How to bust a slump

By Jim Ruta | June 18 2013 08:57PM

What can I do to get out of this production slump I’ve been in for six months?Anyone can get into a slump. Anyone can get out. But, waiting it out doesn’t work. You have to do something. It’s the key to busting a slump. It’s the key to preventing one too. In my consulting, I’ve discovered that some business systems are more prone to slumps than others. Here are three. Fix them and you prevent most slumps:

A poorly defined business, usually vague generalists with over-sized markets, is slump prone. They lack a firm purpose, demonstrate little passion and experience little buying urgency from prospects. They focus on selling not helping. It’s the wrong perspective for consistent performance. Instead, clearly define your business. Simplify your service. Target a specific audience. Clarity attracts results. The more you help the more you sell consistently. A “Firm Purpose” is expressed as passion that creates urgency for your clients to help themselves. Sales result.

No set sales process. Some advisors improvise too much. They defend it as “personalized service”, but it isn’t. It makes you an accidental advisor. Consistency requires a methodical system. Practice until you can’t get it wrong. “Prepare a polished, professional, practiced process and presentation to persuade proper prospects to purchase products promptly.”

Too many products and services. Paradoxically, the more you have to sell, the less you will sell regularly. Keep your business simple. The narrower your focus the broader your potential. There are no one-person supermarkets.

Need a quick fix? Here are three easy “Slump Busters”:

Make a physical change for the boost you need. When you change the things you look at, the way you look at things changes. Rearrange your office furniture. Change what you have on the walls. Change your appearance in some way. Maybe change your hairstyle, “uniform” or your “look”? When you look around the room or look into a mirror and you see something different, you think and act differently too. It’s almost like magic.

Stop selling and start marketing. If you only pursue selling interviews, you appear desperate. That repels results. Instead, drop off your promotional information to your target community. Don’t worry about sales. Work on making contacts. Sales will follow.

Get a mentor or be one. If you want help with your business, talk to an advisor who dramatically out-produces you. Top advisors are more likely to be encouraging than peers who might even take secret pleasure in your misfortune. Find a mentor. Be careful with their time and they will help. The opposite of finding a mentor is being one. Nothing will get you doing what needs to be done in the right way than “showing off” to a protégé. Helping them will always help you.

You are much more than the sum total of your performance during your slump. A slump is just when you start to believe your doubts and act that way. Forget them. Believe in yourself and your value to your marketplace and you can be on the way back today.
Is there any way to minimize my client service obligations? It’s killing my business.

I know what you’re saying. Updating clients, auditing portfolios and analyzing their policies can really get in the way of selling. There’s only one problem with thinking that way. It’s a mistake.

Your best clients are your competitors’ best prospects. That means that unless you update, audit and analyze them, someone else will. Then you’ll be out of luck. The one who connects the best wins the business.

Sizzling service is a savvy sales strategy, if you do it. If you don’t do it at all, it’s a recipe for business disaster. Servicing your business regularly won’t guarantee you more business. However, not servicing it will guarantee you lose more than your share.

I was told that sales and service were incompatible. You were doing one or the other. But, that’s just wrong. There are several ways that service can be used as a sales strategy.

First, knowing that it takes the average advisor several years to get around to an “annual” review, you can easily use it as a sales approach. “Has anyone reviewed your life insurance portfolio lately?” It’s a simple question.

Because of all the industry and life changes possible in ten years, you’ll always have something to talk about in a review. They can uncover untold needs and portfolio improvement possibilities. Email me for some information about what it takes to do a good review.

Of course, regular reviews are the very essence of “mining” your block of business. By checking for changes in clients’ lives and matching them with new products, you develop better clients and more business. By comparing their existing business with products currently available, you can easily see where improvements can be made to benefit both of you. Sales opportunities for you are portfolio improvement opportunities for clients and prospects.

By examining existing policies for potential problems like the loss of valuable benefits, loss of insurability, impending rate increases, insufficient funding, inaccurate contract information, poor underwriting, incomplete or incorrect beneficiary designations and out of control loans, you can provide real value to prospects and clients alike. It’s mining when you sell to a client. It’s new business when you sell to a prospect. Sound too tough? There’s an app for that now too (Ask me).

Sure, there may have been a time when you could sell a life insurance product and leave it alone forever without servicing it. And, there may have even been people who followed the game plan closely and never needed much help with their portfolio either – but I doubt it.

Regular, quality and caring service is the way to build loyalty, persistency, referrals and more business. It’s not something to minimize. It’s to be maximized. In today’s business, especially because so little of it is done anymore, servicing your best clients and those of your top competitors is a smart way to build your business. It helps you stand out in the market and improve your and the insurance industry’s reputation. All of this from the lowly service approach.