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Green means go
Green means go

Sep 01 2022 / Round the Table Magazine

Green means go

Changing the highlighter color increased this advisor's closing ratio.

Topics covered

By Heather Lindsley, LUTCF, RICP

I saw the difference financial planning could make when I was a 30-year-old, stay-at-home mom with a young child. That’s when my dad was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given six months to live.

How financial advisors make a difference

When my dad passed away two years after his diagnosis, the only thing left for my mom was a very small life insurance policy. Thank goodness there at least was that, but that was it. My dad had been an entrepreneur his whole life and never put any money away while my mom always worked hard to help make ends meet. Still, I saw how other people’s lives were different from my mother’s because they had planned better. I just wanted other people to not go through the same hardship that my mom endured after my father died.

I never thought about being an advisor before, but a friend in the financial services profession told me I could do miraculous things in this industry to help others like my mom and have a flexible schedule. I immediately got my license and started with a small firm in town. I had some great mentors along the
way, and I continued to learn.

Mentors who inspire

Mentors are a fantastic asset in this industry. My first mentor is my best friend and someone I can always turn to. I also had another mentor who took me to an MDRT Annual Meeting. It was amazing to be in the room with all these people who were so successful and had ideas that I had never heard of before. And they wanted to help me.

I remember at my first meeting talking to a mentor who asked me what color highlighter I used on client documents. I said, “Yellow.” He said, “Try green highlighter instead. Green means go. It’s going to make your closing ratio significantly increase because yellow distracts people from signing their names. Green means go.”

I went back to my office and changed every highlighter. I threw out my yellow highlighters and bought all green ones. Finding green highlighters was difficult at first but once I did, I honestly can say it made a difference in my closing ratio.

Heather Lindsley, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA, is an eight-year MDRT member. Contact her at hlindsley@woodburyfinancial.net.

5 tips to instantly become more innovative

By Susan Robertson

Using the same tired thinking will lead you to the same old ideas. Instead, do something that will stimulate your brain and shift your perspective. Here are some ways to shake up your thinking.

1. Change your environment.

Get outside the office. Debrief the latest research results or industry report in an art museum. Take your team to the zoo or a local attraction with the objective of coming back with new ideas. If you can’t physically leave of the office, find a way to get out metaphorically. Ask people to imagine how they would solve the problem if they lived in another country or viewed it from the perspective of another profession.

2. Bring outsiders in.

Invite other perspectives. For example, when thinking about retirement planning for clients, bring in travel agents, a retirement community manager and other people who work with that subset of clients. Your team will be amazed at the diversity of new ideas, and they’ll think of ideas they never would have arrived at on their own due to their embedded assumptions about the topic.

3. Engage with your clients.

Don’t rely on data to understand your clients. Talk with them about their lives. Go to their homes or offices to see the problems they need solved. Too often teams will say we already have lots of data, but that usually means lots of reports and statistics. They haven’t discovered any new insight about the clients’ needs. Immerse your team in real client understanding by finding an engaging and interactive process.

4. Question everything.

Challenge subconscious assumptions by first asking for ideas that the team thinks would solve the problem but couldn’t implement for some reason. Then have them reframe each idea by completing the following sentence: “We might be able to implement this idea if …” What follows the if will reveal assumptions that may or may not be barriers. Some barriers are very real, so don’t spend a lot of time on those ideas, but others might have barriers that the team discovers they can solve.

5. Let some crazy in the room.

One way to get new ideas is to start with seemingly crazy ideas. If you only start with ideas that are comfortable or easy to implement, they’re probably not very new. So, encourage people to throw in extremely wild ideas. Then, play “If we could.” Instruct the team to temporarily let go of the problems in the idea and ask, “If we could implement this idea, what would be the benefit?” Once you have identified the benefits of each crazy idea, narrow it down to the most promising few and ask the team to look for viable solutions to the barriers.

Susan Robertson, a creative thinking expert and instructor on applied creativity at Harvard University, empowers individuals, teams and organizations to adapt more nimbly to change. To learn more, visit susanrobertson.co.

How to connect with prospects even when you’re on vacation

By Remigiusz Stanislawek

Compelling online content connects me to prospects and clients 24 hours a day, even when I’m on vacation.

I post a lot of educational information online and after years of doing so, my content now shows up in free, or organic, Google search page results. In addition, I pay for social media ads, such as on Facebook, to direct traffic to my website. There is a range of information about different topics, and some information is not even related to insurance or financial services.

Information before meeting

Whenever someone contacts me, I send them links to several articles or videos that match their interests. I also invite prospects and clients to sign up for a member’s website where I have prominently placed a link so people can subscribe for updates, reports and other content. Often, this information answers their questions, so they don’t need to meet me, which is a timesaver for both me and the clients.

Ready to help

I regularly post what is available this month for investments or what kind of insurance they can buy from me. I don’t sell them anything, and I don’t ask them to buy. I simply keep posting information. Some of my clients are prepared to act the very next day. Sometimes they need more time — months or even years. I’m ready for them whenever they’re ready. Since I don’t need to talk to most of them and I keep posting new information online, it doesn’t matter how many people read what’s online or for how long. It’s the same amount of work for me to post the content.

When some clients need to talk with me and they ask questions about a subject I haven’t addressed yet with my posts, I update my information so everyone can read it. This process can then help others who have the same questions and reduces my client meetings.

Building up business through marketing like this takes time. Once you do, though, a steady stream of new content on your website can create a steady stream of business flowing to you without you having to make any calls — or even be in the office.

Remigiusz Stanislawek is a 10-year MDRT member from Poznan, Poland. Contact him at rs@rodzinnefinanse.pl.