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Ideas from the 2023 MDRT Annual Meeting
Ideas from the 2023 MDRT Annual Meeting

Jul 01 2023 / Round the Table Magazine

Ideas from the 2023 MDRT Annual Meeting

Best practices and tips from the 2023 MDRT Annual Meeting.

Topics Covered

Group standout

Facebook groups are free and easy to join, and they offer the opportunity for group members to ask questions and seek help from one another. Whenever there was a financial-related question, I would reply. But I used the skills that were honed over decades and understood that the audience I was addressing was not limited to the person asking the question, but all the other people that would be reading the answer. Some of the questions would get over 50 replies, yet almost all those respondents just said, “Here are my contact details, call me.” They gave no reason why anyone should do so. I usually was the only person who would write several paragraphs that addressed the question, explained the different strategies of achieving the objective and then concluded with my contact details. On these various affinity groups, I have become the go-to financial advisor, and I usually hear of the questions because other people refer me. 

Bhupinder S. Anand, ACII, Dip PFS, London, England, UK, 27-year MDRT member


Create the future view

Seed the idea of two people — your client’s present self and their imagined future self. Ask questions about your client’s future self to make that imagined person as real as possible. Don’t hesitate to be a bit playful: “What would your future self say to you?” Answer: “Why didn’t you think about me? Why did you only think about yourself?” Solidify in your client’s imagination a clear mental picture of their future self and create a dialogue vivid enough to motivate financial decisions. It makes no difference whether their imagined future is affluent — in which case you can discuss how to fund it — or financially stressed — in which case you discuss how to remedy it.

Bruce Alexander, director of Business Imagination, expert on persuasion and reawakening imagination


Be specific

When interacting with clients, strive to answer questions with precision. If a client asks me when a process will be finished, I don’t say it might take about two weeks. Instead, I respond that the task is expected to be completed between April 3 and April 5, and I will inform you of the progress by March 31. This way of expressing is clear and organized and more likely to gain trust.

Tzu-Pin Chao, Chengdu City, Sichuan, China, seven-year MDRT member 


The persistent mission

Do your best to meet with your clients’ relatives and friends even if they say they already have insurance or decline an appointment. If those prospects were one of your loved ones who was about to become terminally ill and you knew they didn’t have enough protection, would you give up? Insurance advisors exist to bring the concept of insurance to everyone around them, so they are fully prepared to face future risks. With persistence, it is possible that you can help an entire family.

Ho Tsz Ying, Hong Kong, China, five-year MDRT member

Retirement stages

The profession is doing a disservice to new retirees if we are assuming that clients need a stable income adjusted for inflation through their retirement years. If we operate with that assumption, we’re not allowing them to spend more money in their early go-go years when they are healthier and have more energy, or we are making them work longer than they need to. In our practice we find that clients only need to increase their income every three or four years, not every year.  When they hit their slow-go years, then they might never increase it again until their health care costs start to rise. We need to give clients guideposts on how much income they can generate in each stage of retirement. It is our job to give them that answer.

Clay Gillespie, CFP, CLU, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 22-year MDRT member



Teamwork culture

The key to workplace happiness lies in our relationships. When we get to know each other better, we work better together. People are eager to talk, so strike up a conversation. Activities for building great teams:

  • Get to know someone quickly, such as a new employee, by asking questions about their interests.
  • Great conversation openers: Where are you from? What was your journey to get here? Where did you go to school? What activities do you like? Tell me about your hobbies.
  • On the job: What are you working on now? What challenges are you facing with this project? 
  • If you’re not sure if someone is retired: What has got your attention these days? 
  • More conversation sparkers: What are you streaming on TV? Have you listened to any interesting podcasts recently? What kind of music do you like? What was the best part of your weekend? Anything good happen in your world recently? Where did you go on your last vacation? 

Barry J. Moline, 25-plus years as CEO, speaker and author of “Connect! How to Quickly Collaborate for Success in Business and Life” 

Smart goal setting

If you want to create goals to motivate you, they need to be structured in a certain way to set you up for success. Most people set fluffy goals, which means defining success or failure is difficult. The purpose of a goal is to pull you toward greater success, so the goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Most people set goals that are too small and too easy to hit. It is better to set a huge goal and achieve 80% of it than to actually hit a much smaller goal. Learning how to set goals that will scare you, but not kill you, is key to achieving more success in life and business.

Charlie Reading, APFS, Rutland, England, UK, six-year MDRT member


Sell the appointment

It’s very important that I do not sell or give a presentation to my client’s friend during the introduction meeting with the client and friend, whether it is at a restaurant, coffee shop or in a Zoom meeting. During this meeting, I only sell the appointment to the client’s friend for our next meeting. Even if the client’s friend asks me about my product and services, I deftly deflect the query and fix another mutually convenient time to discuss this. During the recommendation meeting, the client recommending me should ideally be talking about me to his friend and talk about his friend to me.

Sudhakar Gabriel, Kilpauk Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, eight-year MDRT member


Behave your practice

Top advisors who integrate behavioral finance into their practice report they increased production and revenue and acquired more new clients. There are five steps to introducing behavioral advice to clients: 

  • Build rapport. Rapport is defined as a relationship of mutual trust or emotional affinity that is necessary when discussing one’s behaviors. 
  • Set the stage. Conversation with clients about behavioral finance. 
  • Assess financial beliefs and behaviors. Explore underlying assumptions or beliefs about money. 
  • Values exercise. Discuss what are their values and what is important to them. 
  • Put it in writing. Keep a list of their values in the client’s file and what the plan will be in anticipation of future situations. Outline the behaviors that the client is likely to experience in writing. 

Pamela J. Sams, CRPC, Herndon, Virginia, USA, four-year MDRT member

Tough times

Good salespeople make a living, but great ones understand that we also make a difference. If you don’t appreciate that, it’s tough to keep going when the going gets tough. You don’t spend this much time in any profession without having some tough days, and maybe even some tough seasons. It’s easy to believe that top producers don’t have hard times. The truth is, we have more than most. LeBron James currently holds the record for turnovers in the NBA. That’s not because he isn’t as good as other players. It’s because he gets his hands on the ball more than other players. Top producers don’t get to where they are without making mistakes. We, without a doubt, make more than most. The difference is we know what to do with those mistakes. We know what to do with opposition, obstacles and challenges.

Sol Hicks, Acworth, Georgia, USA, 36-year MDRT member


Cultivate growth

We must strike a balance between servicing existing clients and creating new business, but there is only so much time in a day, and advisors can be torn between these two challenges. But we can accomplish both by using our current clients to bring in new ones. By plowing deeper into our client relationships to understand their needs, we can generate passive referrals. The highest level of plowing, or cultivation, is acquiring our client’s network of contacts, which will make recruiting new business easier.

Poon Wing Chi, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China, four-year MDRT member


Continuous bits of improvement

When I was younger, I used to look for the one big idea that would enable me to be more successful. The more meetings I attended and the older I got, I realized that I needed to give up believing in the magic bullet and that one big idea was going to change and improve my life. The concept of overnight success is a myth. The secret was understanding that hard work, consistency and grit are the key ingredients for achieving our goals, allowing us to do more and to be happier while doing so. Now I know that making small, continuous improvements every day will be compounded over time and give us our desired results. Planning for the long-term future is wise, but I now focus mostly just on the day ahead of me and aim to improve by a small percentage every day.

Jeremy Mark Wellington, Dip PFS, Dip CII, Truro, England, UK, 12-year MDRT member