Host: Tim Martin
Guest: Jonny Burgess
Episode 25: You Can Too – Jonny Burgess Interview
August 13, 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’re listening to episode number 25 of Success is Voluntary. Today I’m going to introduce you to Jonny Burgess. I first became aware of Jonny in 2011 when his first book You Can Too was published. Even though we both worked for the same carrier, our paths had never crossed until last week. One of my loyal listeners, George DuPont, sent me an email asking me to get Jonny on the podcast. He knows Jonny and made the introduction.
I really enjoyed Jonny’s book when I first read it in 2011, and I’ve literally bought and handed it to at least 30 people over the last few years. You Can Too is the consummate how-to book with scripting, systems, and strategy baked right in. More importantly, it is also a book that helps voluntary benefit agents develop the right mindsets and mental habits.
During this podcast, Jonny did a bit of a deep dive into some of the psychology behind the techniques he teaches. I have included a link to his book in the show notes for today’s episode. You can find this link, an outline of our discussion, many other resources, and a full written transcript of the episode at www.successisvoluntary.com/025, as in episode 25.
All right, let’s get right to it, shall we? Hey, thanks, Jonny, for joining us today.
Jonny Burgess: My pleasure.
Tim: You bet. I understand you’re on the road and going crazy out there, a regional sales coordinator with Aflac now, and a lot of responsibility, so I know you’re a busy guy. Like I told you the other day on the phone, I did that job for 14 years, so I think I have a clue as to what you’re going through. Man, I know how tight your time is, so I appreciate it.
Tim: I mentioned in the opening that you wrote this book. I think it was 2011 the book came out, is that correct?
Jonny: I believe that is true. That’s when I got published. I wrote it about a year before that, but I had never written a book. I didn’t know about the un-fun editing process and all, but yeah, that’s about it.
Tim: Yeah, about 2011 it came out, and I don’t even remember who put it in my hands. I have probably purchased 30 copies of it over the years to give to new agents, and I really believe in a lot of the stuff, not everything you wrote. I mean I can’t say I believe everything you wrote, but I really do believe a lot of what you did there in the book is very appropriate for the voluntary benefits arena, not just Aflac but Colonial, Transamerica, whoever. I think a lot of it really, really applies. As you know, Success is Voluntary, we’re carrier-agnostic here, so we don’t care the carrier.
A lot of the book, when it came out, it was kind of a how-to book, certainly a how-to book, but it also has a lot of mental attitude and positive thinking and thoughts about success and that kind of thing. How important do you think that is in this industry, Jonny?
Jonny: Well, I kind of cannot say this business is 50 percent mental and the rest of it in your head, so this really is 100 percent attitude before you ever hit the streets. You have control over that. You really do. You can go through the motions and say the exact same words with a terrible attitude, and you’re not going to have the response you’re looking for. Enthusiasm, on the other hand, is catchy. I mean it’s literally contagious. If you’re excited about something, people just want to know what you have.
As a district manager, I made my new agents, you know, onboarding, their job was real simple. They had three things they had to do, but number one was writing down goals. Literally, their first purpose in life, they had to write 100 life goals and think as big as they wanted. Most people looked at me like I was crazy, but I showed them my 100 life goals the very first interview when I went out to breakfast with them.
I crossed off probably nine of them in front of them, but other goals I had that I haven’t reached yet, one of them was to help five other people become millionaires. They knew I was serious as a heart attack that I was going to make that happen. “If you want to be one of the five, then step up.” I got them thinking big because, really, a lot of people who just tried something were knocked down, and nobody told them, “It’s okay. Just get back up and do it again.”
It’s really just overcoming negative obstacles, objections, getting tougher from it, and just trying to get them to realize exactly what you want. You can have whatever you want. That’s the secret to it, but you really just have to decide what it is you want, and then go after it, so absolutely passionate about goal setting.
Tim: I am so passionate about that too, and I so appreciate your thoughts on that because it really is a great exercise. So you have them do 100 things that they want to accomplish in their life?
Jonny: Correct. I had one guy I brought on that he was 73 years old, and he said, “Jonny, I’m 73.” I said, “I couldn’t care less. You have to give me 100.” Colonel Sanders, who started Kentucky Fried Chicken, I think he was living in his station wagon at age 66, trying to sell chicken at truck stops. Obviously, he built a dynasty, but it’s not where you are that determines it; it’s how badly you want it.
Tim: Wow, it was kind of funny. I had this conversation with somebody this morning. He was telling me about an interview he had just done, and the guy, he asked him, “If there was one thing that you could do in life, and you would jump out of bed, and the second your feet hit the floor, you would be excited about it, what would it be?” The guy couldn’t come up with anything. He said (and I think this is kind of your point) we forget how to dream. We forget how to go after those big things. We settle.
