Category: Mindset

Have You Neglected Your Most Important Client?

 

As an insurance speaker and former advisor for Northwestern Mutual, I know the insurance industry fared pretty well in 2020. However, many media outlets viewed life insurance through the lens of “panic buying.”

In a piece by Greg Iacurci for CNBC (October 14, 2020) entitled “Americans are ‘panic buying’ life insurance due to coronavirus pandemic” Iacurci states:

“Insurance sales have been dwindling for years. In 2020, just over half of American adults reported having a life insurance policy, down from 63% a decade earlier…But Google Search traffic for “life insurance” jumped 50% between March and May this year compared with the same period in 2019.”

He cited growth of policy sales for major companies such as Northwestern Mutual by 15 percent, however he also noted 30 percent increases in the online insurance marketplace. The jumps in policy sales were especially strong among younger Americans. Iacurci found that,

“There was a 13% increase in life insurance applications among the under-44 age group in the third quarter versus Q3 2019, compared with a 9% jump for 45- to 59-year-olds and 0.4% in the 60-plus category.”

Where’s My Boomerang?

Close to 60 million Americans have now been vaccinated against COVID-19. While there are still several pockets of non-compliance and irresponsibility, Americans are in general more optimistic. Dominic Mastroangelo writing for The Hill (March 14, 2021) said:

“A CBS News/YouGov poll released this weekend found 64 percent of Americans say they think efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus are going well. Another 74 percent say they are excited about the prospect of businesses opening as more Americans get vaccinated against the virus.”

How then, will Americans respond to optimism in terms of insurance purchases? More importantly, how will you respond?

If the economy is projected to have more of a “V” shaped recovery and, as appears, a more optimistic outlook than at the start of the pandemic, does that mean insurance sales will see a 2021 downturn? Even if we don’t see a dramatic downturn in terms of overall sales, will online sales organizations try to crush the insurance sales rep?

Have You Neglected Your Most Important Client?

As an in-person and virtual insurance speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I have seen the industry go through major swings.

No one in our industry can predict the future but I do know this: in 2021 your most important client is you. Unless you are completely committed to your own success, unless you have the Mindset, Vision and Grit to succeed, no economic recovery pattern will make much of a difference.

As your most important client, you must be on-board with elevating your personal brand. That means a positive mindset. Your positive mindset isn’t about being Pollyanna, for none of us can turn our backs on life’s challenges, but as a successful insurance sales rep, be aware of the trap of negative thinking. How will you, as your most important client, focus on the optimistic and not pessimistic? A negative personal brand is a virus all its own. Have the mindset that no matter what the challenge, you can be determined to overcome it.

What is your most important client’s vision for 2021? Does your client have a personal vision statement and are you ready to act on it? Why is a vision so important in insurance sales? Among many other benefits, a personal vision helps to reduce tentativeness and dread of selling and creates confidence; it reinforces your ethical principles and best of all helps you advance your sales goals.

Finally, your most important client must have grit. Grit is more than determination. It is the daily, hourly, minute-by-minute conviction that you will succeed, out-hustle, out maneuver and win against the competition.

Your most important client deserves the best. Don’t neglect them. He or she will have the best if they convince themselves to be the best no matter what this year will bring.

 

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Insurance Sales Keynote Speaker for your next in-person or virtual event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

2021 Insurance Sales: It’s About the Attitude of the Team

 

As a motivational sales speaker for insurance conferences, I know that as uncertain as 2020 may have been for the entire industry amid unprecedented changes, 2021 will test those in the insurance industry more than ever before.

Insurance industry expert Jean-François Gasc wrote an article on January 6, 2021 detailing the Top 10 most important trends in insurance sales for the coming year. If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, then we must consider 2021 the year of “trust.”

Every Team Must Buy-In

Gasc makes it clear that more than ever, trust is a non-negotiable element in the insurance industry.

“Consumers will not only expect their providers to give them good service and value for money, they’ll also require them to protect their personal information. What’s more, they’ll expect their providers to behave ethically in all facets of their businesses. Insurers that are perceived to have breached the trust of their customers risk substantial reputational damage.”

Building confidence and trust is a team effort and there must be a common mindset to protect the customer. As we have heard time and time again, selling insurance is a team effort. It is not just about someone closing a deal, but having everyone in the organization delivering world class customer service.

The foundation of the client-broker relationship must be a strong sense of ethics coupled with an understanding of the vulnerability of every valued customer. Personal information must be protected as the highest priority.

Does everyone at your agency have a vision of protecting the client?

Why is this mindset so important? Of all of the negative business news that confronted us in 2020, cyber fraud was at an all-time high. Cyber theft occurred in numerous agencies because employees let down their guards. It ranged from team members opening suspicious emails to using unauthorized websites while at work to openly sharing email addresses and sensitive data.

