Decide today to make 2010 your best year ever

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop


Here are nine common sense ideas that will help you to substantially grow your sales and profits in 2010 and beyond.

1. Don't wait for things to get better -- make them better! Do you know what most small businesses do when times are bad? They hunker down and hope things will just get better. Even when the economy was thriving and banks were practically throwing money at people and businesses, there were companies going broke everyday because they just carried on doing what didn't work and hoping that things would magically get better.

Things didn't magically get better back then and they certainly won't today, in one of the worst economic periods in living memory.

Many of the agents, advisors and planners we work with have just finished their best year ever. They have achieved this through combining great products with highly effective marketing, and being focused on really helping people.

Don't wait for things to just get better in 2010. Make them better!

2. Stop wasting time. Remember, time is money, so stop wasting it. Start managing your time more effectively. Don't waste major time doing minor things. Delegate whenever possible.

Maintain a to-do list. Write down everything you need to accomplish in any given day. Then, write a second list with things that need to be done this week. You can simply list everything or you can organize your list in order of importance, with "must-do" items at the top. Once you see what needs to be done on paper, it's actually easier to keep your mind on track.

Make it a habit throughout the day to ask, "Is this the best use of my time, right now?" If the answer is "no," go and do whatever it is that you have been avoiding.

3. Build positive relationships. Look at your relationships and see if you are associating with the right people for what you need and want to achieve. Associating with negative people causes good salespeople to make bad decisions. That's because the people with whom we associate have an impact on how we think.

Seek out a mentor. Start listening to the people that have already done whatever it is you want to achieve. Let these people be the ones that influence your thinking. Learn from them.

Assemble a support team behind you that encourages you and helps keep you accountable. Surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you, and celebrate your success, will keep you motivated and will increase the chances of reaching your goal.

4. Spend less time staring at your TV. If you watch TV in the evenings, try spending less time in front of the TV screen and use that TV time to sharpen your skills. Just one hour less TV time each weeknight will give you 20 hours of study time each month.

If you want to achieve more sales in 2010, take the time to learn how to better market and sell your services.

5. Set some business goals. It's not enough to simply state on a piece of paper that you want to increase sales by X percent; you need to make a plan for how this will happen.

First, you need to define a specific set of goals that you want to achieve, as well as the time frame you want to achieve them in. Without specifically knowing what you want and when you want it, you run the risk of getting distracted and not realizing your goal. Set yourself some tangible, measurable, time-specific marketing, sales, and income goals. Then write up a plan on how to achieve them.

There are thousands of places on the Internet that will explain the simple process of goal setting. Just remember to keep it simple, and then back the goals up with action.

6. Sharpen your image. Agents who look like all the other agents are like all the other agents. This is how your customers think. Your task is to find distinctions that make a difference to your customers, and to stress these in everything you do.

Specialization casts an aura of superiority and exclusivity. When you deal with a specialist, you will automatically assume that this person has greater expertise, has greater knowledge about the field, and offers greater service. By catering to a unique market, it implies that he or she will have a better understanding of your situation, needs, and concerns.

7. Develop your own unique message. In business, it's great to learn from others, but it's really important to develop your own, unique message. This means having the courage to say what you mean and mean what you say.

Remember, all of your prospects want to know what benefits they'll gain from doing business with you. "What's in it for me?" So, unless you can answer this question to their satisfaction, you have no chance of getting them to meet with you, let alone buy from you.

8. Measure it so you can manage it. Effective marketing comes from the process of testing and measuring. It's impossible to know if your marketing is on track or not, unless you are able to accurately measure the feedback it generates.

What are your customers actually worth to your business? Yes, every person is priceless, but in commercial terms, you need to know what your business networks are actually generating for you and your business.

So, start measuring what all your marketing is costing you (in both time and money) and what it's generating for you in tangible, bankable results. Either learn how to fix what isn't working, or replace it with something that does work.

9. Decide to make a difference. Decide what bothers you, what keeps you awake at night and then see what you can do to make a difference in that area.

Anyone can make a difference in the world by reaching out and caring about others. There are dozens of ways you can make the world a better place, one step at a time. Help clean up a park; donate school supplies to a needy school; get involved in an organization that's making a difference in your community; refuse to give up; and much more.

Dare to set an example that others can follow. Dare to be great. Dare to set goals that only you can achieve. Remember: People do business with and recommend people that they know and trust.

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