Need To Do This Better

Its 1st of July today and this also marks the start of 2nd half of year 2015!

Came across this quote the day before from the MDRT facebook page (they do a daily quote of the day) and decided this would be more than apt to start off July with ……

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Putting in place proper work processes and system (and making it stick) has been 1 major work/business goal of mine for year 2015. As we go into the 2nd half of 2015 …… by my own standards/expectations, still quite a fair way before it reaches the level of refinement that I will ideally like it to be. Definitely a timely reminder for me to ramp up my efforts on this area of my work/business!!

Tuesday Musings: Your Baby Is Ugly

Came across another interesting sales motivation/self-development article from one of the newsletters that I subscribe to.

http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/11/21/your-baby-is-ugly/

This article rings hollow to a certain extent as part of my work involves telling prospects/clients the ‘truth’ – as versus to telling them what they want/like to hear.

Selling Financial Services involves a certain degree of responsibility and well-being to your prospect/client’s financial health.  Thus some truths may be hard truths – be it they are overspending, under-insured, not saving and investing enough towards their retirement, not taking action on their financial goals etc.

Often than not, there is a conflict between having to sell versus engaging the client to do what is right/fit and proper for themselves. A very good example that I encountered recently will be – will you just give the client a Universal Life Plan (just because your friendly banker has proposed it) to simply close off the sale …… or spend some time to helping and guiding client through the facts and bringing the focus back to his/her real objective – retirement income planning. Do note that in this instance, doing the Universal Life Plan is more lucrative and an easier short cut than properly guiding the client towards his/her real needs (retirement planning) which may be a very long and educational process as what I am experiencing right now …… before even seeing the fruits of the eventual ‘reward’. Eventual reward in this case goes beyond the product to be eventually taken up, as the main objective ultimately is to see client having a secure income stream for retirement, and of course a happy and satisfied client whose real needs are met.

This particular extract rings true as well ……

Great salespeople tell their clients the truth. They believe that by telling the client what he needs to hear, no matter how uncomfortable, that the client will trust them. The better salesperson knows that the client needs to understand the changes they need to make, why they need to make them, and how to make them in order to improve their results. 

This of course applies to engaged prospects who are prepared to open their minds to your ideas/suggestions.

Bottomline – I want to be a Financial Planner who tells the truth, and not a planner who simply says what the client/prospects wants to and likes to hear just to win their favor.

Goal Setting & S.M.A.R.T Goals

As updated in my last 2 blog entries, did goal setting (as a branch) 2 weeks ago ….. and subsequently managed to find time last night (or rather this morning before bedtime) to complete the booklet.

Given it was back to regular PPI / focus group after combined branch goal setting the week before …… and Hari Raya Puasa (public holiday) last Monday …… and a good 3 weeks since we met up (as a small group) …… 1st half hour of the session was dedicated to taking about weekly activity commitment and tracking.

In fact, as I was filling in the booklet last night/this morning, I sort of had a mild epiphany. More often than not, we continuously set goals, only not to follow through on them as we get distracted by many other stuff going on in our lives, thus forgetting about the goals we have originally set for ourselves …… and losing focus as a result.

One common recurring theme that I hear more often than not is the phrase called S.M.A.R.T Goals. When broken down, it means:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

More detailed explaination of each component can be found here – http://topachievement.com/smart.html

Setting goals and writing them down is not difficult. In fact, writing them down is the easiest part of the entire goal setting process. It is following through them, keeping to them and actually acheiving them that is the most challenging/difficult. Simple case in point – how many a time when we were all enthusiastically writing down our new year resolutions at the beginning of each new year …… but only to totally forget and lose track of them as the year goes along, and when we reach year end, bemoan what is NOT done.

Not only that, just writing them down, as much as it is the very 1st step is not good enough. As per the S.M.A.R.T formula, first things first, the goal(s) written must be Specific. Can’t comment on others, but for myself I finally realised many a time, my goals/resolutions ‘fail’ because they are too general, and lack a timeframe (to be done/acheived).