Jonny: You do settle. Absolutely. What’s interesting is when I have people write down their 100. It’s kind of funny that the first 20 to 30 are pretty easy because they’re 100 percent material. “I want that giant house on the beach. I want a Ferrari. I want…,” whatever. “I want to have a $1 million in the bank,” whatever it is…million-dollar Black Visa credit card, whatever your goals are…some vacations you want to take. After about the first 30, it starts to become a chore, but what it does is it makes you think outside yourself on the rest of your goals or how you’re going to help other people and make this world a better place because you were in it.
One of my life goals I haven’t attained yet is to sponsor 100 World Vision kids. It’s only $3,500 a month. That’s $42,000 a year. I mean I have some, but I don’t have 100 yet. To me, that’s very important. I have 100 people who can stay alive if I attain that goal. You can put a material thing in front of you. That can certainly drive you. Day to day, you can stare at it, but some of these life goals are way beyond yourself, so like I said, making this world a better place because you were in it.
Tim: That’s great. In fact, you know what I’m going to do, Jonny. I’m going to put a link in the show notes. I’m going to challenge every listener to go buy one a month. That’s $35 a month. Right?
Tim: I’ve been a big supporter of World Vision for a long time. I’ve never done that before, but as a thank you for coming on here, I’m going to ask our audience. I’m going to put a link in the show notes to World Vision. The link for this show can be found at www.successisvoluntary.com/025, as in episode 25, and I’m going to challenge you guys to go to the link there, go to World Vision, and at least one kid a month, $35 a month. If you’re listening to this podcast, you get a lot of stuff for free. I don’t usually ask you to pay me anything. Let’s do it, $35 a month to World Vision.
Jonny: That’s awesome.
Tim: You bet.
Jonny: That’s an awesome challenge. That’s not even a small coffee a day to keep the kids on the other side of the world alive.
Tim: I agree.
Jonny: That’s awesome.
Tim: I agree. Absolutely. Okay, now I’m emotional, so on we go. You know, some of the stuff in your book You Can Too (and like I said, there will be a link to that, as well, in the show notes so people can go on Amazon and get it) was really embraced. Some people pooh-poohed it and said it was too simple, those kinds of things. Why do you think it was so polarizing for so many agents? Like I said, either people loved it, or they really didn’t like it.
Jonny: Well, a lot of it, those agents have been around way longer than myself, and some of them, I think, just had the attitude of, “Who is this new kid on the block?” When I wrote it, I was only a couple of years into the business, so you know, “What right does he have to tell me?” Some of it is the-old-dog-new-tricks kind of a thing, but if what you’re doing is absolutely working, then don’t change it. I mean if something is working…
I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but if anybody is struggling at any level, any part of my system can help you. That’s what it’s for. I called it “Aflac for dummies.” When I started, again, I have teams from Northwestern Mutual, other companies that are using my book. I even talk to their teams, not just Aflac, but it’s an opportunity to sell voluntary so you can change people’s lives.
When I started, a month into the business, I just got married. All of a sudden, I went from a single dad with five kids to now I had eight kids and a $5,200-a-month mortgage. I didn’t have a choice. I had to make a ton of money every month, or I would have had to leave and do something else. For immediate results, I’m not saying my way is the only way or even the best way; I’m just saying it’s probably the fastest way for a brand-new person to make money out of the gate.
What is rewarding to me is I get emails, maybe not every day but close to it, emails and calls from Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, Michigan, all over the country, just thanking me for writing, basically, an “Aflac for dummies” book, just dumbing it down so they could take one piece, go to work, and make some money, so just trying to make it ultra-simple. Some people are just making it too complicated in my opinion. As you get better at it, you can add to it, but just giving that newbie one little objective to go out there, meet a couple of business owners, and ask them for five minutes of their time in a couple of days, make it that simple, and taking the pressure off.
Tim: Yeah, you said something that’s pretty interesting there: People make it complicated. I had a gentleman, oh geez, 12 years ago, sit down with me and said, “Hey, Tim, this is really a simple business. We complicate it. It’s really a simple business. If you’re in leadership in this business, all you have to do is hire enough of the right kind, train them to open payroll accounts. That’s it.”
As you know, in the regional sales coordinator position, that’s easier said than done. It’s a simple business. I didn’t say it was easy, but it is pretty simple, and we tend to get in our own ways. Why do you think people try to overcomplicate it, Jonny?
