Category: Sales

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

 

Be Determined to Be the Difference in Real Estate Sales

 

As a virtual motivational speaker for those in real estate sales, I know that “the numbers” don’t tell the story. In 2019, about 6 million new and existing homes were sold and there were about 1.4 million realtors. Sounds easy, right? Hardly.

Along came February 2020 and COVID-19. A tough profession got tougher.

In the best of times, turnover is huge. Almost 75 percent of new agents fail in the first year, and nearly 9-out-of-10 fail after five years. In this time of pandemic, everything has become harder, from the first showing to the final handshake (complete with masks and hand sanitizer). Without determination, you can become a statistic.

Now for the Good News

Due to the pandemic, in many markets the demand for housing is exceeding the supply. Interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, and home prices, which dipped at the front-end of the pandemic, have recovered and are approaching pre-pandemic levels.

It may be tougher to sell a home right now, but those professional realtors who have a positive mindset, the determination to succeed, and the daily grit to be successful can be successful.

In terms of positive mindset, every realtor must re-dedicate themselves to education by being more knowledgeable than the competition. You must be an expert on your market through research and understanding the market forces. In these times, you must become an expert in every aspect of virtual sales. “Not knowing” the new tools of communication such as video-conferencing platforms will immediately work against you.

The determination to succeed means offering your clients the best customer service they have experienced in any sales setting. Whether you are asked for a recommendation on a low-cost trash hauler to someone who can restore antique Victorian wainscoting, the more you can convey your command of the business the better (even if the question is outside the normal).

It comes down to being a professional. Are you determined to being in the professional elite?

Having the daily grit to overcome the challenges and to make a human impact in the life of every one of your valued clients will set you apart. We all know there will be good days and bad; things will fall through, and the unexpected may happen. Those without grit may fall apart. Those professional realtors with grit will fight their way through any adversity.

Something to Keep in Mind

Professional realtors have been around since 1900. Realtors have sold through wartimes, peacetime, recessions, inflation, The Great Depression, pandemics, and in the aftermath of floods and fire.

Professional realtors have enjoyed success despite hardship. They have done so by having the mindset, determination, grit and absolute dedication to ethics and personal integrity. They are dedicated team members and unselfish in their roles. You can succeed if you are determined to be the difference and rise up to make the difference.

 

Scott Burrows, Real Estate Sales Virtual Motivational Speaker is booking appointments for virtual sales meetings and events. Contact Scott today through this website today or call: (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

 

Medical Device Sales Customers Need You, Are You Determined toSee’ Them?

 

How is your Medical Device Sales team managing change in these times of COVID-19? Are you succeeding or have you given up? Your customers need you more than ever, are you determined to see them? Or have you written them off?

“But I can’t ‘see’ them Scott, everything has changed.”

Have things really changed, or has your selling mindset changed? It is serious question every pharmaceutical salesperson can only answer for one person: themselves.

Change Does Not Mean Defeat

We are living in a time of change and upheaval. But as a pharmaceutical sales professional, you need to harness the negatives into positives. There is no choice. Do you have vision to see yourself succeed? If not, then why not?

Not long ago, inc. magazine published an insightful article entitled: “7 Reasons Sales Pros Fail.” You might be surprised at the observations; they aren’t reasons wrapped in technical jargon or mystery. The author found that failing sales people have no sense of urgency; they possess a negative attitude; have a poor work ethic and most disturbing, they don’t believe in themselves.

The pandemic, being forced to sell remotely or socially-distanced, is not the first-time Medical Device sales teams have faced adversity. The industry has succeeded during The Great Depression, worldwide conflicts, recessions, inflation, mergers, acquisitions, new technologies, natural disasters, man-made disasters and other tragedies.

If sales teams are fearful of their abilities, lack confidence, are disorganized or have negative attitudes, why would a purchasing agent, administrator, healthcare professional or office manager have confidence in the product or those behind it?