For instance, just saying “I want to lose weight” …… “I want to plan for retirement” …… is not enough. There has to be a timeline (by when) …… a target result (how many kilos, how much $$) – which comes under the 2nd M – Measurable. If we do not keep track, how are we supposed to know how close are we to our set goals right? Tracking and keeping regular updates on our progress is also another key component that we fail to do. So end of the day, if we end up as ‘headless chickens’ feeling like we have acheived nothing, it is more important that we take responsiblity for the lack of commitment in tracking 1st, rather than blaming the environment and external circumstances for our ‘failure’.

This is also what happened to me as my lack of enthusiasum resulted in me slacking off my tracking/monitoring …… thus my year end banding goal fell short of expectation. Lesson learnt on my part! And not just work. Like what CP has shared on more than one ocasion on her weight loss experience, tracking her food intake, exercise output and measuring her weight daily – the consistency of these activities day in day out meant that she was successful in her weight loss goal. Definitely something we can learn from and apply as well.

As I write, doing the S and M components right would mean that the A component i.e. Attainable is acheivable as well. And of course they must be Realistic. As highlighted in the link above, a realistic goal is one which you are both willing and able to work towards.

To give a very specific and real life example. In the course of my work, I always hear clients/prospects telling me they want to save and invest for retirement, only not to follow through using lack of time, no mood as excuses not to take action. Generically speaking, saving and investing for retirement sounds simple enough …… but how as a financial planner are you supposed to be able to guide your client/prospect towards this ‘simple’ goal when they are unwilling to do the following:

1. Commit a cash flow amount for saving/investing
2. Refuse to do up a basic Income & Expenses data sheet after saying they have no idea how much they save
3. For those who say they need time to think about it, they end up chucking it aside, using no time as an excuse. A common thread is also that there is also no timeline/time commitment on their part to get this done-up as it is up to them only when its convenient and when they are in the mood.
4. Refuse to engage in further discussion – either not picking up calls, responding to emails, refusing follow-up appointments etc. In my view, this is 100 times worse than being risk-averse and not having much left to save as it is irresponsiblity and rude-ness at its core.

So how am I suppose to ethically advise a client, be considerate to ALL their needs (they will tell you they don’t want to buy too much insurance because they need to set aside for retirement and property purchase. Fair enough, so where is the cash flow breakdown??) …… and yet a simple thing as Net Income, Net Outflow and Net Savings also don’t want to give …. don’t want to engage ….. so basically these people are just wasting our time giving opaque and unrealistic goals given how totally unwilling and unable they are to work on it.

And the last T – apart from it being Timely (grounded within a specific time frame) …… it should also be Tangible. A tangible goalis one where you can experience it with one of your senses – be it taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. Rather than going into such sensory aids, I would say, if we can see results/things happening by the actions we take …… we are 1 step closer to the goals that we have set out to acheive!

But of couse in order to see the results that will keep us motivated towards reaching our goals, we have got to do our basics right i.e. the S, M, A, R before the T comes into play.

So at the end of the day ……

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Ending Off The Week

We have a 5 week month again (since 1st July began on a Tuesday and 31st July is on a Thursday). So we have 1 more week before July comes to an end! Before that a long weekend as Monday is Hari Raya Puasa.

Struggled with a bad bad cough for the good part of last week …… to the point that there was hardly any focus/meaningful energy put into work matters – which meant that work activities took a great backseat. Mediocre/lousy week overall 😦

And so started off the week with combined branch Annual Goal Setting Day!

This is the 4th year in a row we are having it as 3 branches combined. So in a way, it does feel like going through the motions all over again. Didn’t feel good through out the day, as the roaring cold air-con in the Training Room kept making me cough and cough *argh* However one good thing about this year’s programme was that there was significantly less ‘sponsored’ talks (from various product providers which we are obligated to give airtime) as we only had 1 provider for the entire day …… and more sharing from the company’s senior management + adviser sharing. Which made the day a more meaningful one than expected. Despite feeling slightly negative about it from the onset, at the end of the it, now I feel more motivated to not just fill in the booklet, but also integrate it together with the daily tracking as per our weekly branch PPI (focus group) format. Task for the weekend!