Jonny: Sometimes they’re just overthinking it, and instead of being in action, doing something, they wait until they have the whole thing down pat, but really it’s a procrastinating thing. Instead of putting their plan into action with what they do know, they think if they study a little bit more in their brochure, a little more in their presentation, they’re just getting ready to get ready. Just know a little bit, just enough to be dangerous, and get out there and put it into action.
Most of the real-life experience comes when you’re in front of live prospect, and then you find out what did work, what didn’t work, and, “Wow that worked great. What did I just say?” Just keep on fine-tuning it, but you can’t learn that just from reading a book. You can’t learn that in the classroom setting. A lot of that has to be when you’re in the “hot seat” talking to somebody.
Tim: Wow, I love that, that “hot seat” concept. A lot of marketing people, a lot of things that are going on right now in the marketing world, if you go to a conference, part of the deal is you get to sit in the “hot seat” in front of people and answer questions. It makes you really grow, and that’s basically what you’re saying for the new agent. Just by being in the arena, they’re going to grow (and at a much faster rate than they would if they were just sitting in the classroom and redesigning a flier that their carrier already provides them basically).
Tim: You’ve seen that. I know you have.
Jonny: Yes. Yeah.
Tim: “Well, I have a marketing degree, and I’m going to make the letter that is going to make me millions.” I’m like, “Oh, really? Your carrier hasn’t figured that out yet. Huh? That’s interesting that you can figure it out, but a company with millions and millions of dollars and a whole marketing department can’t figure out how to make a letter that sells the product, but you can. Okay. Good. Well, let’s see how that goes. Oh, and no, no thank you. I do not want to be part of your mailing and contribute to it. Thanks anyway.”
Jonny: It’s so true.
Tim: Yeah. I’m a big believer that all sales training, all sales systems, they have to be duplicable. If nothing else, You Can Too is very duplicable. It’s something that, like you said, it’s for “dummies.” It’s a little more sophisticated than you’re letting on because there is some great psychology in there, but you don’t have to understand the psychology to use the techniques.
Jonny: Could I expound a little psychology on that first part?
Tim: Yeah. Absolutely.
Jonny: Basically, in sales, if you’re not in front of prospects on a weekly basis, you might as well have a closed sign on your store because no matter how much you’re spending on the Internet and learn, again, unless you have a customer in front of you that you have a chance of closing, you might as well put a closed sign on. You wouldn’t open up a restaurant or a retail store and not open the door. It wouldn’t make sense. Why are you in business? Same thing here. You don’t have to pay for advertising, but you have to get yourself in front of live prospects.
I’m just going to hit on my opening line. Again, that should work on whatever. I’m going to use my Aflac script in a sense, but when I’m meeting people, I’m not trying to oversell it. They have had too many people come across their desk and oversell, everything from concert tickets to posters or food. You name it. All I want to do is meet this person. Really, all you’re doing is getting out to meet a dozen owners, and that can be your entire cold calling for the week.
I’m going to run through my opening line, but then I’m going to talk about the science of two things. I walk into this daycare center, this garage, this restaurant, whatever, and I walk into the business. I say, “Hey, you must be Joe. I haven’t had a chance to meet you yet. I’m Jonny, the Aflac guy. I work for a bunch of your neighbors around here. Unfortunately, I’m on my way to Boston today, but I think I may be back in town Friday. Say, if I happen to stop by and catch you, can you give my five minutes and a brochure? You’ve seen the duck on TV, right?”
Now I leave with the hanging question…You’ve seen the duck on TV, right? Of course, with Aflac, they have to say yes unless they have been living under a rock. They say yes, and I leave. Now I’m not trying to get into a monologue or a dialogue with the person. I just, real quick, introduce myself, and the reason I’m there is, “I haven’t had a chance to meet you yet, and even, right now, I have to go.”
But almost like an afterthought, “I think I’m back in town one more time,” and I just mention a day, a few days from now, and say, “If I happen to stop by and catch you, could you give my five minutes and a brochure. You’ve seen the duck on TV, right?” They say that word yes, and I leave. Now the science or the psychology of this is I was a salesperson, walked in, talked a few seconds, but left, and I “tricked” him to saying one word. Do you know what that word was?
Jonny: Yes. In our sales process, we want yeses, okay? Yeses are powerful, and he doesn’t even know why, but he actually feels a little better than he did before he said that word. I mean, kids, they are born knowing the word no, but the word yes takes practice. They can sit and say, “Yes,” and shake their head, “Yes.” That takes practice, but there is a powerful endorphin in your brain that fires when you have a positive affirmation. You just feel better. You don’t understand why, but you do. When I do my line, he said one word, and I left, and he feels better. He is not sure why.
