One of our carrier partners visited a couple of weeks ago, and I talked to the wholesaler about her friend who is an ultra-marathoner, running more than 100 miles in races. We also talked about my running, which had been reduced because of some hip pain I began experiencing. At that point, I was only able to run one or two miles before my hip hurt so much I had to stop running.
The wholesaler mentioned a shoe I’d never heard of before – the Hoka One One. She had me look it up right away, and at first glance, I thought it looked like a heavy brick you would attach to your feet. She talked about the cushion and explained that her friend was able to complete long runs comfortably since moving to this shoe. I remained skeptical. I’d been loyal to the same brand and same shoe for the past seven years of running. Every other time I tried a new shoe, I got blisters, foot pain and hip pain, so I always ended back in the same model as before.
Reluctantly, I decided I had to try something to help my hip, and there was specialty running store where I was going to be staying for the weekend. I purchased the Hokas – they were the most expensive running shoes I had ever purchased. However, they are incredibility comfortable. In the prior 30 days, I had only been able to run about 20 miles total due to the pain. In the first week of wearing the Hokas, I’ve been able to run 11 miles comfortably. I’m back to increasing my mileage, improving my times and enjoying my running.
I share this experience as an example of, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I was locked into one shoe because I had success with it previously. But, my body has changed – as do economic environments, client expectations, client goals and purposes of monies.
We have to be more open to looking at alternatives. Even slight adjustments or updates can greatly enhance our chances for success. Instead of thinking about your old, comfortable shoes, try to think about how the new, improved, better chance for success shoe could help you. I challenge everyone to change their mindset, be open to new ideas to help clients, and be focused on finding solutions instead of remaining in their comfort zone.
The Bottom Line: We get comfortable with the way we do business. Challenge yourself to think differently, act differently and create different results with clients using different strategies.
Recently, I read an article from Yahoo Sports about former Indiana Pacers player David Harrison. After earning $4.4 million in four seasons with the NBA, plus some time overseas playing professionally, the 32-year-old basketball player is nearly broke. We’ve heard about these scenarios before, but this story exemplifies why financial illiteracy is like a cancer. It does not discriminate by wealth. It does not care about race or gender. Simply put, not understanding your financial situation and circumstances can ruin your life.
Harrison can’t even work at a local McDonald’s restaurant, not for lack of trying. Customers recognized him – it’s difficult to miss a 7-foot person taking your order – causing them to ask questions and end up taking 40 minutes to order, according to the article. So he had to leave McDonald’s. Banks foreclosed on his home and tried to repossess his car, and he still provides for his infant son. He says he can’t even afford to finish the final 16 credit hours needed to earn a degree (he left college early to play in the NBA). Needless to say, his life now is extremely different from his life when he was playing in the NBA.
Even though most of us won’t be retiring from the NBA, this example shows the importance of having a reliable stream of income when your main source of income stops – no matter your age or profession. It’s something that’s all-too-often overlooked. I’m sure Harrison would appreciate having some level of steady income right now. And, he probably wouldn’t care about the rate of return on that income – he would be more focused on the bills he could pay instead.
The Bottom Line: Financial literacy begins with education and planning. Understanding income needs and potential pitfalls could help your clients avert many hardships later in life.
Back at the end of the NFL season, I remember listening to a sports broadcast discussing the similarities of the four franchises in the conference championships. All these teams had something in common: infrastructure. It’s an important ingredient for success in sports AND business.
The host pointed out that each team had built a championship contender through various methods: free agency, the draft, retaining talent through long-term contracts or some key trades. Two teams had MVP quarterbacks. Two other teams had rising quarterbacks. Some teams relied on the run more than others, and a couple relied heavily on the short passing game. The methods were different, but all led them to winning.
If you’re going to succeed in business, you need to find a way to build (or partner with someone that has) infrastructure around you. In the financial services industry, you need to have:
If you don’t have the resources to reinvest in your business today, then you should partner with organizations that can help with the above areas. You might find that their partnership is more valuable than having a single person on staff, and it may be more profitable to outsource many of the infrastructure needs listed above. If you’d like more information about creating an infrastructure around your office, give us a call at Ash Brokerage.
The Bottom Line: Successful teams and businesses have outstanding infrastructures surrounding them. Great producers focus on activities that solve client problems, while others handle the non-revenue activities.
The definition of change is to convert or transform. Essentially, we all change year after year as we continue to transform as humans. But real, meaningful change might be better described as virtuosity – the development of great skill or mastery. So, what does it take to become virtuoso?
Becoming a virtuoso starts with one question: Am I resolved to be the best? If you are resolved to be a virtuoso, you have a purpose or intent to be the best. In doing so, you will do the things necessary to become the best – regardless of time commitments, money or effort. That is a clear difference to just changing.
As an industry, we have to be resolved to improve the client experience with underwriting, application processing and overall experience. We must commit to making the industry better, and do so in a manner that deploys financial resources, intellectual capital and time commitments from all levels.
We have to change our mindset from just change – because we are changing for the sake of change – to being resolved to make our industry a virtuoso industry. It has to be one that new talent views as a premier place to build a career, where clients seek information and don’t rely on “robo-investing,” and where we deliver true value to clients.
The Bottom Line: Re-think change to become a virtuoso, and remember the first step is redirecting our mindset.
Contracting is a single word, but it covers a broad scope of responsibilities. To an advisor, it may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, but our team focuses on making these necessary steps as easy as possible for everyone.
To begin, we validate that the agent has an active appointment with the state in which they are writing business, and that they have the necessary the line(s) of authority on their license for what’s being written. Then, we process the carrier-specific contracting documents and ensure all required courses have been completed for continuing education and product training.
Finally, we setup the appropriate commission schedule and contract hierarchy with the carrier to ensure the agent is paid correctly on the business being submit through Ash Brokerage.
Our dedicated contracting team works hard to understand and maintain the most-up-to date information related to carrier and state requirements – we’re happy to help you navigate through the process. Our advisors can also access our custom database, which lists specific carrier and state requirements and provides links to carrier training portals. It’s a valuable tool we provide at no cost to advisors.
The Bottom Line: Contracting doesn’t have to be complicated. Let our team help you through this process so you can get on your way to getting your case in force.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.