International cyber security expert Evez Hasson wrote (January 26, 2021):

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviors that are likely to have lasting effects… This trend is predicted to grow in 2021. And with many businesses forced to change the way they conduct their sales; the risk of fraud is growing exponentially.”

If we combine the observations of the two experts, we can see two disturbing patterns: cyber crooks are constantly looking for ways to access sensitive files and customers need reassurance that your team is doing everything in its power to protect them.

Are You Determined to Advocate?

Insurance sales comes down to having the daily grit to place the security of the customer above all other considerations. It is a team mindset where everyone shares in that common vision. In 2021, the most successful agencies will have a positive team attitude on behalf of their clients.

Be a part of that mindset. Live that vision, and have the grit to aim for a level of ethics that will make you the industry leader.

Your client needs an advocate. Be that advocate.

 

 

To book Scott Burrows, insurance sales motivational speaker, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Are You Determined to Know the Truth About Insurance Sales?

 

My career as an insurance and financial services keynote speaker wasn’t something, I fell into one fine day. I learned the insurance and financial services industry from the bottom up. Despite personal and physical hardship and sacrifice, I made it into the Million Dollar Round Table in five years.

Keeping Current

It’s important to me that I keep current with the insurance and financial services industry from a motivational speaker point of view and also for my knowledge base. As I am a virtual as well as in-person speaker, I was interested in a link sent to me by an old associated that was entitled The Truth About Being an Insurance Agent. As it was published recently, I wanted to understand the current thinking.

As my passion is motivating insurance and financial services industry sales people to achieve their best, I was interested in the section in the article “Why do insurance agents fail?”

The authors listed several reasons including: unrealistic expectations due to a lack of renewals; a lack of sales mainly due to a lack of industry knowledge and sales savvy; inadequate lead generation; running a business can be overwhelming and focusing on commissions instead of the needs of the customer. While it is impossible to find fault with the points, they seem to fall short of the actual reasons for the failures.

Mindset, Determination and Grit

My philosophy of insurance and financial services sales is based on three underlying principles: mindset, determination and grit.

As to the issue of unrealistic expectations leading to a lack of sales, if this were the case, no one would go into the profession at first, nor would anyone focus on generating leads. Or, for that matter, who would create an insurance and financial services business or want to make a difference in the lives of their clients?

If a new agent has a realistic mindset about what it takes to create a business, if they are determined to go after business and to generate leads, if they have the daily grit to deliver exceptional customer service and to run an outstanding business, they will succeed.

My philosophy is not based on hollow words. When I entered the insurance and financial services business, I was still undergoing physical therapy following a horrific automobile that left me a quadriplegic.  In my recovery, I developed the mindset to see myself heal, the determination to do whatever I could to improve inch by inch, step by step and most important, to have the grit to get better and be better every day.

It’s Not Beyond Your Ability

Never think that success is reserved for other people, it is right there for you. If you are determined to be successful in the insurance and financial services business you can do it. When I was recovering from my accident, I was surrounded by many terrific people who encouraged and pushed my healing. No one pushed me harder than I pushed myself.

However, there was one type of “visitor” I never allowed in my life: negative people. On your road to success, there will be negativity.

The truth is this: you can be successful. Be determined to be successful and have the grit to build something great for yourself. Let no one tell you otherwise.

 

Book Scott Burrows, Insurance and Financial Services Keynote Speaker today, for your next convention or sales meeting, through this website or by calling (520) 548-1169

 

“Dealing with It,” Isn’t a Game Plan

 

In a recent virtual presentation I gave on goal setting and success for 2021, I commented that “Dealing with It” isn’t a game plan. Goal setting and success require determination. Times may be uncertain but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set goals.

Who will win in 2021? The person with vision, mindset and grit.

Build Something Powerful

Business journalist John Boitnott recently wrote an article for Entrepreneur magazine entitled “How to Build Your 2021 Business Strategy in the Face of Uncertainty.” Boitnott listed several focal points to consider that not only apply to entrepreneurs, but to anyone in sales or marketing. The three most important points he raised were:

  1. Focus on what you can do.
  2. Provide valuable resources for customers.
  3. (Anticipate) More certainty than uncertainty.

I would like to briefly discuss the items in view of my philosophy of vision, mindset and grit and how they can turn 2021 into the best year of your life.

Focus on What You Can Do

For most of 2020, the world was in some form of lockdown. Business was tough, lay-offs and bankruptcies were everywhere and pessimism was at an all-time high. Despite the doom and gloom, some people did rise up, in fact whole companies rose up, and had incredible years. I’m not dismissing the challenges certain sectors of the economy faced, yet what was it that enabled some businesses able to fight and survive while others gave up and walked away?

