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Smooth the Way to a Sale

Here are four tips from MDRT Top of the Table qualifier Van Mueller to help you initiate and close more sales.

By Maggie Leyes

As an 18-time qualifier for MDRT’s Top of the Table, Van Mueller, LUTCF, has some great advice for those looking to ramp up their business. He is well known in the industry for lending a helping hand to rookies so that they avoid the mistakes he made early in his career. Here are a few tips that this New England Financial rep, who is based in Brookfield, Wis., shared with Advisor Today.

Use the Rule of 72—in a new way.  The Rule of 72 states that if you divide the interest rate into 72, it tells you how many years it will take to double your money. Mueller uses this rule with his clients, but with a twist. Right now the interest rate is at 5 percent, he says; so five into 72 is 14. This means that it will take 14 years to double your money. “But 14 years sounds like outer space to most people,” he says. “I don’t ever talk about 14. I say, ’The Rule of 72 says 5 percent into 72—it would take your money 14 years to double. Here’s what I guarantee you. If you give me $100,000 today, seven years from now I will give you back $150,000. How does that sound?”

By cutting the time in half (and the result), you make it something that is “seeable,” he says. For most people seven years doesn’t sound that far off. Once the client is on board, Mueller then puts the money into “any type of fixed-interest investment with a guaranteed interest rate: a fixed-interest annuity, CD, a bond—corporate, municipal, whatever—with a seven-year maturity that’s paying that rate.”

I don’t go to anybody’s house to sell them anything. I go to their home or business to deliver the information that I promised. —Van Mueller, LUTCF

Be creative with your approach.  Imagine, says Mueller, if you called a client and said, “I’d like to come over to your house to review your insurance.” Who is going to willingly take you up on that? Instead, you should say something like: “I have information that I know will change your life and your family’s life forever, and if you don’t know this, you’re in trouble. Don’t you want to take an hour to at least find out what that is?”

Then you need to keep that promise. “I don’t go to anybody’s house to sell them anything,” he says. “I go to their home or business to deliver the information that I promised. They need to know what’s about to befall them [in the marketplace]. And once I tell them that—if they want to do something—who do you think they’ll ask? And if they don’t want to do anything, did I really have a prospect anyway? It’s a very easy way for me to discern who I can and cannot work with.”

Be proactive with clients who have lost money in the market.  Don’t ignore a client because you think you’ve made a mistake with his money, says Mueller, who relates this anecdote. A young agent approached him with this question: “How do I go back to all those people after I had told them they should be in managed funds, and now tell them I was wrong?” Mueller’s reply was swift and to the point: “But you weren’t wrong! You didn’t do all this. The government did this. The companies did this. You don’t have access to all the information that they do. You relied on the best knowledge available to you at the time you made those recommendations. You gave your clients a managed account that you thought was going to be OK. Well, it’s not going to be OK under the current circumstances.”

So, what should you do next? You need go back to those people and ask them what they want to do now, advises Mueller. “You should at least give them the chance to make a new decision if they wish to,” he says. “If they can emotionally stay in there and take the beating, then you leave them there. If they emotionally can’t stay in there, you have to make some adjustments.”

Don’t reinvent the wheel.  If you are looking to be successful, then “find someone you want to be like and copy that person,” Mueller says. He calls this the shortcut to success because you don’t have to make the same mistakes the “mentor” did. And true to form (of copying someone he likes), Mueller says that he got this idea from Anthony Robbins.

Be sure to read “A Day in the Life of a Top Producer” in this month’s issue of Advisor Today.

Maggie Leyes is a contributor to


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