What investments are you making to ensure your 2017 is your best year ever?
What if I told you there was an investment you could make that would pay off HUGE? To the tune of 32,000% or even more – that story I’ll save for the end of the post.
You’d probably have one of two reactions:
- You might cynically believe that such an ROI is complete hype, and too good to be true. (If that’s you, then I’m not sure you’ll benefit from reading the rest of this post, but I’ll leave it up to you.)
- Your other potential reaction might be “what could I possibly invest in that would yield such an astonishing ROI?”
For those of you chose the second reaction, and are still reading, the answer to your question is a simple one.
What could you invest to yield a truly exponential ROI?
Is that cliche? Maybe – but it also happens to be completely true. Of course, there is a little more to it…
When you invest time, energy, and yes, money into expanding your own knowledge, skills, and value, you (and your firm) can achieve bigger, better results for your clients.
In fact, the real problem most benefit agency leaders are facing today is not related to lower commissions, the ACA, or tougher competition. The real problem is that they don’t know what investments to make OR worse, they’ve invested in the wrong things that had little to no lasting value.
However, when you invest in your own abilities, knowledge, meaningful relationships, etc., you add permanent value that can be leveraged in both the short- and long-term for massive returns. We all intuitively understand this obvious truth, yet so often, we forget or just fail to make the investment in ourselves that will affect meaningful change.
Because change is challenging, and too often, we prefer the status quo of our comfort zone. So let me get real – if you’re happy with the status quo and you believe you’ll be able to maintain it, then you need not read further.
For most of us though, while the status quo may be acceptable for a brief time, we long to grow, to be better, to achieve more, to give more. If this describes you, then it’s time you seriously focus on making the right investments in yourself.
To that end, below are the top three personal investments you should focus on to make 2017 your best year yet. (After this list, you’ll discover a place you can go to access all three effectively and efficiently.)
Business-Building Knowledge – You’re either growing or dying as the old saying goes. Being able to consistently, predictably, and ORGANICALLY grow your practice is vital to your continued success and achievement. But such knowledge is almost never part of a leader’s informational diet. Benefit agency leaders are bombarded day after day with legislative speculation, new regulation issues, plan design options, a slew of new products, services, and solutions to use and/or offer. Yet, the flow of practical and proven information detailing how to actually attract and acquire new clients is quite limited in the industry. I can count on less than one hand the number of real growth experts who can truly help benefit firms grow. So the employee benefits world is quite lacking when it comes to meaningful prospecting and growth strategies.
Management & Leadership Skills – Most principals, partners, and presidents of benefit firms are former successful producers. Inherently, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – in fact, there are some real advantages. However, because most leaders have never been properly or formerly trained as effective managers and have limited leadership experience, most firms suffer from leading what we call The Accidental Agency – that is, a firm that operates and serves its clients often in spite of itself. The most common symptoms are 1) a lack of clear, concise, efficient internal systems and processes, 2) lack of monitoring and measurement of results consistently, 3) suppressed profit margins (less than 30-40%) 4) working longer and harder for little to no more results and 5) difficulty acquiring talented sales producers. Of course, there are other related challenges, but those are most costly and common. Proper management and the ability to effectively lead your firm cannot be thought of as “soft” subjects that have no practical part to play in your success. Quite the contrary, actually, without such expertise and ability, it is inevitable that your firm will maximize it’s level of achievement at a far lower level than would be necessary otherwise.
Meaningful Relationships – As John Donne said, “No man is an island.” Yet, as business owners and leaders, we seem to think that we, ourselves, independently have enough knowledge and ability on our own to do our best work and achieve the maximum results. What is true is that “your best thinking got you where you are” but by accessing others experiences, knowledge, and abilities, you can multiply your own results and success. In our industry (as in life), we learn from mentors and mistakes. And the more we are able to learn from the former, the less we have to learn from the latter. Your network of industry experts and peers will dictate your ability to accelerate your success.
If you stopped reading now (don’t), you’d have three keys to massive success in 2017. For you this may have been a reminder rather than news, but regardless, the information is vitally important if you want to maximize your results this coming year.
Your willingness to invest in yourself will determine how easily and how quickly you are able to achieve your personal and professional goals – that’s an axiom.
With that, let me offer up one more bit of wisdom… There is a place you can go to access all three of these business-changing investments.
This place requires a relatively low investment to travel to, and the ROI is guaranteed to be substantial – it might even be 32,000% like it was for Dan Thompson. This “magical” place is called ASCEND – The Agency Growth & Leadership Summit. This event will be held in Nashville, TN from January 26-29, 2017.
If you agree that investing in yourself in the ways described above would be worthwhile, then you should reserve your seat at ASCEND before the event fills up.
Here’s Dan Thompson’s story he shared with us since ASCEND last January…
Ascend was tremendous for me and Gulfshore!
I want to give you an update on the progress and success we’ve had since – and because of – Ascend. I met Rick Perryman with TrendShift at Ascend, as you know. I have been wanting to do more self-funding. Thanks to making that connection at Ascend, I was able to cold-call and get a meeting with a local 13,000-life school district using Trendshift.
This idea has propelled me into a new galaxy never explored by this agency.
Since then we landed a large publicly traded client (1,200 lives), taking it from USI. We closed a 1,250-life case. Working 1,500 life case that is already sold with Trendshift. Also presented in a county government, 2,600 lives, and a 4,000-life private company. Got in a 1,900-life case that is a non-profit and met with another case, 2,000 lives, in early November. I have five other cases, largest one 22,000 lives, that I am getting Trendshift into.
The momentum is building. Nothing like prospecting with a truly innovative strategy. We are continuing to crush it down here in SW Florida. The party has only just begun.
My personal production for 2016 is over $320,000 and the year’s not over yet! Thanks for the new visions, contagious energy and rocket fuel!
I am already signed up for next year’s Ascend.
We’d love to share your success story next year, so invest in yourself and get ASCEND on your calendar!