Over the years, I have attended many financial advisory meetings in Ireland, England, Canada and the USA and even once an unforgettable all-expenses paid trip flying over many of the beautiful Greek Islands to the wonderful island of Cyprus where I gave a talk to their financial advisers. I know what you are thinking…Yes of course I was brilliant.
I have also listened to many wonderful speakers at the many Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) meetings that have I attended over the years where all the speakers gave us their nuggets of wisdom. In fairness, most of the advice given was sound and solid.
I don’t attend too many of these meetings outside of Ireland now but, reflecting back over the last 40 years or so, I wondered to myself – what were the three best business ideas that I had heard from all the meetings I had attended over the years? Funnily enough, two of them came from the same source; a speaker called Dan Sullivan who ran the Strategic Coaching course in Toronto. The third idea came from a man called Mehdi Fakharzadeh who I listened to at my first MDRT meeting at Radio City New York in 1981.
Here are the three business ideas. I hope they are of benefit…. they were all a great help to me!
Number One – How to be Successful in Business:
- Show up on time
- Do what you say you will do
- Finish what you start
- Say please and thank you
Interestingly, some years ago my daughter was on the shortlist for head girl in her school and was asked what she would concentrate on if she was selected head girl. She quoted the above points and got the job!
Number Two – The Frank Sinatra Theory:
I met Jim Barry at an Irish life investment meeting in Dublin recently and he mentioned a very simple business idea that I had given him many years ago that totally changed the way he did business. Back then, Jim was already a very successful financial adviser but was a bit bogged down with administration. I said something to Jim that he never forgot: “Frank Sinatra didn’t get paid to move the piano, he got paid to sing.”
This business idea applies to people who have started their own business. As the business grows, the business owner often becomes more and more entangled in and strangled by the administration stuff that has to be done. As a result, they do not have the time to do what they should be doing which is meeting people, making sales and growing the business.
The solution to the problem is incredibly simple – take on a support person. This will free up the owner and give them back 60% or more of the time the administration was taking from them. Sales should increase by 60% or more because they will be freed up from all the stuff that there was no need for them to be involved with in the first place! This should not be seen as a cost. It will in fact be an investment and could be one of the best investments ever made in yourself and your business.
Jim said that this idea totally transformed the way he did his business. He took on a support person within weeks of our chat and proudly mentioned that all he has to do now is to show up for his meetings with clients and agree with them on what needs to be done. All the preparation and follow up work is done by someone else. Jim, like Frank Sinatra, is paid for what he has a special talent for, not for doing stuff. Jim gets paid for consistently and constantly giving the important advice to his clients and prospective clients on how he can help them to protect their financial futures irrespective of what happens down the line.
If you have reached that stage of administration/strangulation – get help! Perhaps you could get an assistant and maybe, just maybe, your business will take off as a result. If nothing else, you might get the time back to improve your singing or piano playing!
Number Three – Completing a Difficult Underwriting Case:
Interestingly the last idea came back to me recently whilst chatting to Tom Duffy from Mullingar at a CFP seminar at Killenard. Tom mentioned that he had just completed a nice business case directly as a result of a business idea I gave him years ago. It was the same idea that I had gotten from my friend Mehdi back in 1981 in New York. I had shared it with Tom.
Sometimes, when we are arranging Life Insurance or Serious Illness Insurance for someone, special care needs to be taken and really good advice given if that person has a health issue. In this case, raised blood pressure was the health issue. To get this business successfully underwritten is really important because, if someone has a health issue, their need for cover is higher than normal.
Let’s assume we make an application to underwriters for cover and the case is accepted, but the premium has been increased because of the underlying health issue of raised blood pressure. We now revert to our client and we have two options as to how we convey this news to our client – negatively or positively.
Negatively: We go back a little sheepishly and say “Sorry to say that the normal premium has been considerably increased because of your blood pressure problem and if you want the cover you are going to have to pay a good bit more every month for the cover”.
The probable outcome here is that the cover never gets placed.
Positively: “I have really good news for you. I have received first class terms from the underwriters for someone who has raised blood pressure. And not only that but they advised that, because the remainder of the medical information they received was really good, they are prepared to cover you for an additional amount of cover of 25% of what we proposed originally without any further medical information, at the same rates.”
Tom was able to tell me that a recent case he had submitted had gone ahead and that the maximum additional cover that the underwriters had been prepared to accept had also gone ahead.
There is much time and trouble taken in getting a large case underwritten and perhaps even more when there is some health issue. It takes just a few moments more to go back again to the underwriters and ask them what extra cover is possible on the medical information they have to hand.
Can I respectfully suggest to the underwriters that they should automatically include a note with acceptance terms as to what extra cover is possible at that time, if any, on the medical information received.
If you have a good business idea that works for you, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it and you just might get a good idea back that works for someone else. Now you both have two good business ideas instead of having one each. Be prepared to share your business ideas so that everyone will benefit. We are not in competition with other financial advisors, there are so many people out there who need all of us to help them and to advise them on how they can protect their financial futures and the financial futures of their loved ones, no matter what happens down the road.
Ted Dwyer (CFP) Family Business