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==== ====Forget the standard way of accumulating commissions put your sales on auto pilot or better yetmulyiply your commissions online with automatic software.http://budurl.com/v2xs==== ====Allen Foster, 39, followed his dad, John, into a lucrative career in insurance."He raised three kids on commission-only income, had total independence and control over histime, made a darn good living...I wanted that for my family too," shares Allen.In 1996, John was able to retire on his renewal commissions-something unheard of for mostcareer producers today.New regulations have not only cut into commission payouts, but corporate politics, ever-changingcommission-structures and rising quotas have led sales professionals to change firms and productlines more often than their predecessors-consequently losing their client base and vested potentialin the process."To say things have changed since my dads days of selling insurance would be anunderstatement," says Allen. "Companies arent loyal to their agents anymore, and in turn, agentsarent loyal to their company. Since 1999 Ive been with three different agencies-and thats lessthan most guys! It sounds unbelievable now, but in his entire 27 years, my dad was with twocompanies!" Allen laughs in disbelief.And the time flexibility he remembers his dad having?"Almost non-existent," Allen states matter-of-factly. "When Im not dealing with corporate politics tohold on to my territory, in mandated continuing education classes, and keeping up on the ever-changing rules and regs of the industry, my time is spent trying to meet with an existing orpotential client."Technology and the internet has led to prospects rarely answering their phones, calls rolling tovoicemail, and sales needing eight to twelve contacts.Add in legislative and regulatory changes in the mortgage, real estate, health insurance andannuity markets, and sales professionals in every industry have been facing an up-hill battle forsome time.And in the midst of all this turmoil, what are sales professionals told to do?Work harder.Which is exactly what most commission-only producers do when the going gets tough.
Commission sales has always attracted a unique breed of sales professional. They are driven,competitive, confident, "think-outside-the-box" people who desire to control their own destiny.Many have backgrounds in competitive sports or the military, and tend to be initiative-takingleaders.But in todays downright harsh sales environment, even the go-getters are struggling."Like my dad, Im really good at what I do. As the proverbial saying goes, I could sell ice to anEskimo if I wanted to. But to make a decent living in the old school way just doesnt cut itanymore. And Ive come to terms with the fact that theres no way Ill see retirement renewals onany of the insurance business I write today. Its tough..."Ron Agypt, vice president of broker sales at Aflac, echoes Allens sentiment. "[Commissioned]agents are definitely feeling the squeeze...insurance companies have already started paying flatfees instead of commissions, and they are getting pressure from clients who are really saying tothem We need more for less."While some commission-only sales careers, like travel agents, have gone the way of the Dodo,others are forced to completely re-evaluate how they do business and get paid.In Idaho, for example, where insurers began paying flat fees a few years ago, one agent told theWall Street Journal that he initially suffered a 20 percent drop in income...Fortunately, due to his "out-of-the-box" thinking, he was able to eventually make this up bydiversifying his product portfolio.In addition to selling his "traditional insurance" services, he partnered with a company to sellvoluntary, non-traditional add-on products to his existing clients; this move also enabled him toexpand his client base into other business industries that had previously been too small for his lineof services and not worth his effort.To make up the lost income most commission sales professionals are used to generating, saysAlan Katz, once president of both the National and the California Associations of HealthUnderwriters, will require that they "take a horizontal approach to change: diversifying yourproduct portfolio so you are selling more products to the same client."And by no means does this relate just to health insurance.In the annuity industry, the low interest rate environment has made business much less profitablefor issuers; new regulation has increased costs leading to consolidation. Because fewercompanies are competing, products are less competitive in terms of rates, commissions andinnovative features.The overall resounding message is clear: Instead of just embracing the masochistic opinion towork harder for the same or less amount of money, commission-only sales professionals muststart evaluating portfolio-expanding services that enable them to offer value to their clients, and beadequately compensated for doing so- regardless of the economy, political decisions, or corporate
politics.Lets examine 5 key distinctions independent commission sales professionals should look forwhen partnering with a voluntary benefits company to fill the gap in their commissions:1. Small Business Niche Market - With insurance brokers across the United States being told that,due to health reform, their small-group commissions will drop by 15 percent starting in 2011, manysmall group producers are moving to mid-sized companies, and mid-sized producers are movingto larger groups.Instead of running with the herd, the smart move is to evaluate how this deserted market can nowopen up opportunity for producers to:• take advantage of less competition• offer voluntary, niche-focused benefits to smaller market segments• fill their commission gapWorking with a company and sales support team that focuses on the small business niche canoffer huge potential to commission-only producers.2. Add-On or Door-Opener Product Line - There may be some commission sales professionalswho decide to leave insurance sales altogether-but most wont. And the truth of the matter is thatmost other commission-only sales professions (real estate, mortgage, advertising, merchant, etc.)arent faring much better...Even though implementation of health care reform is three years away (2014), the reality is thatmany of those painful compensation changes are already being implemented. Attractive,motivating commissions are going by the wayside and being replaced with flat fee payouts.For commission sales producers, this means the time is now to start looking for additional servicesto leverage. Look for services that can:a) Be added-on to existing clients benefits to enhance service value and, in turn, increase up-frontand renewal commissionsb) Serve as an appealing door opener to help commission sales professionals get invited in topreviously closed sales opportunities3. Flexible Work Environment - In todays tech-savvy business marketplace, there is little reasonwhy trainings and meetings cant be done via webinar, email, or iPhone. A sales team thatdemonstrates this work flexibility is key to a vibrant, commission-only sales future.The growing rigidity of the traditional sales environment goes against the very nature of who anindependent commission sales professional is. Give them reasonable goals, motivation, effectivetools, and let them go! Sales is a results-driven activity. To maximize those results requires a workenvironment that is as flexible as possible.
4. Innovative Training - This does not mean training on how to sell. Independent salesprofessionals know how to sell. Innovative training involves providing relevant, up-to-date insightson how to communicate more effectively with your niche market. This could relate to using socialmedia, CRM, email, or other proven prospecting and nurturing strategies that move way beyondold, worn-out tactics.Training that is cutting-edge enhances already well-established sales skills, saves time, andleverages the expertise of like-minded sales professionals. Innovative training helps producers notonly connect with quality prospects, but helps drive more sales and generate increased revenue.5. Renewal Commissions - For most independent sales professionals, renewal income is likeSanta Claus-it existed in one form or another long, long ago, but now, the concept of it has beenhyped-up, twisted, corrupted and devalued.Its true that for most commission-only producers, their companys commission structure, turn-overpolicies, increasing policy rates, and fickle client base has made renewal payouts impossible.But the reality is that, "Yes, Virginia, renewal income really does exist." And with commissions inalmost every field of sales being significantly reduced, independent sales professionals must thinkin regards to short- and long-term financial rewards and partner with a company that does too.Alex Gardner is National Marketing Director at http://UnitedSalesPros.com where hescollaborated for 10+ years with a nationwide group of active, top-producing, commission-onlysales enthusiasts who earn their living making sales.United Sales Pros provides a platform for independent, commission-based sales professionals inany industry to access cutting-edge, relevant, valuable, and applicable resources to help themadvance in their sales career.We invite you to take full advantage of the fresh ideas that are shared onhttp://UnitedSalesPros.com, offer your own commentary and insights, and to suggest topics youdlike to see addressed related to commission-based sales.Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alex_Gardner
==== ====Forget the standard way of accumulating commissions put your sales on auto pilot or better yetmulyiply your commissions online with automatic software.http://budurl.com/v2xs==== ====