Hegna's Hotseat

If I Was Your Coach



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hy do professional athletes have coaches? Right before and during the game, when emotions and nerves are high, it’s easy to get off course. Coaches can see what players cannot. They can help the players prepare for the opponent with a game plan and focus on what’s most important. It’s the same in financial services. Before an appointment, you need to have a pregame warmup, you need to get your head in the game, and you need to be prepared for each unique situation. You need to already know which products might be the most appropriate to present, which questions to ask, and what objections are likely to come up. Asking a prospect or client for an appointment is asking for their time, and their time is valuable. Let me show you how coaching can make you the most prepared person in the room.

In the National Football League, before each play, a coach gets only a few seconds to relay the call to the quarterback. In that small window, the coach has to convey the play for all 11 players on the field. He needs to see holes in the defense and try to match his team’s strengths against the opponent’s weaknesses. Let me be your coach for a moment. Spend 15 minutes before you next appointment re-reading this blog post. The first action you need to do is get focused on the person you’re about to meet. Get your mind in the right place because each client has a unique situation. I always suggest starting an appointment with a client by building an emotional connection. Think about what you already know about the person and their interests. If you’re meeting in someone’s home or office or in a public setting, look for visual cues. Marv Feldman suggests talking about photographs, plaques, trophies, citations, art, awards, or sports memorabilia. Starting the conversation casually, while focusing on emotional connections, can get someone to open up and reveal their needs. Ask questions about what is important to them. You’ll also need to be prepared to discuss how you can help solve their problems so you don’t waste your prospect’s time and so you move toward closing faster.

As your coach, let me ask two simple questions to help you understand the basics about your prospect. Is your client single or married? How old is your client? These two tiny pieces of information give me exactly what I need to create your game plan. For example, if you’re preparing to talk to a couple in their late 60s, I can tell you they are probably in the last few years before retirement if they haven’t retired already. I can help you focus on the right questions to ask them. They will soon see that income is more important than assets in retirement. When it’s time to talk solutions, show them how an income annuity can generate more income than their CDs and is more reliable than even a diversified portfolio. If they lost money in the market but still want to invest, you might show them how to transfer some of the downside risk of the market to an insurance company with a variable or index annuity. Show them that the sequence of returns risk proves that losing money right before or after retirement can decimate their plan.

People in their 60s are often tempted to claim their Social Security benefits at age 62, but remind them that, in general, the breadwinner should delay to lock in a bigger guaranteed monthly paycheck for the rest of both of their lives! Then, show them how life insurance can protect their spouse’s Social Security benefit. Ask about their family because their parents’ plan could negatively affect their own. This is where a long-term care plan can fit. Many of your prospects will be thinking about leaving a legacy and estate planning, so make sure they have wills and show them how a trust is the most tax-efficient manner to transfer wealth. There are several products that could benefit this type of client, but it’s up to YOU to train up and be the expert when presenting them.

After a football coach relays the play to the quarterback, that’s it; the rest of the responsibility lies on the professionals. It’s up to YOU to execute! Time your warmup just right so your client arrives when you’re focused entirely on them. Once you know the game plan, you should go back to training on the specific parts of that plan. Every top producer uses training, coaching, and education together. Take ME on every appointment with you as your coach with the coaching module of Tom Hegna on Demand. I’ll pump you up before your appointment, tell you which questions to ask, and suggest specific products to present for your client’s unique situation. There are even training modules for you to brush up on those specific products if you’re a bit out of practice. Call 1-855-866-4346 (TOM-HEGNA) for a free preview of the coaching module.

See you at your next appointment!
-Tom Hegna

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