Change is hard and times are tough, but they are even tougher on your customers. They need you. Have that sense of urgency and all of the customer service that goes with it; out-hustle the competition; make a positive work ethic your daily mission; and believe in yourself.

Congratulate Yourself

No matter how defeated you may feel at the moment, congratulate yourself. Failure is a part of making progress. Failure means you haven’t given up.

Before my accident, I was a competitive martial artist and Division-I football player. I measured my progress not by wins and losses (that was later) but how my conditioning, speed, strength, reflexes and mental toughness were improving.

I did not win in the ring or will myself out of a hospital bed because I am super-human, but I had a vision of getting better every day, and I had the determination to succeed and the daily grit to see it through.

In this time of COVID-19, your customers need all of the support they can get. Go the extra mile to give them information beyond what they can read online. Be creative in how you reach out and meet their needs. They need you. Be there for them.

Engage your customers with all of the technology at your disposal and keep in mind that out-hustling the competition will pay dividends.

Change brings good times and bad to the Medical Device industry. The most successful salespeople are change-proof. And remember that with hard work, whatever you lack, you can gain.

 

 

To book Scott Burrows, International Medical Device Sales Speaker on Managing Change, for a virtual or in-person sales meeting, contact us 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

 

Insurance Industry Change: Virtually as Hard as You Make It

 

As a motivational insurance sales speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I know that selling insurance is easily one of the world’s most intensive, public facing sales jobs. Though products vary from company to company, the most important product you can offer is you.

Then we come to the pandemic. Suddenly, your firm handshake, your trusty, effervescent smile and the friendly banter gave way to videoconferencing, email and a phone call or two. Who had time to prepare for COVID-19? No one. The screeching halt from face-to-face to virtual sales was calamitous. Some insurance industry sales reps determined to keep fighting; unfortunately, many left.

In an industry where new hire turnover rates are 30 percent after three months, once April 2020 hit, thousands of insurance sales reps joined the millions of sales reps in other fields who quit or walked away because selling was “too tough.”

What’s the Difference?

The online resource Business Process Incubator recently completed (as of July 9, 2020) an insurance industry sales survey entitled: How Difficult It Is For Insurance Companies To Go To Remote Working? The results are eye-opening but not unexpected. Let me summarize several of the challenges.

The survey found that it is hard for insurance sales reps to initially explain what was happening, but those who succeeded in overcoming the confusion during the earliest stages had more robust referral networks.

The survey found it is more difficult to sell an “intangible product” remotely. Customers and sales reps can’t share emotions. It is difficult to break through barriers. This is where a sales rep must focus on selling themselves, outworking the competition, and making a difference.

Managing data security is also seen as a big challenge. Insurance providers and their agencies must bolster security and hire more people to ensure confidentiality and protect extremely important customer information. To that end, sales reps must convey trust and instill confidence.

Working remotely is not easy for the sales rep or customer, however, sales reps can convey the convenience and the lessened stress in buying insurance online. In other words, a negative can be turned into a positive.

While some are challenged, others aren’t. According to the survey, the keys are flexibility and technical expertise. Sales reps must either embrace the challenges or get lost in the confusion.

So, what is the Difference?

It can be argued, of course, that the insurance industry and its sales reps live in challenging times, and that the changes faced everyday are enormous. But hasn’t it always been this way?

In what era has selling insurance been stress-free? In what year have so many customers flocked to us that we didn’t have to work? Truth is, there are insurance sales reps who have a winning mindset, and some who don’t.

The insurance industry has always relied on people with vision who have the determination to succeed. If we look at the points raised in the survey, it’s clear that each challenge in the present-day world of virtual insurance sales can be overcome.

The science community has shown tremendous determination and grit to arrive at several promising vaccine candidates. The challenges against them were many. Yet, they persisted and they are close to winning.

Your mission as insurance sales reps is to be inspired to rise up in a similar manner. The difference is you. Stand up to the challenges – and win!

 

Scott Burrows, Motivational Insurance Industry Sales Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169.

