4 Tips for Surfing the Barrel

By | July 20, 2016

These days, when the government starts to even hint at changes in legislation, advisors have a hard time resisting the urge to turn their backs on the wave and paddle as hard as they can to outrun it, not realizing that they might accomplish far more by paddling into it.

Having to make a pivot or adapt to a new set of regulations can interrupt cash flow and slow growth, which we touched on my last article. At the same time, we have to be open the idea that a change could actually create more opportunities for new business if we are willing to endure the growing pains and rethink some facets of our business.

Advisors in the qualified plans space recently saw this happen with MEPs (multiple employer plans). From the government’s perspective, advocating for this plan option was a way to allow smaller business to pool their resources so that they too could get access to the investment opportunities of much larger corporations. The swim-for-the-beach mentality could see this as unnecessary government meddling and perhaps a frustrating new layer of complexity.

The advisor willing to see the opportunity in change, however, would see this as a new business opportunity. Piggybacking on the government’s vocal advocacy, this advisor now has a new way to engage new business owners as well as their current clients.

Change does not have to be bad. And that goes for all advisors, including life insurance.

The best way to position yourself to capitalize on new opportunities is to build your business around the inevitability of change. Instead of clinging to your way of business as it is now, design it to be malleable. Put some wax on your board and get used to looking for the sweet ride through the barrel of the wave that other struggle to catch. This is what a change-positive advisor shoulder consider incorporating into his or her business:

  • Update your messaging. How often do you revisit the stories you tell to prospects during the sales process? Regularly evaluating your process and challenging yourself to stay current can keep your sales process fresh and engaging. Your messaging should help you standout, so what is cutting edge today might not necessarily be cutting edge tomorrow.
  • Pay attention to product changes. Regularly reading industry news or participating in industry groups can help you to anticipate and account for changes ahead of time. Like your messaging, your products should never feel stale.
  • Plan to endure. Advisors fear disruption because it could mean a loss of revenue, which then destabilizes their businesses and their lifestyles. To give yourself more freedom when times are tough, set aside some resources during your high points so that the low points won’t feel so extreme.
  • Growth should be consistent. We often see advisors cancel trips to conferences or shutdown their marketing when a disruption hits the space. In sports, you don’t pack up your gear and go home when the other team gets a lead. You buckle down and play harder. The answer to winning the game isn’t to stop playing, so don’t stop your growth efforts.

Each of these suggestions are in themselves opportunities for creating new business. From how you communicate to prospects to how you prepare your business internally to handle disruption, you can position your business to outshine your competitors. When they trot out the same tired old story, you are telling a story that aligns with current circumstances. When they pitch a dated product, you can talk about your commitment to innovation. When they are counting pennies during a downturn, you can focus on action because your financials are squared away. When they pause their marketing efforts to wait out a tough period, you are meeting with new prospects and growing your business.

While the rest of the industry is trying to get away from the wave, you can stay out in front. Not only will you not get crushed by it, you can outpace everyone else who is trying to get by on paddling along.

This article was originally published by LifeHealthPro in March of 2016.

Photo by donaldmctim used with permission under creative commons license.

About the Author/Host

John Pojeta

John Pojeta - Vice President of Business Development

John researches new types of business and manages and initiates strategic, corporate-level relationships to expand exposure for The PT Services Group. John came to The PT Services Group in 2011. Before that, he owned and operated an Ameriprise Financial Services franchise for 16 years.

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