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Keys to Early Success

Being a professional agent is both easier and harder than you can imagine.

By Merlyn K. Fernandes

I have been able to enjoy early success in our business by actively applying certain principles. One of the most important is to maintain the attributes of a professional agent. To do this you should:

1. Persevere. Our business is one of delayed gratification, not of instant success. Make rejections a way of life! When I started as an agent, I thought of quitting because I only heard nos. When I finally closed an application, I realized that I had gone through 15 nos to hear a yes. I matured in the business only when I started accepting that this is a business of nos and postponements.

Most agents keep waiting for a big check. And in the pursuit of the big one, they ignore the smaller ones that are right in front of them. When my big checks stopped, I kept doing small business, sometimes so small that other agents would laugh and say, “How come you’ve started picking up checks equal to rider amounts?”

I matured in the business only when I started accepting that this is a business of nos and postponements.

Signing on the applications still gave me the satisfaction of knowing I was protecting someone’s family, no matter how small the amount was. It got me just that much closer to my goal, and it kept me in the habit of prospecting and seeing as many people as I could.

Remember, you are going to make a difference in someone’s life today. You are the best person your prospect could meet today.

2. Manage your time effectively and efficiently. You have to strike a balance between your family and your profession. You cannot be successful at the cost of not being with your family, especially with your children, who need more of your time than your money.

Identify the time during the day that is your best and most productive period—the period that keeps you in high spirits—and schedule and prioritize your work accordingly.

Be sure to plan your work. I believe that consistently working late hours is an indication that you are not making the most of your time. Take full advantage of every minute and hour. Finally, give yourself a break at least one day a week, preferably when your family is home.

3. Be impeccably prepared. This is such an important ingredient in the success of any professional agent. This includes preparing your self-esteem before walking into the client’s office. I believe in the philosophy that you are what you think. This means your thinking will determine how you “come off” on the phone or in person.

Imagine that you are the president of your own company, and that you would like to meet high-net-worth clients or prospects and be on their same level. Think it and you can do it—and be it.

you are going to make a difference in someone’s life today. You are the best person your prospect could meet today.

Being impeccably prepared also means being organized. Small things do matter, so give importance to every detail. Don’t start searching for a pen, paper or a calculator in front of the client. And ensure that your “leave behind” presentation material for your client is nothing short of impressive.

When it comes to dressing, impeccability is also important. Pay attention to the clothes you wear, and invest in a good wardrobe. I was initially very hesitant to spend money on my own wardrobe because I felt I needed the income for my family.

Then I received feedback from a client! Remember: Unless a person looks the part, people won’t believe what they say is important. When you are well dressed, it improves your mental attitude and gives you more self-confidence.

4. Allow yourself to express emotions. Connect with your heart; sell with feelings and passion! Help others reach their goal—not yours. If you only work for the money, you will always be underpaid. Fall in love with your work. The day you fall in love with what you are doing is the last day you will ever have to work.

Be expressive, not artificial. People can see through you if you’re not genuine. People can tell the difference between an agent who cares and one who is out to make a commission. Demonstrate to your clients that you care. Care deeply about your clients and their needs, and your financial success will exceed even your personal satisfaction.

This is an excerpt from a speech given at the 2005 Million Dollar Round Table annual meeting. For more information go to Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Merlyn Kevin Fernandes is an MDRT member who lives and works in India.


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