To sell, you first have to see

By Karlan Tucker

Tucker Advisors

Since I began my career in the insurance business in 1982, I have conducted more than 5,000 interviews. In order to see 5,000 households, I had to have approximately 20,000 leads. Throughout the years, these leads have been generated by seminars, direct mail, newspaper ads, television commercials, radio shows and commercials, referrals from existing clients, Web sites, trade shows and even on airplanes by talking to the stranger next to me with a powerful elevator pitch.

You can have great presentation skills and be a terrific closer, but if you don't have people to see, you aren't going to make any money.

Have you thought about the fact that what you say in the close and in the most compelling parts of your presentation are the very same things you should talk about in your marketing and in conversations with strangers and prospects in order to set the next appointment?

What are the most compelling stories, anecdotes, analogies and illustrations you talk about to get a person to take action in the form of buying from you? When they work on the back end, why should they not also work on the front end?

There are several important factors that have been part of my success over the years. You should implement as many of those as you can. My recommendations to you are:
  • Plan a full year of marketing by January.

  • Stick to the plan, with minor adjustments throughout the year.

  • Choose the deferred compensation option on at least 25 percent of your sales to create future income that ensures you always have money for marketing.

  • Diversify your marketing budget (e.g., 60 percent seminars, 10 percent radio ads, 10 percent radio show, 10 percent direct mail, 10 percent new ideas.)

  • Mine your client files for annual reviews. Encourage your clients to call you with life-changing events like marriages, divorces, inheritances, illnesses, retirement, etc.

  • Mail your clients a quarterly economic update newsletter. If you read as much as I do, you will have no problem finding information your clients need.

  • Ask your clients, "Who do you care about that should also have this critical information so that they can also act in advance of a major event in their life?"

  • Send birthday and Christmas cards to all of your clients.

  • Monthly, I send out a new client testimonial newsletter in a tri-fold glossy cardstock design, containing a very professional interview with one of our new clients. It works very well, as existing clients visualize themselves or a friend in the circumstances referenced in the interview. As a result, we generate additional dollars and new clients monthly.

  • Invite your existing clients to sponsor a table at your next seminar. Tell them that in exchange for a free meal, their job is to bring a couple with them and then to be a positive and inspiring influence at their table as you talk about issues.
Our stories and elevator pitches are critical in motivating our prospects to learn more and to want to refer their friends and family to us. You should ask them, "Who can you rely upon to make certain your retirement and life are lived out as you wish?"

Can you rely upon the government? The U.S. is $12 trillion in debt, which over the next 10 years is estimated to grow to $22 trillion. The government is projected to annually spend $1 trillion more than we take in. Taxes are going to go through the roof. They, however, won't be enough. We have to make up the greater difference by selling bonds to the rest of the world. By one estimate, in about 10 years, the free people of the world would have to take all their savings and buy U.S. treasury bonds to satisfy our government's thirst for spending. That's not going to happen. The government will be forced to reduce benefits across the board. They have no money.

Can you rely upon your pension? Many pensions are underfunded and that's if you're lucky enough to have one. Most retire with a 401(k) that has to be turned into income to allow retirement to begin and to stay retired.

Can you rely upon your job? The January 18, 2010 BusinessWeek magazine cover states "The Permanent Temporary Workforce." Working for many years for one employer is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Can you rely upon the stock market? Warren Buffett and Bill Gross believe that at best, the stock market will be capable of 5 percent to 6 percent returns for the next decade. To net 5 percent to 6 percent, you are likely going to have to endure great volatility and, of course, risk all that you put there.

Can you rely upon your bank? Well, you can get 1 percent to 2 percent on your CDs today. Inflation will stay low for as long as banks are fearful to lend. For inflation to result in higher yields at the bank, two things need to happen: The government has to print money (which they are doing) and then it has to be circulated (which the banks are not doing.) Until then, according to the Rule of 72, it will take a person 36 years to double their money with their life savings sitting in a bank earning 2 percent.

Can you rely upon your insurance company? AIG failed and yet the government bailed them out. To my knowledge, no policyholders are in jeopardy or have lost any funds. Choosing a well-managed insurance company that might be considered (should they ever need it) to receive help from the government, is a pretty strong place to put your money.

Inside some of the strongest insurance companies, you can purchase annuities that will guarantee 8 percent compounded growth if you access the account in the form of future income. What is it we all need to be able to retire and stay retired? Income, my friend. You can't get guaranteed income with this kind of guaranteed growth from Wall Street, banks or the government. Eight percent with a 10 percent first-year bonus doubles in eight years. That sure beats waiting 36 years for your money at the bank to double or Wall Street's volatility and a 5 percent to 6 percent return, which would take up to 14 years to double your money.

Plan your work. Work your plan. See lots of people. Tell a very compelling story that motivates your prospects to take action now, and enjoy all the sales you will make in 2010.