It comes down to vision.

Vision focuses on what we can do, right here and right now. In focusing on what can be done to better a situation, rather than wringing our hands and giving up, is empowering. For me personally, vision saved my life.

After an accident took me from being a Division-I athlete to a quadriplegic, I developed the vision to be as strong and mobile as I could be. I progressed further than anyone (except for myself) could have imagined. View 2021 through the lens of vision. While that might sound like a play on words, giving a strong focus, a lens, to your vision is more powerful than you could ever imagine.

Provide Valuable Resources for Customers

Virtually everyone who works, works for a customer. Think about it. What is your plan to provide the best customer service in 2021 that you can for those customers?

It comes down to mindset.

Your 2021 mindset must be to do everything in your power to deliver a level of customer service that far exceeds any experience your customer has ever seen. Customer service wins and keeps customers. Your goal, your mindset, must be to earn a “Five-Star” rating every day. To whatever level you can be there for customers, be there!

(Anticipate) More certainty than uncertainty.

Is this a mistake? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? No! We have seen the worst of it in 2020. The year threw everything it could at us. There are no surprises now. What will it take to develop a successful 2021 game plan?

It comes down to daily grit.

Vision and mindset are necessary, no doubt about it, but in 2021 it will take grit to make the plan work. Are you willing to fight for every victory, every success, every square inch of success?

Getting up from a hospital bed did not happen all at once for me. It was the daily progress, the struggle and the sweat. Grit isn’t pretty, but it’s the glue that holds the plan together. It is grit that will bring you out into the sunlight.

You will get through this, but just don’t deal with it, rise-up and become the winner that you are.

 

Scott Burrows, Dynamic Goal Setting and Success Motivational Speaker, can be reached through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

The Most Important Member of Your Sales Team? Hint: It Isn’t You.

 

As a virtual sales team motivational speaker, I know how tough its been in what I call “The Time of COVID.” The good news is that for the most part, business has adapted.

McKinsey & Company, the international management consulting firm, has found that during these times, 96 percent of B2B sales teams have shifted to remote selling, and 65 percent of company decision makers feel remote selling is more efficient for them than ever before. In fact, many companies now prefer remote selling rather than in-person sales calls.

Who Thrives, Who Fails?

Whether remote selling will become a way of life, will go away completely after vaccines and such, or somewhere in the middle, those who make the sale must be determined to succeed. Now, more than ever, sales teams must have a unified vision to be successful. As to my question about the most important member of the virtual sales team? It is no one. There is no single person, it is all of you. In these challenging times, sales teams rise or fall together.

How do we rise to the occasion? I have identified at least five key factors:

  • Coordination – Without constant interaction and communication among the entire team, there can be no success. While all of us who grew up in sales are familiar with the old expression of “There is no ‘I’ in team,” during the time of COVID it has never been more important. Each member of the sales team must be determined to reach out and network with one another.
  • Knowledge is Power – The more teams know, and the more they are trained and given the materials to expand their knowledge, the more successful the team will become. Everyone must go the extra mile to help one another, to find information and features valuable to their product or service to help them make the sale. Team members who withhold information can bring down the entire team. Everyone must embrace the vision of working together,
  • What are our objectives? If we can’t get together on a plan and reaching our pre-determined objectives, then we are walking around in the dark. Accountability is a mindset. Everyone on the team must be accountable during tough times. What are your objectives to ensure success?
  • Make the meeting. The virtual sales team is a “we” proposition where we share, strategize and assist one another. Scheduled meetings must be respected. Unless there is a major virtual presentation taking place where a team member cannot appear, there can be no excuse for missing a team meeting. The meeting is where we build each other up, fight for objectives and stick to the plan.
  • Grit. Nothing will happen unless the sales team has the grit to get it done. Grit is not an on-again, off-again proposition. Grit is “the contract” that says we will have good days and bad, but we will push each other and celebrate one another day-in and day out. Grit is a commitment to excellent.

We are the sales team, and the sales team is us. Virtual or in-person, we will succeed if we have the vision, determination and mindset to succeed.

 

Scott Burrows, Virtual Sales Team Motivational Speaker is available for virtual sales meetings  and events for companies and associations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Small Business in America: It’s Gut-Check Time

 

Being a small business resilience speaker and having my own business, I relate on a personal level to one of the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic: how it impacted small business across America.

By May 12, 2020, the Washington Post reported that at least 100,000 small businesses had shut their doors.

A small business doesn’t necessarily mean a “Mom and Pop Stationery Store.” The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as having as many as 1,500 employees and $35 million in sales.

When a small business goes out of business, it is a tragedy. A business isn’t a “thing,” it’s people trying to build something for themselves and their families.