To make it a little bit more powerful, say I don’t know the guy’s name. I’ll just say, “Hey, I haven’t had a chance to meet you. I’m Jonny, the Aflac guy. I work for a bunch of your neighbors around here. Unfortunately, I’m on my way to Boston today, but I get back in town one more time next Friday. Say, if I happen to stop by, could you give me five minutes and a brochure? You’ve seen the duck on TV, right? Great. You got a card?”
I got my yes. I’m out the door. Halfway through, I turn around one more time and say, “What’s your name?” “Joe.” “Joe, good to meet you,” and now I left. Now that prospect said two words: the word yes and his own name, which is everybody’s favorite subject, and I left. Then I repeated his name, so he actually heard it, and then I left. I just “tricked” this guy into saying yes, his own name; he heard me repeat his name. Then I left.
Now he doesn’t know why, but he really likes me, at least enough so that when I come by next Friday and I lock eyes with him, the last time we exchanged gazes at each other, he felt better, so that memory endorphin fires in his brain, and he’ll give me that five minutes of time. It sounds ultra-simple, but that’s all I’m trying to do is get five minutes. Then if you’re in voluntary, just have claims stories sell the product for you. Make it simple, and get the heck out of there.
Tim: You talk about one product. Are you still kind of endorsing that mindset: get in and just introduce one product the first time?
Jonny: I don’t just endorse one product, but the whole concept of voluntary can be done in literally three minutes with an accident brochure, and I can get six claims stories in there. Now a cancer product is probably even a better product, and I write a ton of that, and I do write a ton of dental, vision, life insurance, a ton of all those, but the accident gets the concept across and makes it very simple for them to comprehend it.
I always leave the green light on so that I can write other things, as well, but I just make it ultra-simple for that business owner to understand how voluntary insurance works. Especially for that new person coming in, if they can learn one bite size at a time, get that down, they can make hundreds of dollars this week with just that accident product. If they have a district manager working with them, we can upsell them, but they can do that, make some real money this first month, and then we can add to their arsenal.
Tim: Oh, man, I couldn’t agree more. It’s so funny. I see so many carriers that their advice (or their manager’s advice, at least), when somebody starts, is for them to go learn all the products and to dig in. What a waste. It doesn’t matter how well you know your product if you’re not in front of a prospect, and so you have to get in there.
Something that I have taught for a long time is, for most business owners, they don’t really even care what the product is. They want to know the concept, like you said. They have to understand that, but they’re not buying the accident plan. They’re not buying the cancer plan. They’re buying the concept and you.
Jonny: Correct. Yes.
Jonny: Finding a need and fill it. That’s it.
Tim: Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely. Before we move away from that, anything else you want to say about the psychology of your system?
Jonny: Sure. One more thing is picture yourself on par with that business owner. You’re not any less than they are. You’re not looking up to them. You are a business owner. Treat it and own it like a business yourself, but put yourself in their shoes also. They can’t just halt operations because this guy walked in. You have to value their time highly, so when I come back and I really do my employer presentation in 5 or 10 minutes at the most, and I’m out of there, when I say that to them, my next step is, “Explain this to your employees just like I did with you,” (a talking duck might be a little more fun).
I say, “Just like I did with you.” If this just took five minutes, he can now picture, “Oh, getting people together for five minutes, I can do that,” not, “Do I have to stop my entire production line or sales force for a whole day for this clown to come in and sell whatever he’s selling?” Just want to make it real simple because access to the worker bees is how we make our money, so just keep it real simple.
Then, again, next step is I’ll even add a suggestion that he has to say yes to. “What is the best time to get most of your employees together for like five minutes, explain how this works, but then get them back to work, and let’s see what kind of response we get? Probably first thing in the morning?” if it’s like a construction or landscaping company, and I know that’s the best time. It’s the only time because every other time of the day, they’re all across the state mowing lawns.
It’s a daycare center. I say, “What is the best time to get most of the teachers together just for like five minutes, explaining how this works, but then send them back to work, see what kind of response we get? Probably around naptime when the babies are sleeping?” Again, that is not only best, probably the only time you want to enroll a daycare.
Once you become a little bit of an industry expert, again, they have to say yes to that question. I didn’t say yes or no. I said, “What’s the best time?” I gave a suggestion. They agreed to that time. I immediately open my datebook. I say, “I’m booked about a week and a half out, but around naptime, I could do the following week, either Wednesday or Friday. Any preference?”
