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The Earned Easy

You make it look so easy. That's the irony of the sales business- the harder you work, the easier it looks. You're a successful salesperson. I know that because sales excellence requires curiosity and thirst for knowledge and you're reading an insurance magazine. As a successful salesperson, you know practice makes perfect. That was one of the things we heard from Michael McIntyre, our featured motivational master this month. He started his own insurance agencies, trained legions of agents, rang up billions in sales and wrote an insightful book on how to do it all-The Authentic Salesman. But before all that, even before his first sale, he practiced for days in front of a mirror. You wouldn't have guessed that he would have needed to do that. He seems polished yet personable, like he's never had a bad day in his career. It seems to have come easy to him.

But salespeople know that's the farthest thing from the truth. Michael said people constantly ask him how sales superstars do it. Simple, "They don't want to do the same things you don't want to do, except they do them." Again, easy, right? Just do the hard stuff.

This reminds me of something sales legend Sid Friedman used to say: always do what you said you would do. He was saying you are only as good as your word. That's true of anybody, but especially of salespeople, who make promises and ask for trust in return. That's not a sale; that is faith that you earned.

Salespeople also often seem to be the most popular folks in the room-never lonely or overwhelmed. Yet another fallacy. As Linda Koco pointed out in this month's cover feature, "Sell More with Less," salespeople are increasingly alone out there, trying to live up to their promises and clients' expectations in a time of diminishing resources.

These are demanding times. We have an economy about as ugly as a University of Maryland football uniform. Even the producers with wealthy clients are competing hard-not only against other advisors, but also the I-want-it-when-Iclick- this-button expectations in this electronic age.

But even more important than dealing with all your challenges is to rise above them. For inspiration on that, you couldn't do much better than this month's Perspectives guest, Joseph W. Jordan, senior vice president at MetLife. He's an important guy with an important message about living a significant life.

Joe was a former football and rugby player and a typical hard-charging sales guy, until one day he realized he lucked into an important profession that can change people's lives. Now he is spreading the word that it is not all about the numbers-the product details, the scenarios, the sales goals and all that. Selling insurance is about saving families and businesses during the hardest days of their lives. You can be the reason a mom and her kids don't have to leave their home and sacrifice their dreams. We all know that more activity leads to more sales, but what motivates someone to pick up the phone time after time and hear no? It is the knowledge that every prospect who says yes is another future that you saved. Does that sound corny? I suppose it does. But I can't see any shame in wanting to be a hero. It's easy-just be excellent.

Steven A. Morelli Editor-in-Chief

Steven A. Morelli is editor-in-chief for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers, magazines and insurance periodicals. Steve may be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @INNSteveM. [email protected].

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