It is Time for Small Business to Go Big

In July 2020, the United States Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey entitled “Small Business Corona Virus Impact Poll.” The poll reported that of the small businesses that survived the first wave, “Two-thirds of small businesses (65%) are concerned about having to close again or stay closed if there is a second wave…”

The survey reminds us that after the initial lockdown occurred, 85 percent of small businesses were forced to temporarily close. They don’t know if they can survive a second onslaught.

However, there is optimism in this bleakness. Businesses are taking action to anticipate the second wave: 32 percent are purchasing extra inventory, 29 percent are updating websites and improving social media profiles, and 25 percent are refining and boosting e-commerce.

While I’m pleased that small businesses are taking steps to look ahead, there is much more that can be done. In an Associated Press release, entitled “Ways Small Businesses Can Fight Back Amidst COVID-19 and the Retail Apocalypse,” Nebraska farmer Steve Buchanan had some interesting insights including the implied need for local businesses to have the determination to reach out to local communities and to make an impact.

There is great wisdom in reaching out locally. In fact, Mr. Buchanan now sells his produce almost exclusively online.

When I speak to small business associations, I encourage each organization to develop a mindset that envisions success. Does your small business have a vision that looks beyond the current challenges to overcome the challenges?

While buying extra inventory, updating websites and boosting e-commerce are necessary, they are passive.

An important part of having the mindset to overcome challenges is to be creative, to be willing to be an active participant in finding new ways to get customers “in the door,” and to share that vision with every member of your organization. This is called resilience.

Whether you have a dog grooming business with three employees or 300 grooming businesses with 500 employees, there must be a shared vision. To be truly resilient means that everyone in the organization must be determined to pull together to encourage opinions and to believe in your mission.

My heart aches for those small businesses barely holding their own, but I would feel even worse if the only thing standing between success and failure of a small business in the coming months was a lack of resilience to meet the challenges.

Let’s all be determined to have the daily grit to make the vision work and the resilience to do what we need to do to get through this time together.

 

Scott Burrows, Small Business Resilience Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

The Biggest Healthcare Challenges Are Found in Us

 

It is impossible to say how many times I’ve delivered keynote speeches on Healthcare Challenges when an audience member might ask, “Scott, have you ever seen a greater healthcare challenge than the one we face?” Invariably, they are referring to a specific disease or a set of government regulations.

While I’m as concerned as anyone else about a disease outbreak or a set of government regulations, those issues are transient and they will get solved. What is often the bane of a healthcare system are those who lack vision, the determination to correct problems and the grit to pull together each day, every day.

A Quick Review of Longstanding Challenges

To illustrate the point above, I will review the major healthcare challenges as outlined by three top-notch organizations. Managed Healthcare Executive magazine lists those challenges as: the need for costs and transparency; improving consumer experience; delivery system transformation; data and analysis; consumer data access; and holistic individual health. Healthcare Success lists the challenges as: changing consumer behaviors; HIPAA marketing limitations; underinvestment in the healthcare market; reviews of doctors from online sources; and the overall product. Finally, Becker’s Hospital Review lists: controlling hospital costs; healthcare regulatory challenges; medical and technological advancement challenges; training and education challenges; and ethical challenges.

When comparisons are made with these and many other sources I gathered, what strikes me are the similarities. In fact, each list of challenges can be easily condensed to five or six common items.

Those with vision should anticipate the need for transparency, changing consumer patterns, and training and education. Those who are determined to overcome healthcare challenges will get ahead of healthcare regulatory challenges, HIPAA marketing limitations, and streamlining data and analysis. Healthcare professionals who develop the grit to overcome what is ahead will confront ethical challenges, improving the overall product and improving customer service.

Nothing that Can’t Be Accomplished

When I was recovering from my terrible accident, relatives, friends, teammates and hospital staff routinely visited or offered care. I was grateful for every one of them. However, I quickly learned that their opinions ranged from “Scott, don’t expect too much” to “Scott, you’ll be playing professional football before you know it.”

I realized that opinions, no matter how well meaning, were external to my situation. It was in rehab where I developed my philosophy of vision, determination and grit. I bring up this point as illustration of the larger healthcare challenges our industry faces.

We can all opine at industry meetings about continuing staff training and educational challenges, or how marketing will be increasingly affected by HIPAA issues. But there must be a plan in place whether a large clinic, pharmaceutical company or major teaching hospital. More specifically, the plan must include a vision as to how the challenges will be met, a determined effort to implement every step to overcome those challenges, and the grit to get it done.

I recovered beyond expectations not because I am special, but because I realized to overcome challenges, we must strive to be exceptional. Healthcare’s biggest challenges are in us, but you would be amazed just how good we can be.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Healthcare Change Management Speaker for your next industry meeting contact us through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169