“You are not alone.” This is the message that was most recently brought home to me by a somewhat difficult case I had to deal with. Brokers are typically on their own. But am I really on my own? Let me tell you about a recent case and how my relationships helped me earn business.
I had a prospect — a business owner —who was about to go on Medicare. I found that he had some expensive prescriptions and an allergy to the inexpensive stuff. I set out to find him affordable coverage. After a bit of searching my routine options, I knew this person would be out of luck with the standard products.
This is where things get interesting. After 15 years in the business, I’d cultivated a group of people in the industry I can call on to help move my thinking outside the norms. Napoleon Hill called this group of people the “mastermind.” A mastermind, in Hill’s definition is, “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
I had help. I had people I trusted whom I could call for advice about the problem at hand. Here are the people who represent the mastermind I used for this business:
» My business partner. I have never really been alone in my work, and I would not be here today if I had not been in business with her. I’m not even sure I’d want to be. She keeps the job interesting. The problem in this circumstance is that she knows everything I do. She had no new ideas I had not already thought of, but she is also my first point of contact every time I need a new idea or a second opinion.
» My independent marketers. Most insurance companies strongly encourage us to offer their products through independent marketing organizations. Those IMOs make sure we get questions answered, we get back-office support and we get help when we need it.
So I placed a call to my rep among the IMOs I work with to explain the situation to them. They might have something that could solve the problem, or they might know of an existing product’s feature I didn’t know about.
» The companies. There are a couple of companies I can call directly. I was able to contact some reps and explain my problem to them. They had nothing I had not thought of already, but the fact that I can call in for a direct answer to a tough problem is quite helpful.
» My professional associations. These are the hidden gems of my mastermind. I am a member of NAIFA and the National Association of Health Underwriters. NAIFA meets locally every month. If you are not part of a professional organization, you’re missing the biggest component of your mastermind: other local people who are in your position. Are they competitors? Well, some are, technically. But when the NAIFA sign is lit, we help one another and share ideas, tips, and advice.
So at our last meeting, I asked if anyone had an idea about my client’s situation. It paid off! One person suggested I contact another member who did not attend the meeting that day. They had a product that would work to reduce my client’s drug costs. And because of a combination of factors, including what the client did for a living, this colleague was able to contact the company to confirm the costs and copays. And we were able to apply for reasonable coverage. Now, I have a happy client!
That’s how masterminds work. Over the last decade, I have been able to find groups of people who can help me win tough cases that I would not be able to solve on my own. If I need a sales tip, I know who to call. Product help, I have a guy for that. Special circumstances? What’s special for me might be routine for someone else.
The one thing a new advisor needs more than anything is a network to go to for help. Knowing who to talk with is not only key to the business you want, it also helps to expand your horizons. And expanding horizons will grow your business.