Altig Orlovic Agencies with American Income Life

Phil’s Leadership Memo 7/10/13

Phil_bio_pageI’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.  -Walt Disney

 Grudge Match 2 is on.   It is one of our most heated and competitive yet.   There are two weeks remaining.   Leaders, this is a special opportunity to do what you do best.  Yes:  Lead!  But why?   Why do we have contests and competitions?  And why is it important that you GO FOR IT!   It’s often been said that if you know the “Why” you’ll figure out the “How.”  So let me give you four reasons this morning.

First of all, it is a call to focus.   North America has become the Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) continent.   Throw in a little “H” and it’s really tough to concentrate on what needs to get done. From our television programming, to commercials, to church programming, to video games, all of it is now being designed to cater to a person that can’t stay on task for more than about 20 minutes.  And in the process, we are training a society to have shorter attention spans.  This weekend, we went and saw “The Lone Ranger” with Johnny Depp.   Fantastically fun and exciting movie, with lots of great scenes, non-stop action, and of course the Johnny Depp.  But the critics universally panned it.   Too long (it was 2 1/2 hours), too boring, too slow.    Rolling Stone called it a “thundering bore” and that “it forgot it’s duty to entertain”  Are you kidding me?  It was great, I can’t help it that they are always demanding more action, more originality, something new EVERY time.   It was interesting, varied and fast-moving, with an original take on the character.

And this has seeped into the workplace.   Everything must always be novel, exhilarating, and brief.   And the reality, careers are usually a bit like white-water rafting:  You have some fast-moving stretches and a bunch of float time, where you just paddle and keep the raft on course, waiting for the next set of rapids where you have to row like crazy .  Contests are the rapids.

#2. It is a call for all hands on deck.   Do you realize that if every coded agent we had would go out and just work a normal work week, we would smash $1 million in ALP next week.  NEXT WEEK!  We have some agencies where only 50-60% of their agents work every week.  I still haven’t been able to get my brain around that concept.   People working only 2 weeks a month.   Now let me make the exception.  We have agents that have been here 3, 4, 15 years plus that are seasoned professionals.  They can make the money they need and want, by working every other week.  Nice, but they’ve earned it.

There’s another subset of agents that have been here 3 or 4 weeks and start working every other week.   What?!?   Where can you work half-time and make full-time pay right out of the chute?  Whoever said, “Nowhere”, you are correct.  Going to work only half the time, or when you feel like it equates to failure in every other workplace and you will fail here as well.  This isn’t Disneyland, this is a great opportunity.  Come to think of it, even if Mickey Mouse only showed up for his role 60% of the time, he wouldn’t be Mickey for very long either.  There would be another Mickey inside the suit, probably within a couple weeks.   If you work only 60% of the time, you will fail.  You’ll fail here or anywhere; go fail somewhere else, that way you won’t blame someone else here.  I know this is the Good News Memo, but I’m not going to lie to you.   You have to make it happen.  And contest are a great tool to get everybody working every week, so they all work, they all get better, and they all succeed.

3.   Competition is good.   The US and Canada are built on a competitive model.  That is why they are among the wealthiest, healthiest countries on earth.   Lebron James just was voted the best Male Athlete in the World.  He is also about the most competitive.  After every game, he watches tape and learns about his opponent so that he is always developing, always improving.  Even though he has been playing basketball for 20 or 25 years.  You are at your best when there is competition.   My wife is a music director and one of her jobs is to rehearse and lead our church’s band.  They’ve got 3 guitars, a keyboard, a drum, and once in a while for flavor, they’ll throw in a violin, sax, or more percussion.   When she first started, there was one person on most positions.  And a lot of musicians sometimes complained, sometimes didn’t show up.   So she recruited and developed back-ups, sometimes multiple musicians for each position.   Now they fight for the opportunity to play.   Complaining a lot?  No problem, we’ve got other people that are dying to play.   Didn’t show up for rehearsal?  Fine, don’t bother showing up for the final set and performance either.  Someone else would love to.   Competition is always healthy, and makes everyone better.  A contest is nothing more than competition.  You see your opponent and what they’re doing and learn from it.  Everyone is watching so you can show off a little.   Prove yourself.  Compete!

4.  Have fun and go for the glory and prizes.   Contests are not an end-all.  They are a tool.  You’re a new manager and learning how to lead?   Contests are the training wheels of sales and marketing organizations.   Been here 15 years and stuck in a rut?  Let the contest give you a shot of vitality.  They are the 5-hour energy drink of your agency.  Have fun with it.   Make some inflammatory videos.   Goad your opponent.   But then be ready to back it up with some action.

We’ve been studying math and percentages and how they are the framework of your business.   Commissions and renewal; they are nothing but a percentage.   Your contracted commission percentage TIMES your ALP is what you get paid.  Both your upfront commission AND your long term income stream.   And that’s something to keep your eye on.  I had a high-volume agent come to me once and his renewals were below where he or she thought they should be.  One of the first places I looked was the mix of policies they were selling.  If 90% of your sales are on Select Life policies, you might not notice it so much in you advances, because of high volumes and bonuses that make up for it, but the percentage will definitely be felt in your monthly renewals.


Torchmark, who runs many successful insurance companies, including American Income Life has this motto:   It must be good for the client, the agent AND the company, or we won’t do it.  The client makes sense.  If you don’t take care of your clients you ultimately won’t have any and you won’t have agents or a company.   It has to be good for the company, or the company won’t be able to pay claims and then you’re in an even worse situation.  But it must also be good for the agent.   What you do provides a valuable service and if there’s nothing in it for you, we won’t have healthy agents and that impacts both the client and the company.   So when watching and studying your agency’s percentages, make sure that you are selling a product mix that works.  AIL has very competitive commission rates and some of the best renewal rates in the country, but even so, you must be aware of your commission and renewal percentages to make sure you stay healthy as well.


Top offices.  Even with July 4rth and Canada Day, territories topped the standard.

#1.  Washington.   $25,736 in First-Six-Month Agent production.   They’re running exactly 50% new agents versus tenured ones.  I was going to say “old” but some of our “old” agents are barely 21.    That is an important percentage there.   If your territory is over 75% long-term agents, you probably aren’t growing.  If it is over 75% new agents, you may have a retention problem, and that’s hurting your ability to train.   50% is great.   Lynnwood $18,300.   That’s Levi Stearns, Josh Olin and  Hunter Houvener.   They were too much for Redmond this week, at $16,300.

#2.  Hawaii.  $23,728.   1,149 referrals.  If you add up the total referrals these guys collect in a quarter, you’ve got a small city.   Also at 50% new versus tenured agents.  They missed both the New Agent and Total Production top spot by $2,000 this week.   Waipahu, Ualena, and Maui lead this state.   Kimo Collins and Peer Shmeizer lead the #1 Waipahu office.

#3.  Nevada.  $20,787.  Their new agents are closing 27%, or better than one out of four.  Training is great there.   Las Vegas consolidated recently and the combined office is a powerhouse.   Tran Ho and David Iriye lead them.

Honorable Mention.  British Columbia. $17,919.   The sleeping giant is awakening.  They have the talent to do $30,000 to $40,000 a week.   Let’s keep an eye on this territory.

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This entry was posted on July 9, 2013 by in Phil Folkertsma.
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