An Open Letter to a New Account Exec: Part 2

Earlier this summer, we posted “An Open Letter to a New Account Executive: Part 1,” which outlined six steps to take if you want to succeed in a new insurance sales position.

Here are five more tricks of the trade:

1) Make a daily plan. Set both short and long-range goals and write them down. How many calls do you plan to make each day? How many will you make in a week? How many in a quarter? Don’t make the sales manager motivate you—motivate yourself first.

A friend taught me that 300 calls result in 50 good prospects, which in turn result in two or three sales. That’s how many calls it takes to get just one sale. And remember to make multiple contacts—every time I teach sales, I hear one excuse after the other for not making contacts. So, let me settle that issue now: Call, call, call.

2) Obey the law of the harvest. The law contains three principles:

  • You reap what you sow.
  • You reap later than you sow.
  • You reap more than what you sow.

Selling is like planting seeds. Every time you make contact with a prospect, you are planting a seed. If you don’t make contacts, there will not be a harvest. The more contacts you make, the greater the harvest.

It takes time and a lot of contacts—often to the same people—to get results, which always arrive much later. Ultimately, the work you put in today will not come back to benefit you for several months. But remember, every sale will also result in more closings and referrals, which will give you an even greater harvest in the even more distant future.

3) Stay positive. You can learn sales skills, but you’ll have to teach yourself a positive attitude. If you need to be kicked out of bed and motivated to sell every day, you and your sales manager will not be good friends, and your kids will likely go hungry. It doesn’t matter how you motivate yourself. Your attitude is a choice, not a result of your environment.

Your attitude will also determine the kind of day you’re going to have. Don’t let the negatives get you down. Consider each “no” as a step closer to the next “yes.” I’ve had less than 10 people hang up on me in over 17 years of my career. Did I let it make me quit? No, I just moved on to the next person on my list.

4) Stand out. Creative calls, pitches and conversations are memorable. When you talk with a decision-maker or the person who writes the check, creativity is one of the best qualities you can showcase.

A friend once sent his proposal in a piggy bank with a hammer to crack it open. Another sent bottles of wine with his name on the label. If you can find something that makes you different than the other 20 people they got calls from today, you will be remembered.

5) Be dependable. When I was working for an insurance company in the Carolinas, the sales manager always knew when I would be in the office and when I would be out visiting clients. He told me that he could always depend on me to do the work and do more than expected.

One time, I fell one new client short of making a sales bonus at the end of the year. To my surprise, I got the bonus anyway. When I asked the manager why, he smiled and said, “I know you will do more with an incentive. I can always trust you to put in a super effort.” It spurred me to do better the next quarter.

Your manager is looking for someone who shows up and does the job. They’re tired of trying to make sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to. So be one who does the hard work. Be the one others can depend on.

You can choose to do the work, or you can bounce from job to job without making an impact—the choice is yours. Now, go get ’em! The only person who stands in your way is you.

Jim Mathis is the Reinvention PRO™. As an international platform-certified speaking professional, bestselling author and trainer, he helps leaders who want to reinvent themselves in challenging economies. To subscribe to his free personal and professional development newsletter, send an email with the word “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line. An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month.