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Ten Tips to Getting to the Top of the Table

Learn how to revise your practice so you can help more people, make more money and take more time off.

By Douglas R. Andrew

I would like to share 10 dynamic concepts that I have learned that catapulted me to the Million Dollar Round Table’s Top of the Table in production. These concepts work so well that if you apply them, they will free up 160 days per year and get you to TOT as well.

Tip No. 1: Identify and focus on the profile of your ideal client.
Have you recently identified the profile of your ideal clients? If you are ready to make a meaningful transformation in your business, ask yourself four questions regarding what you consider to be an ideal client:

  1. What are the attributes of my ideal client?
  2. What makes my ideal client tick?
  3. What do my ideal clients expect me to deliver?
  4. What do I need to do to improve my relationship with my ideal client?

Circle the three most critical responses to each question, and you will have a blueprint for focusing your attention on the ideal clients.

Tip No. 2: Move your professional objectives to the highest value level.
We are willing to pay more for a unique product than for a commodity, and we pay more for exceptional service than for unique products. But there is one level higher that people value even more—a meaningful transformation. When a meaningful transformation takes place, the greatest value is created. Those agents who provide a meaningful transformation for their clients receive the greatest compensation and have the least competition.

Tip No. 3: Establish a value-based practice for your clients.
In the initial client interviews that we hold, there are five questions that we seek to know answers for about our prospective clients, and we want them to know the answers to the same questions about us:

  1. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? In other words, what motivates and excites you to get up each day?
  2. Who is the most important person to you in the world?
  3. What is most important to you in the world? In other words, what is your definition of true wealth?
  4. What do you want to achieve before you leave this world?
  5. What do you really love about your life?

Tip No. 4: Provide greater clarity, balance, focus and confidence for your clients and their families.
Create a mission statement for your practice and make sure your clients understand it. I have our firm’s mission statement in calligraphy on our office reception wall for our clients to ponder.

Tip No. 5: Establish credibility and a positive reputation with your prospects, clients, CPAs, attorneys and fellow industry associates through education and effective communication.
One of the best methods I have used to establish credibility and educate others is to teach seminars. My advice is to develop your own seminar or use an existing seminar using PowerPoint software that effectively communicates your message.

Tip No. 6: Use a professional coach to catapult you to the next level of success.
Of the many concepts I have learned working with a coach, the primary elements of success have been:

  1. implementation of a time management system
  2. focusing on my unique abilities
  3. value creation

I cannot overemphasize the impact of using a professional coach in your practice. My income has tripled in the last two years as a result, and we are on target to increase our revenue by tenfold within three more years.

Tip No. 7: Determine which clients and opportunities to seize and which ones to delegate or leave behind.
During the past 10 years, I have learned the importance of focusing only on those activities that I enjoy and that give me energy. By increasing those activities that you want to do more of and eliminating or delegating those activities you dislike doing or do not excel at, more opportunities will come your way. Therefore, it is critical that you have a system to determine which clients and opportunities to seize and which ones to delegate or leave behind.

Tip No. 8: Establish your priorities and balance your life using a color-coded 30-day calendar.
On your monthly calendar, schedule:

  1. Thirteen days (ideally) that you will take off (including weekends) for rejuvenation with your spouse, family and friends.
  2. Ten days where you will totally focus on the activities and relationships that utilize the abilities that you are superior at and which are most profitable.
  3. four to eight days for coordinating client plans, completing paperwork you can’t delegate, making phone calls, etc.
  4. one day dedicated to a major clean-up of everything that has a tendency to pile up.
  5. two days without interruptions to create new and exciting ideas and goals and allow your mind to clear.

Finally, color code each day or even portions of a day depending on the activity scheduled. The time taken to establish your priorities, balance your life, plan, schedule and visualize your month will reward you immensely.

Tip No. 9: Find your niche and develop your unique system that sets you apart.
Ask yourself what types of cases, insurance sales or plans would you like to do more of? They are probably the ones that give you energy and that you are extremely good at or cause you to stretch. Then ask yourself what types of insurance cases or plans would you like to do less of? You should discontinue doing them and focus on and develop those market niches that motivate you and utilize your superior abilities.

Tip No. 10: Form strategic alliances with key professionals in the industry.
I recommend four areas where strategic-alliance relationships should be cultivated:

  1. Use clients, CPAs and attorneys as bird-doggers to point new opportunities your way.
  2. Take advantage of the strategic by-products that result from keeping highly active in the industry, like writing articles and doing speaking engagements.
  3. Participate actively in professional organizations such as MDRT and NAIFA and your local chapters.
  4. Affiliate with and join teams of other professional high-achievers in the industry.

Printed with permission from MDRT. All rights reserved.

This is a short excerpt of an in-depth look at Andrew’s 10 tips, which was given as a presentation at the MDRT annual meeting in June 2003. If you would like the complete transcript, visit MDRT’s website, or call 847-692-6378.


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