I ask for their pen. “Can I borrow your pen for a second?” That engages them. They always hand me their pen, and I’m hovering over the Wednesday or Friday square for them to pick one. They say, “Fridays, I guess,” as I write “Jonny, daycare,” hand them back the pen. They say, “Thanks a lot. Here’s a card,” and I’m out the door. Again, just making it ultra-simple but assuming the sale every step of the way.
Tim: Well, presuming the sale is critical in our type of sales, but back up for just a second. I have not heard that technique. You ask for their pen. You think that that really makes a difference; it gets them engaged somehow by handing you the pen?
Jonny: I really think it does. It’s just a little trick in one of the 100 books I’ve read about Sales 101, just engaging the prospect. Also kind of a long the same lines, if a prospect every offers me a coffee or a Coke or a water, always say yes. That’s just a little bit of that resistance wall coming down. Even if you hate coffee, take a sip, and let it sit there, but that’s just a gesture of connecting on a little bit more intimate level one step at a time.
Tim: You bet.
Jonny: Then at the end, when you ask for their pen, it’s weird, but you just involve them in the transaction, and they hand the pen to you. You click it, write it down, and hand it back to them. It just involves them in the process.
Tim: That’s really interesting. I read a book on sales a week, and I never heard that before, but I really like it. I could see why that would make a difference. That’s really very interesting. I do get the coffee and the water. I teach agents all the time, “Whatever they offer, you take it.” It’s rude to say no, first of all. Secondly, especially if it’s coffee, friends go out for coffee. That’s what friends do. They go meet each other for coffee, and just the fact that you’re drinking coffee with them makes them a friend. They see you as a friend.
Jonny: That’s true. I like that.
Tim: Great, great tips, man. Those are awesome. I hope the readers really appreciate that. See, that’s worth $35 a month to World Vision right there, I think, so there you go. All right. Well, like I said, I’m a big believer that all the systems have to be duplicable, and I think You Can Too is definitely a duplicable system. Tell me a little bit about your journey since you’ve gone into leadership and teaching these systems, not just about writing about the book and getting nice emails from around the country but in your own team. How is it working with your own team?
Jonny: Yeah, it’s been very interesting, and I think even more rewarding to see one of my own agents be able to duplicate that. I’ll even back up to my first year. I was able to be the number one account opener in the country out of 61,000 agents, really, just out of pure desire and making a simple system up for myself.
After a year, I became a district manager. I started teaching my own agents my system, and it wasn’t just about me anymore. They were able to rewind, play, and do it on their own and get out of the nest fast. I had three of my agents in the top ten around the country in new accounts, as well.
Tim: Three in the top ten, that’s awesome.
Jonny: It wasn’t just me. That’s why I named it You Can Too.
Tim: Yeah, three in the top ten, that’s amazing.
Jonny: So it was duplicable that way. I do travel around the country doing training talks to other state operations, and when people drink the Kool-Aid or just naïve enough to believe that something this simple would work, the results really speak for themselves.
There are still some old-time vets who do their own system. I’m not saying change it if you have the results you want, which is fine, but I love a new, hungry agent who says, “Just show me what to do, and I can do it.” The last thing in the world, if I’m out in the street with somebody, I don’t want that prospect in absolute awe with his mouth open and, after the sales presentation, say, “Wow, you’re amazing.” I want them to say, “I could do that. Now give me a brochure.” “Okay, let me hear it.” I want them to know that within a couple of training sessions they’re armed and dangerous. They can go do it now.
Tim: Well, yeah, in fact, I had the opposite. I had the opposite when I came on. I worked under a district sales coordinator who was fantastic. He became one of my closest friends, and he is still in the business. He does a great, great job, but it was almost intimidating to watch him run an appointment because I’m like, “Oh my gosh, if I have to know that before I can be successful, I have no chance in hell of being successful.” Right?
Jonny: That is right.
Tim: I think that’s important: Not only does it have to be duplicable, but the other person has to believe that they can do it and do it quickly.
Jonny: Absolutely. Absolutely. Immediate results. My fear factor is if I know this new person doesn’t make money in the first couple of weeks, they’re gone. Their wife is going to say or husband is going to say, “Get a real job,” so my responsibility is to help this person pay their mortgage and look them in the eye and say, “Yes, you can pay your bills at Aflac,” or whatever carrier you have.
Again, my first district manager, he really failed me. He really did not do me any favors. I booked a bunch of appointments in my field day at sales school. He didn’t close a single one of them, so out of necessity, I said, “You know what? I think I have this. I’m going to try it,” and I just made it up as I went. That worked. That didn’t work. That worked. That didn’t work. I just made it real simple.
