In this column from Insurance Journal’s archives, Jim Ruta explains how to approach prospects in a way that makes them want to listen.

Question: I always get flustered when someone asks me what I do. What’s a good approach to use so I feel confident and people want to listen? 

You’re not alone. This should be the easiest question in the book for a salesperson – but it usually isn’t. In fact, most advisors freeze up or start stuttering when asked simply, “What do you do?” They panic at the very thought. Usually, they mumble something under their breath with little confidence. It’s not pretty.

Often, more questions than answers come to mind. “Do I lay it out straight? Do I tell it like it is? Do I say something cute? Should I be clever? How clever? What’s the best thing to say?” It’s panic, and confusion rolled into one. 

All this thinking takes time though and the longer it takes to get something out, the less compelling is your answer. When we fail, we miss a golden opportunity to express our passion. We only get one chance to make a first impression and we lost it.

There is an approach anyone can use, that is at the same time, clever, accurate and compelling. It demonstrates passion and caring. It identifies you as the person to talk to about your business. It’s also simple and works for anyone with any business. I’m using it now in my business. You can too.

Here it is: When someone asks, “What do you do?” say: “I love helping people. I love helping people change from the Common to the Uncommon – from the common people who don’t have their financial security in good order and lack the peace of mind they deserve to the uncommon people who do and sleep better at night.”

I love that idea – from the Common to the Uncommon. You can change what the common people have and how they change to uncommon as a result of your work, to suit your service and business.

It could be that the Common is having no financial roadmap for personal or business success and the Uncommon are those who have their security destination all mapped out and are right on track.

If you are in the investment business, the Common may be having no wealth accumulation or retirement income strategy and an uncertain financial future and the Uncommon are those with a proper investment plan that’s taking them to their target and increasing their peace of mind.

Maybe you’re a financial services recruiter and you change people from the Common who don’t like their work and are limited in their financial potential to the Uncommon who love what they are doing and for whom the future is bright? You can think of many others.

Another version is: “I love helping people. I love helping millennials move from the Majority to the Minority. From the majority who haven’t started to take advantage of investing at an early age and miss out on the greatest power in finance – compounding to the minority who are leveraging their age and know they are going to come out ahead.” From the Majority to the Minority… it’s a great image for a prospect to consider. They get to be part of the elite. 

It’s the best answer I know. 

This column by renowned advisor coach Jim Ruta was first published in the November/December 2018 edition of Insurance Journal magazine.

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Jim Ruta’s mission is simple – to preserve, promote and propel the financial advisor business. A former insurance advisor and executive manager of a 250-advisor agency, Jim is a highly regarded coach, author, podcaster and keynote speaker. He has spoken 4 times at the MDRT Annual Meeting including the Main Platform. Jim Ruta is an Executive Coach and Keynote speaker specializing in life insurance advisors and leaders. He works with top advisors around the world and re-energizes audiences with his deep insight and passion. 

If you have a question for Jim, you may send an email to [email protected]