I was once asked to help out with organizing a Sales workshop for Life insurance agents.
This workshop was to help a group of agents who were struggling with sales and needed guidance and training to help sell more policies and increase their book of business.
I reluctantly agreed.
Reluctantly, because I was expecting the workshop to be a session of high-pressure seedy sales techniques and other snake oil strategies for the sole purpose of increasing the bottom line and squeezing maximum profits.
But I was wrong.
The speaker was one of the world's top marketing consultant and executive coach with an impressive business philosophy.
His core philosophy was - to succeed in any business, you need to offer so much value to the client and create an irresistible and memorable customer experience -regardless of whether they choose to do business with you or not.
He emphasized the importance of becoming the trusted advisor for the client and explained,
"By trusted, I mean this.
Even when you have a client who is ready and willing to buy from you, even when you have an opportunity to make a sale, even when you stand to make a hefty commission, you have the integrity to say No - this is NOT the right product for you."
Wow, I thought to myself. What a beautiful sales philosophy.
And then he went on to share several instances in which he turned down clients because he felt he couldn't help them or they weren't a good fit for his core business values - despite these clients willing to offer double his original fee. On some occasions, he even referred his clients to his competitors because he felt they could better help his clients.
He not only talked the talk, he walked the walk. Then something interesting happened...
One of the agents in the room commented,
"Our firm's gold star agent has a similar sales philosophy and he has been the top producing agent for the last 10 years. Last year I had a chance to talk to him and he shared one of his strategies to improve his relationship with his clients.
He meticulously keeps track of all his clients birthdays in a spreadsheet and he personally calls every client, a day before their birthday to wish them a happy birthday in advance. Then a week after, he calls them again to find out how their birthday went.
During the phone call, he would get to know what's happening in the client's life- whether they are getting married or having a child or buying a new home or switching jobs or they are planning for retirement - all of which provided great opportunities to find out if there were any insurance coverage gaps and discuss them with the clients.
He never used any high-pressure sales tactics, it was a genuine conversation like,
'Hey, now that you are going to get married or having a child, you may need to get more coverage or Hey, now that you are done with your mortgage or your kids are done with college, you probably don't need so much coverage and you can save some money.'
By just doing this, he was able to add hundreds of thousands of dollars to his business and his clients really value and love that he has their best interest at heart."
The Marketing Consultant listened to the agent with great interest and said, "That's a great example of how you can genuinely care for your clients and still earn their business without being that pesky, annoying salesman. Thanks for sharing."
But I have a question for you.
"What did you do"
The agent asked, "What do you mean?"
The Marketing Consultant clarified, "I mean, did you implement what the Gold Star agent did in your business?"
There was an awkward silence in the room for a moment before the agent said uncomfortably, "No"
The Marketing Consultant asked, "Why not?"
The agent said, "Well, I wasn't sure it would work for my business."
The Marketing Consultant pushed back, "But how do you know that if you have never tried it?"
The agent was quiet and just shrugged his shoulders.
The Marketing Consultant pointed out,
"Remember, you are here today attending this workshop because you want to learn how to increase sales and generate more revenue for your business. Last year, you were taught by your company's best agent how he significantly increased his book of business by following a simple yet effective customer outreach strategy. Yet you didn't do anything."
Then he turned his attention to all the agents in the room and concluded,
"I can teach you the best Sales tactics and strategies to help grow your business but they will be of zero value to you, if you don't act upon them. Knowing these strategies may make you feel and sound smart, but they won't add a single cent to your business.
Knowing isn't enough, you must take action."
I shared this incident with you because this is something we are all guilty of.
We often spend way too much time learning rather than doing, thereby creating an illusion of progress and fooling ourselves into believing we are transforming our lives for the better.
We do this because we are afraid of failing, if we take action.
So we overspend our time in the learning mode. Learning is fun, interesting and in some ways addictive. It keeps us safe, makes us feel good and provides the perfect excuse to avoid taking action.
- We cannot eat healthy by just learning about the health benefits of consuming avocado, we actually need to eat it.
- We cannot lose weight by just learning about interval training, we need to do interval training.
- We cannot become a good cook by just learning new recipes, we need to start cooking.
- We cannot become a better writer by just learning how to write, we need to start writing.
- We cannot improve our lives by just reading personal growth books, we need to start implementing what we learn.
As Bruce Lee rightly said, "Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do."
Take a moment to watch James Clear's explanation of the difference between Motion and Action.
Please take a moment to share your thoughts on what you already know in your life that you should be taking action on, but aren't doing.
What's preventing you from implementing what you already know and how do you plan to overcome this issue?