However, that guy, Mike, did me a huge favor. I looked him in the eye, and I said, “Mike, I’m going to do whatever you tell me to. I have to make at least $5,000 a month immediately and within a year be making six figures. I’m going to everything you tell me to. If it doesn’t work, I’m going to come after you and kick your blessed assurance.” I meant it. I said, “I’m going to do whatever you say. It better work.”
He knew I owned a cage fighting school, so I don’t know if he just pulled it out of the air, but he said to me, “Book two appointments a day, and run two appointments a day. That should do it.” I said, “That’s ultra-simple. Thank you very much. I can do that.” Book two, run two; book two, run two. That just became my Mendoza line. You can never do less than that, and I never made less than that. I didn’t have to worry about it.
I just was obsessed with that activity goal, but nobody had to hold me accountable. I had my own bills to pay and hungry mouths to feed at home, but I never ever gave myself an excuse to not book 10 appointments a week or not run 10 appointments a week, so when I became a manager, that became the Mendoza line. You’re a 1099. You work for yourself. You can do this any way you want, but if you want my help, I want you to do three things. One was the goals they had to write down, but one was book 10 appointments a week, and I would hold them accountable.
One of my agents, John, kind of a funny story, he called me. I would randomly call my guys in my district on a Friday afternoon, not every Friday, but they knew if I was calling them about 3:30 on a Friday, it’s because I was asking them that magic question: “Did you book your 10 this week?” I asked John, “Hey, John, this is Jonny just checking in on you,” and he immediately started telling me about an enrollment he had just done, a follow-up he was doing on an appointment I had run with him, and everything else but the question I asked.
I interrupted him. I banged my phone on the dashboard. I was driving. I said, “John, I think have some static or something. I didn’t hear your answer. Did you book 10 this week?” He said, “Well, I booked eight.” I really laid it on. I said, “That sucks. I can’t believe it. It’s 3:30 on a Friday, and you either have to keep working tonight or else go on a Saturday? That’s terrible. I have to go, John,” and I hung up on him.
I wouldn’t do this to a brand-new guy, but he asked me to keep him in check. He asked me to keep him accountable. He called me back about 40 minutes later. He said, “I booked my other two,” and so he had his 10 for the week. Now would I have been doing John a favor if I said, “Well, eight is pretty good, not bad”? That wouldn’t have helped him at all. That would have helped him have an excuse.
I will tell you, the following Monday, he texted me by noon, “Got my 10 for the week.” There’s a book Success Principles that talks about, “Eat that frog, first,” book your activity, first. Now that’s the most important thing. More than anything else is book those 10 appointments a week period, come hell or high water. Nothing else matters.
No matter how good you are at servicing and claims…that’s very important, okay? But if you don’t have cash flow, you’re going to be out of business. You won’t help anybody with a claim, so you need to keep your own household afloat. So book 10, and don’t have any excuses. That’s critical. Then, if you want to give yourself a raise, just change it to book 15. Book 15, run 15.
Tim: That’s right. In fact, I wrote a blog article. I just went and looked at it. It was May 27. I call it “The Secret Magic Bullet of Sales Success” in our industry, and it’s the exact same thing: two a day, two a day, two a day. I don’t care what you have going on, two a day. Not only did I do that, but when I first got into leadership, I had a young man (the story is in the blog; I won’t give away the whole story) who asked me what he could do to be successful. I said, “Two a day.” He took it so seriously that he was obsessed with it, and shockingly, he became successful. Weird.
Jonny: It was that simple.
Tim: It really is.
Jonny: You know what’s ultra-simple is if I told a brand-new agent, “Listen, this is your job. You have to do three things a week. You have to write down your goals for the week, life goals also, but write down your weekly goals. Read a chapter a day in a self-help book, and book 10 appointments a week. That’s all you have to do, and every Friday afternoon I’ll pay you $2,000.” If I did that, they would do that every week.
If I said, “The first week you don’t do it, you’re fired,” that’s all that would matter to them. Read a chapter a day. Write my goals on Monday, and book 10 appointments for the week. That’s it. If I said, “The first Friday you don’t, you’re fired,” they would absolutely do that because you know what, easy or not, that’s pretty simple. If you work for yourself, you can make a lot more than that in the long run if you just make yourself accountable to that. It is, like you said, not easily necessarily but simple.
Tim: Wow. You’ve seen it too. You’ve seen people who gave up on their dream, quit, went back because they needed to get a job, a “real” job. Now they’re working 45-50 hours a week, all sorts of gross hours (maybe even more than 45-50 hours a week). They’re making $50,000 a year, and you’re like, “If you had just worked that hard when you worked for yourself, you would’ve been $150,000 a year.” It’s just insane to me. It’s insane to me.
