Jack Marrion, President of Advantage Compendium, then goes on to make
his comments about this study and how they apply to annuity salespeople.
I personally think Jack is a genius and I hate to even consider adding
value to his comments but I thought it might be helpful for the partners
I work with to give some feedback based on my experience working
with multi-million dollar annuity agents.
1. Possess Selling-Related Knowledge
Top Producers Waste Less Time with Bad Prospects
Jack Marrion says, "Knowing who is a receptive prospect was the
most important factor in being a top producer. Top producers identified
the prospects that were most likely to buy and ignored the rest. They
didn't waste time making presentations to prospects that don't have the
authority to buy."
This is so true! I can't tell you how many times I see agents
milking the same dried up cow. You can't make grape juice out of
raisins. It's simple, get more annuity leads and you won't
be desperate. A good annuity marketing strategy allows you to
chose your clients, not chase them.
"Top Producers are Knowledge-brokers that Have Know-Why, Know-Who,
Jack Marrion also says, "Top producers are perceived by prospects as
knowledge-brokers in that they possess information that is unavailable
to others-----due to connections, background, expertise--and they will
use this information to benefit the prospect."
Study, study, study! Chad and I spend a minimum of 5-8 hours
per week reading and studying annuity product and financial information.
Google everything you don't know about but should, bookmark your
resources, and read, read, read.
"Top Producers are Adaptive Sellers Who are in Tune with a
According to Jack, "Top producers match the selling strategy to the
needs of the prospect. They rank high on emotional intelligence. When
top producers feel a fact-based presentation isn't connecting with a
prospect they will change to a story-based."
This is all about on-the-job training. If I had a dollar for
every time an agent asked me for a copy of our presentation like we had
it on a flip chart. Good salespeople are students of failure.
Why didn't this work? Why didn't I connect with that client?
Why didn't they understand? Success is the return-on-investment
for failure. If you are reading this I probably don't have to tell
you that there is no opportunity to capitalize off of failure more than
in the sales business. Those who succeed are those who mitigate
the chance of repeating their mistakes. Be observant of what you
do right and what you do wrong when you are selling. Write down
the good, bad, and ugly. Repeat the good and remember the bad so
you don't repeat it. There is no flip-chart for success in annuity
3. Cope with Ambiguity
"Top Producers Cope Better with Uncertainty"
Jack says that, "The sales process is one of ongoing uncertainty
and top producers face just as much uncertainty as everyone else. The
difference is top producers have developed coping mechanisms that permit
them to function is spite of the uncertainty."
This is one that I personally struggle with, just ask Chad. I
am a total control and planning freak. The reality is that nothing
ever works just like you want it to. You will never have your
expectation met and every time something is going perfect all you have
to do is wait a few minutes for it to change for the worse. If you
are like me, I have two suggestions. First, get over it!
Except that your expectations will not be met and be happy if they are.
Salespeople are the worst on this issue; they cry for justice and
fairness like children at times. The best you can hope for is to
work with people that have integrity and always make every effort to fix
any problems that develop. If there was one word to describe this
business it would be "change". Second, go to Amazon and buy the
book, "Who Moved My Cheese". Sometimes I am just flat out amazed
at the temper tantrums some agent have over what turns out to be a vary
small issue. Don't be one of those agents! Learn to go with
the flow and make adjustments without getting emotional about it.
Things that seem bad don't always turn out to be bad and at the very
least they are not usually as bad as they seem. Focus on the
solution, not the problem.
4. Have a Higher Cognitive Aptitude
"Top Producers are Smart"
Jack Marrion points out that , "Top producers have above average
IQs. This does not mean that one needs to be Albert Einstein to be a
$10-million annuity producer, but it does mean there are no dummies in
the top ranks."
Not everyone can be a genius (I know I never will) but everyone has
the choice to be smart (see the second part of #1). Also, don't
just be smart, be wise! Smart is the acquisition of knowledge;
wisdom is knowing what to do with the knowledge.
5. Work Engagement
"Top Producers Work"
Jack concludes by saying, "Top producers are self-motivated and
proactive. Because of their drive, top producers tend to be leaders in
other areas of their lives as well."
I will put our calendars up against anybody's. If you are proud
to show me your calendar then there is a pretty good chance you will
become a top producer. Also, Chad and I both have leadership roles
in our business, but also in other organizaions like our churches.
Find a leadership position in some other facet of your life. It
will help prune your character and build your confidence.
Source: "Drivers of sales performance: a contemporary
meta-analysis. Have salespeople become knowledge brokers?" Verbeke,
Dietz & Verwaal. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39: