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What Top Producers Believe About Success

As we looked for ways to help you achieve success in 2018 and beyond, we decided to “pick the brains” of a few advisors who know a thing or two about success. Here is what a couple of them had to say.


Success Hinges on Passion
Thomas W. Young

One of the most effective ways you can sustain a high level of production and success as an independent advisor is to shift the focus away from your bottom line and toward your clients’ best interests. Your clients’ financial well-being and literacy should be your chief concern. Aim to educate them and build meaningful relationships.  With a focus on client service, the goal will be their success, which in turn can bring you success as well.

True success in the financial services industry likely hinges upon passion on both sides of the relationship. As an advisor, you’re passionate about helping clients protect their finances. Likewise, most people — especially those who work with an advisor — are just as interested in attaining financial security. People from many income levels generally have the same financial concerns; they face the same financial problems and obligations. By using the right tools to get your prospects’ attention, you can show them their financial goals are within reach.

Client education is the first step toward establishing a strong, lasting relationship. Once clients understand money management basics, you can work together to find money they lose out on unknowingly and turn that money into a stream of retirement income. Key concepts, such as efficiency of money and cash flow, can help clients take control of their financial lives on a granular level.

I help clients approach their family finances in the same way the chief financial officer tackles a company’s balance sheet. It may be in everyone’s best interest to get rid of debt. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “good debt.” Not only does debt draw funds away from retirement plans every month, but financing costs also drain purchasing power. Once all debts are settled, money previously budgeted for monthly payments can be funneled into financial planning and retirement. From there, clients will be better capitalized to potentially secure their futures with the products or investments that make the most sense for them.


Identify a Niche Market
Danny O’Connell

Passion and the pursuit of what you love are the cornerstones of success in business. I let passion guide me to open my own practice and develop my support system. The tactics we used to achieve our preliminary goals have scaled our practice growth and are instrumental in creating a continuous referral pipeline. Similar methods can be adapted and applied to any growing practice.

Start with a targeted goal as your primary focus. Identify a niche market segment or geographic focus area as a way to streamline your energies. For example, I targeted my new practice to serve small businesses in the greater Dallas area. I provide employee benefits such as 401(k) plans and life and disability insurance to locally based businesses with five to 100 employees.

Tailor your communication to your clients’ unique perspectives. It helps to put yourself in your clients’ position and view products through their eyes. To attract entrepreneurs as clients, I address their most common concerns, such as cost control, employee retention and their competitive edge in the market. Employee benefits are a cost-effective way for entrepreneurs to add value to the bottom line and operations. Once you identify it, articulate your key differentiator in a way prospects can understand. Help them comprehend the basics of your services and earn their trust as a partner who is looking after their best interests.

Cultivate a supportive culture within your practice, and work with your team to achieve a defined mission. Share your passion and goals with your employees, and let them know how they fit into your overall plan. It’s best to connect one-on-one with employees to discuss goals and motivate growth. Your staff will look to you to maintain the culture, and, over time, you’ll need to make changes and investments to stay on track. Once the team has bought into your vision, they will be instrumental in helping you achieve success.

As your practice and your team grow, you’ll find you are making a positive difference in the lives of your clients and employees and in your community. I’ve learned that success itself isn’t the most important thing; rather, what’s most important is the meaningful impact you make on people’s lives.


Thomas W. Young, CLU, ChFC, is a NAIFA member and a 24-year Million Dollar Round Table member, with Top of the Table and Court of the Table qualifications. He is the founder and president of 1st Consultants, and is a certified life coach and human behavior consultant. Thomas may be contacted at [email protected]

Danny O’Connell, MBA, is the CEO of Next Level Insurance Agency, which focuses on employee benefits, life and disability insurance, and retirement planning. He has served on the NAIFA-Dallas board since 2013 and on the NAIFA-Texas board for the past two years. He is also a life and qualifying member of MDRT, with seven Top of the Table qualifications and one Court of the Table qualification. Danny may be contacted at [email protected]

Danny O’Connell is CEO of Next Level Insurance Agency, a Dallas-based agency specializing in employee benefits, executive benefits and retirement. Danny may be contacted at [email protected] danny.o'[email protected].

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