Altig Orlovic Agencies with American Income Life

Phil’s Memo 2/19/13

Phil_bio_pageSome people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.  

                                                                                                                      Michael Jordan

Seems like every conference, an agent or manager (or two) comes up to me and says, “I am going to be great.”  Or some variation of that.  I’m going to be the next Rick Altig, the next Ilija Orlovic, the next Rob Hay, James Hill or Vice President.  And when I follow their career, they fall into one of two different categories. A year later when I see them, they’ll have their agency going, they’re learning the ropes, and are on their way. Sometimes they’re even leading the company in one category or another.   The other half, aren’t even there the “next” time.  Ghosts. When I inquire, I find out they’re trying something else. Moving back in with their parents. Working a pizza joint. Letting their spouse carry the load. And there’s not much in between.

On the outside, I can’t tell who is who. Sometimes, the guy will look really impressive and he’s just a nice suit. Other guys come having scraped enough together to buy business attire. I don’t know which one of those two guys is going to make it. Some come with pretty impressive resumes; six figure jobs, prestigious degrees. For others, this is the farthest they have made it so far in their careers; maybe they’re just starting out. I’m glad I don’t have to make a living predicting which one of those two guys is going to be a success in our company. I’ve given up trying.

The cover of Michael Jordan’s book explains everything.  It’s titled, “Driven From Within.” You see, success is an inside job. You can’t tell from the outside. I can’t see how driven you are, it is an “intangible.” Driven is not the level of energy and excitement or hyperbole when people give me their 5 minute pitch on why they’ll be the next CEO. Five minutes is just that. Five minutes. This is a marathon. I wonder how fast Hussein Bolt runs the marathon. Interesting question. I bet we have people in our company that could beat him.

Michael Jordan is not even 6’6. In high school or college, no one knew he would become the greatest basketball player that ever lived (yet). He wasn’t even one of the first couple guys picked in the NBA draft. They couldn’t see what was within him.  In 1996, I went to a leadership conference in Waco with a young GA named Ilija OrlovicDid I know he would become a world-class leader and future CEO of one of the most successful companies in the industry?  If I were honest, I’d say, “No.”  He didn’t look much different on the outside than the other 10 guys we had there. But over the short run, you can never measure what is on the inside.

Michael Jordan turns 50 this week, so he’s been in the news. When I was a teenager, every young basketball player wanted to “Be Like Mike.”  While everybody want to be like Mike, are they willing to put in the time and effort to actually do it? Here are 2 principles he recently laid out for success. I’ll keep going on the other 8 next week.

#1.  Go Around. “If you’re trying to achieve success, there WILL BE roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Obstacles aren’t necessarily a bad thing; they’re a training ground for success.

#2. PerspectiveAlways turn a negative situation into a positive situation. Every negative situation contains the seed for a great outcome, but you must recognize it. You can’t focus on the negative, you must see the positive, it’s the only way up the ladder to success.  I recently saw a territory that had a shortage of response cards come up.  The two RGA’s in the territories took different perspectives. One clamped down hiring.  The other hired more but taught heavily on how to collect referrals.One is currently thriving with a high show ratio and even higher close ratio.  The other is wallowing in self-pity. They still haven’t turned the corner.
Let’s recognize our TOP TERRITORIES.   How do you get on the list?  Very simple.  Your state or province needs to write $20,000 in Gross ALP from Agents in their FIRST SIX MONTHS.  We call this “New Agent” production.  Nothing more, nothing less.   Isn’t the production from our experienced agents important?  That’s a poor-man’s question.  Yes, it is important, but if that is all you have (or predominantly have), your territory will NOT grow and your agency will soon start atrophying.   So if you answer that question “Yes,” you are right but you will eventually die.  It’s like standing in the middle of a busy freeway and asking, “Will all the cars try swerve to avoid me?”  The answer is “Yes,” but your long-term outcome doesn’t look good.  If you do not focus on bringing in new agents, your future probably isn’t that bright.  We must always look forward, always bringing in new leaders, new ideas, and new energy.  So we measure how much production your new agents are bringing in as the most accurate prognosticator of future growth and success.

What’s the most accurate way of predicting how much New Agent ALP you will haveNew Agent count. If you have 5 new agents, I can almost assure you that you will not hit $20,000 in ALP.  That would be $4,000 in ALP average per agent. Tenured agents? Maybe. Brand new guys? Probably not. Now if you have 15 new agents, I can give you a really high chance of hitting $20,000. They only have to write $1,300 or $1,400 apiece. As long as you are working with them, that should be almost automatic. So you want to be on the list? Track your new agent counts and see your name in the winner’s circle.

New #1Utah$26,134 in First Six Month production. Their tenured agents averaged $1,207 per sale last week and their new agents did $1,188.   They have passed down one of their most powerful traits to the next generation. You teach what you know and are good at. So learn everything that you can. This is a profession, remember, not a job. One of the main differences between a profession and a job is that in a profession, you must constantly learn, constantly update and improve yourself. It’s called Continuing Professional Education. CPE for short. The guys in Utah are making good money. Even though this is a relatively young agency, they average $3,144 in ALP per agent. That’s fantastic. They were Top 3 in activity and had every single coded agent write business.  They will only get better.  Salt Lake beat Salt Lake North by $3,000.

#2.  Nevada. $24,526 in First Six Month production. Their new agents sold every kind of lead:  Response Card, Referral, POS and Child Safe.  Each has a different situation so each client encounter has their own nuance. And that’s good training as well.  To be able to handle the different kinds of clients. They dominated with sheer numbers. They had 29 coded agents and 25 writing. When you go to war, the bigger army usually wins. They’ve figured out this strategy and executed it to a “T”. All three office contributed. Las Vegas, $18,000, Reno, $12,400 and LV Central, $11,500.

#3.   Washington. $21, 217 in ALP from Agents in their first six months. Remember, the $21,217 is from new agents, in their first six months.  The Total ALP from all agents last week was $110,000.  How much ALP should come from new agents as opposed to your tenured guys? I like the 50% rule. Half of your ALP should come from new agents if you want to be growing at a healthy rate. That means there’s enough trainers to give one-on-one attention and enough new people for the experienced agents to train. You learn better by training than any other method.  You want someone to become an expert on quality, or POS, or up-selling or down-selling or whatever…assign them to teach a segment on it. If they were weak, they’ll become good, and if they were already good, they’ll become experts.  You want an agency full of experts.  It’s good to have those resources and it promotes confidence. Ever seen an under-confident expert? Once in a while. Generally you have a bigger problem of keeping them humble. As the old adage goes: It is easier to tame the maniac than to wake the dead. It’s contest time; get them pumped up this week!

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This entry was posted on February 21, 2013 by in Phil Folkertsma.
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