Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Diamond in the Rough

I've sold insurance for more than twenty years - albeit not all of those twenty years were in a row, and I didn't sell it continuously - but that doesn't mean I don't know my way around a lead, and it certainly doesn't mean that I can't make an appointment call without the big boss listening in and micromanaging my every move. I may have been born in the afternoon, but it wasn't this afternoon - you've heard the saying.

I decided to get back into sales again after a couple of years of being absent in the field. The ONLY reason I went back to selling is because at this point and time I have to make a few ends come together while I'm working out the get-rich-quick thing. I've been working on it for years, and am convinced that my statute of limitations has run out on so many of the things I've tried in the past. Sales just seems to kick in, and I seem to be a natural - at least I think I am, which can be benificial when closing a deal. My problem is, and has always been, I'm not a conformist. I don't do the sales call like 99% of the others. When I hear a sales agent giving canned schpiel I want to throw myself through the receiver, grab them by the throat and scream "HEY, I'm human, talk to me...don't read to me, ask me real questions, feed me something interesting so I'll bite at whatever it is you're peddling." Hell, no wonder people hang up, I HANG UP when I get that call!

I spent 45 minutes on the phone today doing grunt work for a guy who thinks that following the script will get his office into a better productivity margin. The poor office went from 12 agents last year to 2 1/2 this year and that's before you count the fact that one of them has already told me that he's leaving just as soon as he's licensed in another state. Something isn't working for that office - four managers in as many years - can't be the company, must be the approach. What is it they say "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result"...couldn't be more true. So, after my 45 minutes I handed the manager a stack of 15 leads - I managed SOMEHOW to drum up. He said they were useless because I hadn't used the script, and he couldn't send his REAL agents out to do a sales pitch or presentation because he wasn't sure of what I had said. FAIR ENOUGH.

I went. I drove my happy butt out to the first appointment - introduced myself, and we talked for about an hour actually about everything under the big, bright, sun EXCEPT Medicare supplements, and long term care. I don't talk about what I sell - I sell it. After an hour of getting to know the man, going through his kitchen to find cream for MY coffee, and asking him for the remote so I could change the channel and see what Palestine had decided to do with their free time today - I pulled out my application - well, his application. I filled it out, asking questions about his health, going over the costs of nursing homes vs. stay-at-home care, and I even joked about having him sign over his house, dog, and johnboat to me so he could qualify for a lower premium. NO, I didn't sign the contract because I'm not appointed with the company yet - but you know what; tomorrow morning when the boss drinks his orange juice, he'll have another Plan J in his pocket as well as a full premium long term care policy for a man aged 71, about $311.75 a month after all is said and sealed.

Diamonds come in many many shapes, sizes, qualities, and colors - ME, well - I may be rough, but I'm good enough to shine the way I was made. By the way, I decided NOT to work for that company afterall. I don't need the training - I need to talk my way into a few more houses and do what I do - befriend, and then BE the friend. I don't know about other agents, but I still remember the names of the kids of the people I sold to over two decades ago - and I wonder if they remember me.

Mavericks are OK when you understand them.

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