In addition to being sick, also felt irriated about my long bangs …… and so, went down to my regular salon in Bugis to get it trimed. Decided against an overall hair trim as I may want to do it in HK instead. So another item down! Then did a quick catch-up with JT at Paris Baguette in Bugis Junction – the space where Paris Baguette is used to be where J.Co donuts were. Quick a shocker I must say as the whole B1 of BJ got re-modelled for the upteenth time ……

Since I still had signs of niggling cough upon waking up on Tuesday morning, decided to lug my laptop to office so that I can go back to office to catch up on some work after product launch in the afternoon. Nothing majorly eventful …… but got to know 2 reps from O branch better as we went to have lunch at Level 7 A Office 🙂

After having my sleep disrupted by incoming whatsapp throughout the night and early in the morning, decided to go back to sleep,thus skipping A sales gym (2nd session that I registered and subsequently skipped) ….. and ended up waking up at 1115 hrs! That’s grossly late for once and thus my day started late. Was eagerly to get back onto pace where work is concerned so decided to head into office, and probably stay late for once. Reached Tanjong Pagar MRT a little after 2 …… and since I am sick of eating the same old stuff at Amoy, decided to just walk the other direction to Tanjong Pagar Market & Food Centre as there should be less crowds post lunch. And so, finally got to eat this stall (which always has long quenes for its fish/seafood/fish maw soup) ……

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Had the seafood soup together with noodles (they use instant noodles kind of yellow mee). The soup is light and delish, and for $3.50, its a steal. Will be back to try the fish maw and abalone soup next time.

Back to my usual Thursday routine – early start and my usual spin class on Thursday evening. Managed to make some calls to finally get some work activities going and finished up a blog rant (on my private financial blog) on a troublesome client which has been in the drafts folder since the week before. Took things easy as it was a Fat Burn ride …… but at least it feels good to be back doing some proper exercise after that troublesome cough 🙂

Had to do appointment preparation so was back in office on Friday afternoon …… which makes it a full 5 day week in office (including Goal Setting)! Somewhat unplanned but strangely in a way, I’ve got more done as compared to the past couple of weeks (which co-incided with my slump). This calls for a rethink in planning out my work week and office time, hmm …… Food for thought indeed! Ironically was pretty unhappy with my average/mediocre chickren rice lunch so went back to the mini steamboat stall for my favourite Salted Vege With Beancurd & Meat Mini Steamboat set for a great warm comforting dinner (which is also great value for money at $4.50 only) to end off the evening.

Woke up on Saturday morning to an incoming whatsapp from a MIA client. Pleasant surprise that as ironically, I had the same client on my to-call list, which I have not gotten down to contacting yet. Guess we will get in touch after the Hari Raya Hols 🙂 …… Sunday meeting got postponed to the following weekend though, but well, still glad I did the necessary prepration work the day before (Friday) and not waited to do only after confirming timing – because it is better to do your job properly without rushing through and cutting through corners as I take pride in a job well done. After much thought, decided to get 1 sms sent out as well …… done my part, leaving the rest to faith/the person up there.

On a more positive note, finally managed to find a block of time in the morning and finally managed to get my weekly motivational audio done up. Gained great insights once again – particularly on buildng tiny habits. From my experience with calling and setting meetings/appointments this week, I realised that I will greatly need to increase the calls made …. to get more meetings/activities going. And so, the ‘tiny habit’ I’m going to work on for the coming week is to have a long specific list of people to call …… and gradually overcome my caller’s block. And also, the importance of ending off the week well. Thus 1st things 1st – will wrap up all outstanding items before Sunday comes to a close, rather than drag it and carry foward to the next week, which is a bad habit of mine.

Last but not least, 2 beautiful background shots from the momentum dashboard on my Chrome browser to end off the week!

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Ironically for both dashboards, they both end off with the same quote:

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity no matter how impressive their other talents. – Andrew Carnegie

Timely Reminder :)

Have been ‘grinding’ away ever since my return back to Singapore post hols!

Before I continue on my Japan travel entries & more photo loading on Facebook, a timely reminder from one of my all-time favourite motivational gurus Brian Tracy on the most fundamental mission for my business / work ……

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Next up – need to speed up on my activities as well as planning for the 2nd half of banding year. Unlike this time last year, I have 1 month to ‘grind’ and get myself back into the thick of things – with new plans and new goals to focus on for 2014 and beyond!

6 Things Really Productive People Do

Got this from GoalsOnTrack

A timely reminder for myself 😛

6 Things Really Productive People Do

By Kevin Daum

Have you noticed that some people just seem to accomplish tons and still appear happy and relaxed? Here are six tips for becoming more productive.