“Looking Around” is Not the Same Thing as Having Vision

 

In my role as a keynote speaker on pharmaceutical sales and change management, I am often surprised by the answers I receive when I ask a group of sales reps, “What is your vision?”  The answer I most frequently hear is “I am looking for any opportunity I can grab.” It’s the wrong answer. In fact, given the current changes in the pharmaceutical industry, to not understand vision is disastrous.

Sales expert David Jacoby writing for The Sales Readiness Blog states:

“A sales vision must also be challenging, something that is above and beyond the normal expectations. It should also be attainable, that is, realistic enough to be achievable if you and your team stretch a bit. Your sales vision should also specify some positive change that you are committed to realize through concerted effort with your sales team…”

Jacoby is correct. We can all “look around for opportunities,” but pharmaceutical sales teams must develop a set of specific, achievable goals. It takes a razor-sharp vision, with the entire team devoted to success.

The Harvard Business Review, in an article entitled “Ineffective Sales Leaders Can Cause Lasting Damage,” vision is seen as an important aspect of success, especially when there is a change in leadership or sales structure.

HBR said it is important for sales teams to: “Create a fresh vision, reflecting a culture in which salespeople trusted their leaders and in which all salespeople were held accountable for results, and to Communicate the vision using every opportunity, including sales meetings, videoconferences, and the company’s intranet.”

Let’s Get Personal

When it comes to pharmaceutical sales, especially in these times of rapid industry change, it is important to realize that the team is us. It is up to each sales rep to have the determination to be successful and the mindset to carry it out. Vision is more important than ever. Do you have a personal vision statement?

The job seekers website Indeed.com had some important things to say about the importance of writing a personal vision statement (October 7, 2019). In an industry going through regulatory changes, mergers, acquisitions and increased scrutiny, to not write a personal vision statement is foolhardy.

To quote from the Indeed.com article:

“Review it [your personal vision statement] every day. Write your statement on an index card, and keep it in a prominent place you can see it often. If you work in an office, it could be on your desk. Alternatively, you may choose to display the card somewhere at home so you see it when you get up in the morning or do work tasks from home…Choose your next step based on what role gets you closer to your goal…”

The vision statement may change but what doesn’t change is the constancy of having one. If you have the grit to stick to your vision and embrace a set of success goals, no matter how challenging the times, you are well ahead of those who are “just looking around.”

 

 

Hire Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Speaker for your next industry meeting. Connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

Customer Service Opportunities Win Customers for Life

 

As a motivational customer service speaker, I’ve based keynote speeches on important lessons I first learned in the insurance and financial services industry, and later as a co-owner of an international export company. Customer service means we must always be prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty.

When I was in export sales, my company sold a container-load of a custom-blended fertilizer to a client in Singapore. When the product arrived, it was as hard as concrete, unusable. To save the relationship, we modified the product and shipped them another container load. No one expected us to do it. We lost money at first, but we impressed the client and kept what turned out to be a long-term client relationship.

When it comes to separating yourself from the competition, you must have the vision to see yourself delivering quality customer service and the grit to discipline yourself to customer service excellence.

An Amazing Experience in Dallas

Opportunities to deliver excellent customer service are everywhere. My next keynote speaking engagement may include the following true story.

Not long ago, I was honored to speak at two events at the Grand Old Opry Convention Center in Nashville. Following the second talk, my voice started to crack and it felt as though I was coming down with a chest cold. For a keynote speaker, losing your voice is catastrophic!

I had to catch a plane to Dallas that afternoon to speak at a huge conference the next day. By the time I exited the airport my voice was completely gone (“Oh, great, I’m going to stand-up 1,000 people!”). I used the ride-sharing app and the driver quickly picked me up. I wrote on my iPhone:

“Help! I lost my voice. Can you please take me to an urgent care center near my hotel?”

The hotel was about 30 miles away. It was just the start of an amazing adventure.

As he’s driving, he asked if I was sick. I nodded my head.

“Please sir, let me take care of you. I know what it feels like to get sick in a town where you don’t know anyone.”