That’s great. That’s good. I had never met you before. I gave you a call the other day, and I think you and I have a lot of things in common, a lot of thought processes in common. I really appreciate you coming on.
Jonny: I do too. I just saw your article on that one-stroke difference of $720,000. That’s amazing, a whole golf tournament, a one-stroke difference, that young kid who won the second tournament in a row, whatever. That is just one more call. Same thing. Just do one more call, do one more something, and that will just put you over the top.
Tim: It’s so simple. Again, it’s just mind-boggling. I love that, though. You held that guy’s feet to the fire at 3:30: “Man, that sucks. You’re going to either have to keep working tonight, or you’re going to have to work tomorrow, but you have to get your 10. Yeah. I have to go. I have to go. Talk to you Monday.” That’s great. I’m not as hard-core as you are with other people. I might have been tempted to say, “Well, you had a big enrollment, and 8 is pretty good, so try and get 10 next week,” but, no, no, I like the other better.
Jonny: It wasn’t his first or second week in the business, but he asked me to keep him accountable because he was his own worst enemy procrastinating. I just met him wherever he was at, where he needed it because I knew that it wouldn’t help him because he was just procrastinating, waiting until the last minute, to do the most important thing, so do that first. Could I tell you one more thing about the last part I would require my team to do?
Jonny: I mentioned the write your goals; book 10 with your activity. The last thing I would require is read a chapter a day of a self-help book. One interesting thing is if you take the five people who are adults who you associate with the most, not kids, but it could be your spouse. It could be a dart buddy, drinking partner. It could be somebody at work, whatever, a colleague, parent, or friend…
If you take the five people you spend the most time with on a weekly basis, week in, week out, and next to their five names, write down an estimated guess of what they make a year. Some might be unemployed, might be bums. Some might be executives making a $200,000, whatever it is, but if you add up the sum of those 5 people’s income and divide it by 5, the average is almost exactly what you make because you are what you associate with, which is mind blowing. I’ve done this across the country with people, and it’s scary how accurate that can be.
Or I tell people, “What if every morning you had a 20-minute commute with Donald Trump,” even just four days a week or something like that, “would that change you at all?” It absolutely would. You would start to dress a little sharper. You would show up early. You would sit up straight. You would listen to him. If he gave you an idea or some advice, you would absolutely carry it out.
If Warren Buffet called you every night for a 15-minute conference call, you wouldn’t tell the wife, “Oh, tell him I’m playing with the kids. I’ll try to call him later.” No. You would be waiting for that call. You would have had the report ready. You would have answered back to the advice he gave you last call. You would be ready.
If they were one of your five, obviously your ratio would be a lot better. Do you have access to a Donald Trump or a Jack Canfield or a Tony Robbins to be one of your five? The answer, actually, is yes because you might not be on the car with them, but if you read a chapter a day of a book they wrote, they would become one of your five. That alone can explode your thinking, explode your opportunity, and just your whole mindset will absolutely change.
Tim: Well, that’s why I do the podcast, honestly. I know there are a lot of people who have a lot of windshield time. Again, I’m a big reader. I read a book a week, and so it’s something I’ve done for the last almost 20 years. I’ve read a book a week, average. I know some people have excuses, and they can’t figure out a way to do that, but they all ride around in their car, so you can listen to Rush or Sean Hannity. Who’s on the left? I don’t even know. I don’t listen to any of that.
You can listen to talk radio and get all spun up and think the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and I know some people like that. Every time I talk to them, the world is ending because of what they heard on talk radio. You can do that, or you can learn something. Get the audiobook. If you can’t find time to read, put in an audiobook. Just do something while you’re in that car. You have a lot of windshield time in this business, so use it.
Jonny: Well, Tim, I appreciate having this. Your resources is vital to just connect with likeminded people who are overcoming those objections, overcoming the negative, and just not taking no for an answer and striving for their dreams, so I appreciate what you’re doing. This is changing lives.
Tim: Well, I appreciate you saying that. That’s really nice of you, Jonny. So where can people find you? Are you on Twitter? Do you Facebook? LinkedIn? Where is the best place for people to find you to connect with you?
Jonny: Yeah, LinkedIn is probably the best. I have a Facebook, but honestly, it’s mostly my wife pretending she’s me on there. It’s not usually me, but LinkedIn, that actually is me.
Tim: Okay. I have you.
Jonny: If you’re going to give my cell phone out, 603-264-0961. That’s 603-264-0961. I talk to people at every level all across the country. I just love to make a difference in people’s lives and inspire them to accomplish more than they ever thought they would.