People often ask me, amazed, how I manage to do so many things. Aside from writing two columns every week, I speak regularly, travel, create videos, manage my business, write books, consult with five companies, network, socialize, cycle, run, read, cook, sleep six to seven hours a night and have dates with my wife. Oh yeah, I watch a lot of television while hanging out with my dog as well.

Okay, I know it sounds ridiculous. But accomplishing my preferred future requires this level of activity. I have the same 24 hours in a day that you do, but I have made specific choices that allow me to make the most of every day, and still feel happy and relaxed. Perhaps these tips will help you make the most of your time as well.

1. Pick Your Priorities

Make choices about the activities in your life. With most endeavors, you can either go deep or go wide. Focus on spending time that for you is fun and productive. If you like big families, have them, but recognize up front that kids require time and you’ll have to choose a lifestyle that supports quality time with them, for you to feel satisfied. I chose the life of a consultant because I like to work with companies, but don’t want the life of a big company CEO. My choices are based on the lifestyle I want.

2. Go For Efficiency

You don’t do everything well. The things you do well usually give you greater joy and require less time. Don’t take on something with a steep learning curve if you don’t have the available bandwidth. Design your life to meet your wants, and recognize when to say no to opportunities that are outside the scope of your desires. Live your life by design, not default.

3. Integrate Your Activities

Many people go crazy trying to figure out how to spend time with friends, family, work, play, etc.  Stop trying to balance time between them all. Find ways to enjoy them in a combined manner. Build your social life around people in your work environment. Find people in your company who share common interests and develop your career around the people and activities you love. If everything is out of synch to the point where you feel pulled and stressed, a change is likely imminent one way or another.

4. Actively Manage Time-wasters

Social media, family, friends, employees, co-workers and general whiners all under certain circumstances can suck precious time from you if you let them. Budget your time for necessary activities. Make a choice to limit non-supportive interactions that don’t energize you. As for social media, it can easily be a black hole for time and productivity. Use it appropriately and sparingly as a tool to support your endeavors and social needs, but lay off the Farmville.

5. Be an Active Learner

You would think learning takes more time from you, but actually there are always new tools and new ways of doing things that can save you time on mundane tasks freeing you up for your priorities. Always be looking for a new way to gain back an hour here or there. Just try it and dump it quick if it starts to drag on.

6. Lighten Up

No need to beat yourself up if you can’t do all the things you want because you are handling other stuff that needs attention. It happens. The world won’t come to an endin most cases just because you left a few things undone. Celebrate progress and keep refining toward a happy productive existence. This is why making lists and crossing off items is a staple in any productivity handbook. Every completion is a small victory that adds up in a big way.

Tom Hopkins Article

Came across 2 articles from Tom Hopkins (P/S: He’s a sales teacher/guru) earlier.

Understand Your Potential Client’s Fear When Selling Financial Services (link here)

Thought the above article is pretty apt as I go into the last ‘cheong’ lap before banding year closes off in June. F.E.A.R can be such a stinker at times isn’ t it.

As mentioned in the article, there are 2 aspects to FEAR.

From the salesperson’s point of view (Extract):

” What do salespeople fear? We fear saying or doing things that may halt a potential sale.”

This is very true. Despite this year being my 10th anniversary in this business, I still have this fear from time to time.

From the client/prospect/potential’s point of view (Extract):

” The prospect is initially afraid of you …. They have a fear of making a mistake …. They fear being lied to …. Many people are afraid of losing face …. Your decision-makers may have had bad past experience with a salesperson or with a product like yours …. Their fear may be based on third-party information ….. “

Very often, what holds people from making a decision on what they need to do is the fear (of being sold something not suitable), being lied to (ties with 1st point),bad past experience (understanable) but third party information (i.e. misleading comments from friends, loved ones, blogs, mass media etc.) is the worst of all as it is very hard to overcome objections when someone’s idea is already fixed and not open to other ideas.

The very last piece of advice as below:

” You must be prepared to do whatever it takes to replace any fears they may have with confidence in the decision they’re making and in the service you will provide.”

I suppose this is more straightfoward rather than always saying “Have I addressed your concerns?” – which sounds more diplomatic!

Need to be mindful of this …… starting from now!