Tim: Yep. If it doesn’t get on the list, it didn’t happen.
Moe: Okay? The first person to send that to me after we broadcast this gets $100.
Tim: A $100 bill from Uncle Moe. No, I like that. I like that. I might have to go out and do some prospecting. That’s awesome.
Moe: You don’t qualify.
Tim: Oh, I don’t qualify.
Moe: Oh, okay. Well, here’s the deal: Not only are they going to get that $100, how many accounts do you think they would get out of those 100 door knocks?
Tim: Oh, boy. You have to figure that they’re going to get somewhere between 10 and 15 appointments. Worst-case scenario, there should be three to five groups, wouldn’t it?
Moe: Three to five groups just from knocking on the… What if they’re not that effective; do you think they might at least get one group out of that?
Tim: One group. Even if their effectiveness is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Moe: One group would pay them close to what? About $1,000.
Moe: Wouldn’t it?
Tim: Yeah, absolutely.
Moe: I think the $1,000 would be worth it, but on top of it, just so you see the money right away, we’ll pay you $100 for the first person to do it.
Tim: Veteran or new.
Moe: All right?
Tim: Veteran or new.
Moe: My email address will be listed on the website. Well, it’s email@example.com. How hard is that?
Tim: Msullivan@coloniallife.com, you betcha. All right, Moe, well I appreciate it. Again, today’s topic was Formula for Success. Tune in next week. We’re going to jump into one of my favorites, and that is prospecting. We talked about the need for prospecting, but we’re going to give you some very practical tools, setting the appointment…the five sales…sale one, setting the appointment, next week.
Moe: I look forward to it.
Tim: All right. Thanks, Moe. We’ll talk to you soon.
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