He turned off the ride sharing system, so he went “off the grid,” so to speak. He found an urgent care center, then parked, and waited for me. I was diagnosed with a respiratory disorder and given a prescription. He then drove me another five miles to a pharmacy that had groceries. He asked me what I needed in addition to the medicine, then he went around the store and got me snacks plus salt for gargling, honey and tea.

He drove me to my hotel, parked the car, and helped me check in. He took me up to my room and carried my bags. On my iPhone I wrote, “From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you, for your kindness.”

I carry a $100 bill in my pocket for emergencies. He refused to take it!  I whispered, “I know you did this out of the courtesy of your heart, but I’m in a position to pay. I want to respect you for your time. Please don’t be insult me by refusing. I would feel terrible.”

He finally took it and gave me his personal number. He said if I needed any assistance whatsoever while I was there to please let him know.

He was originally not from this country. He wasn’t rich, but he was determined to give me what he had to give: himself. It is the essence of customer service. We don’t give customers our company mottos, or promotional pens, we give them ourselves.

I will never forget how he made me feel. You’d better believe that if I am ever in a position to help him, I will.

He sold me on himself.

 

Book Scott Burrows, Motivational Customer Service Speaker through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

Are Meeting Planners Determined to Overcome a “Rosy” Outlook?

 

As a motivational speaker on overcoming challenges, it may be counter-intuitive for me to ask clients in the meeting planning industry if they are determined to ‘overcome’ the rosy market outlook for 2020.

Yes, but…

Most industry surveys for 2020 seem to be optimistic enough. The consensus is that attendance at industry meetings will modestly increase on a global level anywhere from 1- percent to 3-percent; that meetings should be longer and that hoteliers are projecting a resurgence in building. However, we all understand that wearing rose-colored glasses is not always a good business strategy.

Despite its general optimism, the “2020 Amex Global Meetings and Events Forecasts” does project a decrease in internal meetings; that the political outlook can’t be ignored; that meeting budget increases will match escalating costs. Of the many concerns in the forecast is that “meeting planners will continue to be required to do more with less.”

Business Travel News in their September 2019 piece “Meeting Professionals Anticipate Growth for 2020” looked beyond the good news.

The good news is that “planners expect to see room availability increase by 0.8 to 1.4 percent and available meeting space to increase by 0.8 to 1.9 percent.”

However, we all know that while planners highly favor “top-tier” meeting locations, space has not kept up with demand. The article re-quoted a highly placed meeting planner who said, “they’ve been moving to second-tier cities, which are more affordable but also may add to travel time for meeting attendees.” Traveling as much as I do, I am also aware that while meeting space in second-tier cities may be more affordable, transportation and frequency of flights may not follow suit.

Echoing the point above, business writer Chris Ryall in an article for Skift Asia Weekly entitled “Meeting Planners Anticipate Rough Year in 2020,” stated:

“Planners will be pressed to find good deals for their clients at a time when venue availability is limited. Looking ahead, all of these issues will become even more pronounced in an election year amid an uncertain global economy.”

It is a Matter of Vision

It is one thing to paint a glowing picture of what the meeting industry should look like, and another to turn the picture into reality. Every meeting planner understands this.

After the terrible accident that suddenly changed me from an athlete and martial artist to a quadriplegic, there were wonderful family members and many close friends who stopped by my room to wish me well.

Without exception, they offered rosy guesses when I’d be on my feet, or how everything would return to normal, or how good I looked. That was their vision for me, but it was a much more difficult road for me to visualize myself moving my arms, writing a note or moving my legs. I realized I would need to develop the determination and the daily grit to push myself as hard as I could to be successful.

In 2020, expect big challenges for the meeting industry, but with vision, determination and grit you will achieve success. While the outlook may seem terrific, get rid of the rosy glasses. It is up to you to make it happen.

 

To speak with Scott Burrows, Inspirational Speaker about Overcoming Challenges for your next meeting, connect with his office today by calling: (520) 548-1169 or through this website.