Track your performance and transform your production

By Jim Ruta | September 23 2015 08:45AM
What’s the simplest thing I can do to improve my results?

Fortunately, the best performance advice is often the simplest. Not always easy to follow, mind you, but simple. I was speaking with one of my coaching clients recently and he updated me on some advice I had given him last year. He was surprised at the impact it had on his results, because it was so simple. Like many advisors, I suspect he thought that big results only came from big effort. 

I had told him how surprised I was that many advisors had no idea how much business they were doing during the year. They didn’t know how many cases they wrote or issued. They didn’t know how much compensation they earned. They didn’t know how much of one type of business or the other. They produced in the dark. Apparently, so long as there was money left at the end of the month, they were satisfied. 

Some of these advisors did well and some did not. The common thread was that they all could do better and they knew it. It was annoying and motivating at the same time. If there were only a way to make something happen. There is a way.  It helped him and I suspect it can help you too. 

The advice? Just track your performance as you achieve it if you want it to improve. Track and transform. 

You may have heard the advice, “Whatever is measured, improves”. It’s true. When you measure, results improve. It’s a fundamental law for performance-based personalities. It’s not good enough to think high performance thoughts or to just believe you can do better. That’s helpful, but nowhere near sufficient to get the results to which you aspire. Track and transform. 

In my client’s case, even though he earns a serious six figure annual income, he seriously wanted to increase his compensation. So, starting earlier this year, he simply wrote down each case and commission in a column in the back of his diary as he wrote them. Nothing more formal than that. He kept a running total. Yes, he is still handwriting on good old paper. “Dinosaur stuff” he calls it. I like it and I know it works. 

Now, he knows too. He told me that he has increased his income this year substantially already and the only thing he is doing differently is measuring and monitoring the key result he wants to improve.  

This is so simple, many of you won’t try it.  But it can improve any result you want from your weight to your commissions. You can apply this to almost any performance result. Want more prospects? Write down each name on a numbered list in a “performance notebook”. (I like Moleskin Notebooks available at quality stationery stores because they are easy to use and last well.) Want to do more life insurance cases? Write down the name of each new life sale in your performance notebook and keep a running total. Want to make more sales calls?  Keep track and transform your production. Start today.


I want to improve my results but I don’t have the time for personal development, training, coaching or seminars. What can I do?

If you are so busy that you have no time to get better, you will surely get worse. That means your clients will get worse advice. It also means the industry will get a poorer reputation. This is very unfortunate for advisors, consumers and the industry in general. 

The answer is to take back control of your time and your business. You can do two specific things to make that happen. 

First, if you are too busy to get better, you are definitely doing too much. This usually happens when we have a general business and try to do everything. This general strategy can work for a while but, eventually it catches up to you and you fall into a deep sense of overwhelm. 

I see this regularly. An advisor has a small group clientele who also buy pensions. He cross-sells those business owners life and health insurance. Then, he helps them and their employees invest their money for retirement and maybe even create an income to spend it when they get there.

It all sounds good, and even highly productive, until you realize how much work you have to do to keep all those balls in the air. That’s before all the product and background information you have to read to keep up with what turns out to be about three full-time businesses. Then there is the service responsibility for all those different needs.

Some financial service disciplines are more labour intensive than others. In my view, investing for high net worth clients with large average account sizes may be the most time-consuming. When you are playing with lots of someone’s money, they have a tendency to want to know how you are doing. Group and pensions with their regular renewals, ongoing administration and claims can also be very demanding. The least demanding is usually the life insurance business because of the infrequency of claims and the need for review only about annually or every 18 months. All three? Hopeless.

Simplify your business. Pick one “business”. Farm out the rest. Do it early and you’ll avoid overwhelm. Do it later and you’ll overcome overwhelm. 

Simplifying isn’t that complicated but it isn’t easy. There is a lot to do to unwind a complicated business. That’s why I promote focused simplicity. It creates time for growth and development. 

Once you simplify, (and even if you don’t) use The 3/40 Performance Week Strategy. It’s simple. Plan working only 40 sales weeks per year in 10-week intervals. Plan vacations between them. Work three days a week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - “in” your business. This is the activity that leads to or creates sales. Work 2 days a week – Monday and Friday – “on” your business. This is the activity that supports sales efforts, administration and education. Building personal development time into your schedule this way will make you, your advice and the business better. You’ll be more professional, relaxed and effective.