"Offenses will come". There are life circumstances so difficult that your practice, marriage and even very existence will be at risk. Life throws curve balls just when you're hitting fastballs out of the park.
How do you survive when your world is collapsing? How does your profession, any profession, overcome the impossible? Is it worth it?
Six and a half years ago an avalanche of pain and despair invaded our wonderful life. I couldn't fix it and even today, it is gone unrepaired. My wife, Carol, received a call from a frantic teenager. She was using our daughter's cell phone to tell us that Kristin, our 19-year-old daughter, was on her way to an emergency room. She was unconscious and unresponsive. Kristin was driving, with her friend from a dinner party when she mentioned that her face was numb. She started driving erratically and her friend implored her to pull over. Kristen managed to stop the truck, grabbing the door latch and falling out of the truck into the highway. A passerby helped Kristin’s friend get her off the road then called 911. The paramedics were transporting Kristin when her friend made the call to Carol. Family arrived, almost simultaneously, at the emergency room to discover that Kristin had a brain hemorrhage. An arterio-venous malformation in her brain had caused an aneurysm and the artery wall couldn't hold the pressure.
After surgery, and three days of agonizing despair, the neurosurgeon informed our family that there was no hope of recovery. She died that night. With her death came emotions that I am not able to describe. I've attempted, many times, to describe the difficult life experience associated with losing a child. I have failed miserably to accurately communicate how it affects a parent.
During and after the funeral, the shock of the event allowed Carol and I to remain calm, and collected. We had things to be done. The passage of time brought reality. She wasn’t coming back. Our other children were willing to help. In looking back, we did a poor job of actually helping them as they were helping us. Only days, perhaps weeks had passed and we realized that we were actually quite dysfunctional. Achievement requires motivation. Our motivation was sabotaged. When your day begins with a decision on getting out of bed, the rest of the day doesn't go so well.
It would take much more room than I have here to describe what has happened over the last six years that have been serious roadblocks to recovering function and ultimately, real achievement in my work. Carol and I now walk with an emotional and even spiritual limp, but we walk and even run at times. It's not smooth or even pretty at times, but we’re quite functional. We had to function in short bursts. We had to learn how to task for short periods of time. I no longer had long-term goals. Sometimes my long-term goals were one hour. Sometimes we had to make it through the next few minutes; a few more and on, and on. A former divorce did not affect me like this. Financial collapse did not affect me like this. A handicapped older child did not affect me like this.
This event brought me to the point of surrender. I couldn't fix it and move on. I could only live with it and keep moving. Yes, I gained weight. Yes, I became short tempered. Yes, I became intolerant. However, Carol and I are still very happily married and best friends. All the kids and grandkids are well financially and physically. Our businesses are thriving. Our faith is strong. Our relationships with other people almost all survived.
If something major has happened to you and you're struggling in confusion and difficulty, it is survivable. You can do this. It is likely that a series of events or even one major event will affect your ability to perform. You're either going through extreme difficulty, will go through extreme difficulty, or have gone through extreme difficulty. You must still function. You must still plod forward.
Narrow your field of view so you can remain focused on the important issues. Block out distractions generated by people, circumstances and events. Other people are usually the source of roadblocks to continuing achievement, so you may have to avoid a few of them.
You still have to prospect for your practice. You can shorten goals to weeks, days, hours, or even minutes. You can still have great relationships with the ones you love and achieve wonderful things in your work. You can overcome depression, if not get rid of it. You can overcome financial pressures, relationship pressures, physical difficulties, failures, and almost anything with a strong faith and an understanding that the future is still bright.
Life events are not always financial. However they can add financial stress to the equation. Many of them can’t be avoided. Self-employment requires self-motivation and that’s extremely difficult to maintain when your mind is invaded with worrisome distractions. The people you love are depending on you. It’s lonely and nobody understands, but they don’t have to understand. You’ve heard stories about strong people surviving huge setbacks. How do normal, every day people get through it all? With a quiet determination that they will not be defeated.
Since prospecting for new clients is an activity, it requires a clear and motivated state of mind, or it requires a determined spirit. A determined spirit will do if that’s all you can muster.
I write articles like this for thinkadvisor.com each month. There are over 110 on prospecting for new clients. Many of the ideas are transferrable to other professions. Just type in Kim Magdalein in the search.
This is a very special holiday. It honors those who have paid the ultimate price. They have given their lives. They can't read this or any other article on how much we appreciate them. We are taking time off from our daily routine to remember them. However, we are the ones who benefit. We are free to choose because of them. We are free to achieve because of them. We are safe because of them. We are comfortable because of them. We are alive because of them. Today, there are many young men and women who are enlisting in our armed forces to continue the legacy of those who have gone before. They may be called upon to go into harms way. In memory of those who have given it all, may we be mindful and pray for those who will follow. There are many reasons that people join armed services, but someday, no matter what their purpose was, they may lose their lives protecting the rest of us. It's a noble cause, a noble profession, sometimes thankless. It shouldn't be so.
I'm certain that someone who has lost a loved one or close friend in the service of our country is reading this. I just want you to know that this American appreciates, with all my heart, those who have died so that we may enjoy the freedoms of this, the greatest country that God has ever allowed to exist.