Tim: Wow. Well, that’s really generous of you to put that out there, and I know he answers his calls, folks, because I called him at… Well, I won’t tell you when I called because I don’t want them calling you then, but I called you when I thought I would just get your voicemail. You answered and were gracious on the phone and agreed to come on, so I appreciate that. You answered your phone. That’s a sign of a true leader.
One last thing, so how are things going for you now? Now you’re in the regional role, and you have a whole army out there. I’m sure they don’t all follow exactly what you teach because if they did, you would be retired a year ago already. Isn’t that funny? At any rate, it never ceases to amazes me. The people who really, really need the training never show up, and the people who are killing it sit front and center and take notes.
Jonny: That is absolutely the case. You’re right. It’s been fun. I get to affect more lives at the role I’m in now, although, for the most part, I’m one step away from that frontline field. I’m doing both, but I almost didn’t want to become a district manager just because I love being on the frontlines myself and, likewise, going to the next level to be a regional. In a way, I can’t affect as many people personally, although I try like heck, but I have to do it as a leadership role and in training role and in the recruiting role.
Tim: You bet. Well, I’m sure there are a lot of people who are very, very grateful for your leadership and for your training, and I am. Again, I love the book. I’m not kidding. I probably have bought 30 copies of it over the course of the years and given it away and can’t recommend it highly enough. Like I said, there is a link in the show notes where people can just click on it. They don’t even have to search Amazon. Just click there, and they can get right on and get it.
Jonny: Thank you.
Tim: Hey, man, thanks so much for coming on. Oh, one last question, I forgot. I almost went past this. I ask every single guest this question: How do you want to be remembered? You get one chance on this earth, Jonny. How do you want to be remembered?
Jonny: I want to be the person who inspired you. You didn’t leave the conversation the same. I don’t care if you’re standing in front of me in a grocery line. I hope you’re smiling more than you were before I said hi to you. I just want to make the world a better place one life at a time. I want to be that guy.
Tim: I think that’s a great goal. Thanks so much, Jonny. We’ll talk to you soon.
Jonny: All right. God bless. Have a great day.
Remember everything is voluntary, including success. Take it in your hands now. Head over to www.successisvoluntary.com/iTunes, and stay up to date with all the latest tips, news, and techniques in the world of selling voluntary benefits.
Hey, thanks for sticking around until the end of the podcast. I hope you learned at least one or two things from Jonny that you can put into practice this week. Jonny mentioned that he wants to be remembered as someone who inspired people. He certainly has inspired me today. Can I let you in on a little secret? I learn more from these interviews than you do. By the time I post it on the website, I have already listened to it three to four times and have taken a couple of pages of notes. I’m glad you decided to come learn with me today.
I have one quick reminder and one thank you I need to give today before we wrap up. First, the thank you. I want to thank the good folks over at Readitfor.me. As you probably know, Readitfor.me is the official sponsor of the Success is Voluntary podcast. There is a link in the show notes at www.successisvoluntary.com/025, as in episode 25, for a great free 30-day trial for Readitfor.me.
I bought the service, and I believe in it, or I wouldn’t recommend it to you. If you decide after your free trial that you want to continue (and I’m pretty sure you will), Steve has agreed to take an additional 10 percent off their already discounted prices for the Success is Voluntary listeners. You just need to type SIV in the coupon code before you check out. Again, that’s SIV, as in Success is Voluntary, and it needs to be in all capital letters.
Okay, that’s the thank you. Now here’s the reminder: Each week, I’m going to pick a sales team of the week and send them a copy of my e-book. Disturbing Questions has already sold well over 300 copies, and this is your chance to get one for free. To enter this contest, all you have to do is email me a picture of your sales team huddled around a computer screen showing the Success is Voluntary website. Please include a list of who is in the photo, along with their email addresses, so I can send them a link to the book. That’s it. Pretty simple, right?
Again, to enter, just send me a picture of your team with the Success is Voluntary website on the computer screen, a list of who is in the picture, and their email addresses. You and your team might be the winners. My email address, by the way, is email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.
I really appreciate you listening to the podcast and would love it if you would be so kind as to rate the podcast on iTunes. To do that, all you have to do is go to www.successisvoluntary.com/iTunes, and follow the instructions. I promise it will take you less than 30 seconds, and it would be a huge help to me, as it will keep the podcast toward the top of the business charts in iTunes. That really helps new people discover it. I look forward to seeing you back here next week. In the meantime don’t forget that everything you do in this business is voluntary, especially success.