This is a question that many answer in the negative. what is an"good speaker"? It's actually someone who connects with the audience. There is a difference between a "good speaker" and someone who can influence opinion while speaking before an audience of any size. I think the better terminology would be"good influencer". TED talks can be found on youtube.com. As you observe the speakers, you may notice that the presenters, by and large, are not what people would call good speakers. However, they do persuade. Most of them actually read a prompter with a narrative that was written with feeling and passion for the subject. The subjects usually fit the presenter. They are very comfortable with their subject and have great conviction about the subject matter. That conviction is projected to the audience. I have presented to audiences of all sizes and on various topics. The response from the audience has varied. The subjects I am most passionate about have received the best audience acceptance. My performance must be respectful of the time that the audience has invested. They are taking a certain amount of time out of their lives to listen to what I have to say. I must deliver a message that has value. If it has no value, even the best presenters will not connect. Subjects that are presented by passionate speakers are always well received.
My speaking history began with a passionate disdain for speaking, however, I knew that my career was dependent on overcoming my fear of presenting. Accepting failing grades in school in order to avoid a 2 minute book report was normal. I failed an entire year of English because of my refusal to present. So, I am no stranger to this phenomenon, but the embarrassment of failing is worth the achievement of improvement.
When presenting your practice, remember to discuss those elements of what you do that you are passionate about. Tell stories that illustrate your passion. Your audience will connect.
The 7 Ways Retirees Crack Their Nest Eggs seminar has gotten a lot of inquiries. There is some confusion about what it does and why it works so well with consumers. Other seminars that have been offered have not delivered very well in their actual content. The consuming public is wary of promises by the Social Security seminars, for instance. Quite frankly, when it comes to Social Security the options are now obvious and the consumers get that. When agents continue to mail about a subject that can't be changed it is obvious to me that whoever shows at the seminar will feel as though they may have been misled. It can create some problems for future seminars also.
When you offer a seminar that covers a range of topics, any one of which, if handled incorrectly, could become a financial problem, then the attendees feel that they can get some real help. That's what 7 Ways does. Also, when you take a shot at one major topic, if that one fails it's very hard to switch to another topic after the fact.
When you actually make the appointment, it has a better chance of going somewhere as the planning is offered.
The new version of the 7 ways Retirees Crack Their Nest Eggs seminar is now available. The new updated version of my classic presentation features seven concepts that every retiree needs to consider. The seminar leads a prospect to an appointment and a natural fact finding opportunity. This seminar allows the presenter to open doors on all of the clients' possible concerns. Then in the fact finding interview the presenter will be able to uncover the client's weakest financial hotpoint and address those concerns. This seminar is supported be y a complete system that I created. It is the seminar that brought in over $100,000,000 of annuity premium in just six years. Take a look at the 7 Ways seminar. It has consistently received a very good response in all markets.
Sometimes it's very difficult to present a seminar and offer complete disclosure. It's almost impossible to cover all of the details of what a professional does in a practice creating documents or selling products. However, there is a way to avoid lack of disclosure. Telling stories about the use or failure to plan well can be very powerful and can avoid the necessity of explaining the comprehensive details of how to implement the plan. Seminars are definitely powerful and can get your point across, but too many technical details can put an audience to sleep, figuratively, or at best confuse them into indecision. Stories about people are always welcome and are enlightening and even entertaining. They should be used profusely. A seminar audience will always love a good story, but they may not care for how the product works.
I was told a story by a car salesman. He said that a little old lady arrived on his lot. He greeted her and proceeded to show her around. After explaining the features of a particular car she liked, she became quite irritated. She asked if the car would get her safely to her grocery store and to church. The salesman assured her that it would. She told him to stop wasting time and write it up. Lesson learned. An old Dale Carnegie saying still holds true. "See Jim Jones through Jim Jones eyes and sell Jim Jones what Jim Jones buys".
We were wondering why attendance has spiked. Carol and I have had several discussions and our conclusion is that since the stock market is doing so well, maybe folks are more open to more information. In any case more people are coming to seminars. I thought that the day when we saw a 2% response was long gone, but an agent out west just had 115 reservations on a 5,000 piece mailing. Astounding! We haven't seen those numbers in over 8 years. He is offering a modest meal at a Bar B Q restaurant. Others in New England and Ohio have gotten great results. There are still some tougher areas, but all areas are seeing a surge.
You have probably figured out that referrals don't just happen. You have to make them happen. Here's a video that explains how to really get it done. I made this video addressed to attorneys. It works equally as well with financial advisors.
There has been a great deal of debate over how to close the seminar. It's imperative that you don't allow people to leave without an opportunity to make an appointment. If a meal is not offered, you will have to rely on them being self motivated. Their motivation is dependent on how much of a sense of urgency has been created in the seminar. Without a sense of urgency your proposal to do business is extremely passive. Also, you will have little to no opportunity to talk to people before they leave to evaluate their interest level. Calling the next day will lose a significant percentage of people who would have made an appointment if compelled to do so. All of this leads to my real reason for offering a meal. It gives me a chance to see the attendees for a couple of minutes to discover their level of interest, sense of urgency, need, and ability to invest in their future. You will also be able to assess their trust level. Also, you can help them past their reluctance to meet by assuring them that questions can be answered without cost, but solutions require an investment of time and some resources.
Closing your meeting without asking for a decision is a symptom of close reluctance. It is caused by fear. Fear of opinions, fear of rejection, fear of offending, etc. You must put that to rest. If what you do is of real value to the consuming public there is nothing to be fearful of by asking for a decision for something as non-aggressive as an appointment.