Monday, May 31

No gym today.  There was just no way I was going to be able to make it early enough to accommodate the noon closing.  I can understand that hours on a holiday may be limited, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be some nice civilized hours like noon to 6 pm, or even 9 am to 3 pm.  In other holiday-related news, I had vowed that I was going to take today completely off from work.  That vow came to a crashing end, however, when I checked my e-mail and saw a name from the leads service.  As it’s necessary to move quickly on these things I called the prospect and had a decent conversation.  If this one does go through it would involve policies on both spouses, which would mean a double commission for only a slight extra amount of work.  Between checking my e-mail, running some figures before calling, the call itself, and a follow-up “thank you” e-mail, I did about 35 to 40 minutes of work.  Guess that’s not too bad.

Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 8:37 pm  Comments (1)  

Sunday, May 30

Another mall kiosk shift today, but a short one.  As I suspected, there weren’t many customers in the mall and I wasn’t having any luck in getting prospects.  On Tuesday I’ll be doing a day shift, have to see how that will be.  In any event, I left early enough today to get in a quick gym session before closing.  Bench press: 6 x 135, 4 x 165, 4 x 185, 4 x 205, 4 x 4 x 225.  This isn’t really the progression as called for by the program I’d been using, but it seems to be working okay. I’m not sure whether to go for more reps on the first set or two at 225, or to go for more sets of four.  I also did some T-bar rows, 8 x 135, 2 x 8 x 145, 8 x 150. Tomorrow the gym’s only open until noon.  I’d like to do some running on the treadmill, but not being much for morning exercise it won’t be easy.

Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 29

It’s the holiday weekend.  A time to scale down the pace of life, with picnics and barbecues and leisure activities.  Work?  That can wait to next Tuesday.

Well, at least it’s this way for most people.  As it would have been for me, back in my 9-to-5 days.  But now, as an insurance agent working on commission, things are very different.  Today in fact was a very busy day for me.  It began around 10:30, when I spoke on the phone with a prospect, the same one whose mother I spoke to yesterday.  He wanted to go through with the purchase, and asked if I could come over at noon.  The family lives about 25 to 30 minutes away from me, coincidentally just a few blocks from the house where the other agent and I had a sales call last week.  I had a blank application form with me but had to download some others from XYZ Insurance’s site and print them.  For once the printer was working okay, and I made it to the house, forms in hand, right at noon.  The sale went smoothly, Mom did almost all of the talking, and I left about 45 minutes after arriving.  Because it’s a relatively small term policy for a young person, the premium is quite low, and as my commission is a percentage of the premium it’s not like I’m going to run out and buy a Lamborghini to celebrate. Still, every sale helps.  Another prospect whom I’ve been trying to reach is a middle-aged smoker who is looking for a million-dollar policy.  If I ever sell that one my commission will be very nice indeed.

I came home after the closing and made a very quick trip to the gym.  I had wanted to deadlift, but not wanting to deal with loading and unloading a barbell (an awkward process) I used the Hammer Strength deadlift machine instead.  It’s a reasonably decent substitute for the real thing.  I did 6 x 240, 6 x 280, 6 x 330, 6 x 380, 2 x 6 x 400 … yes, doing a particular weight on this machine is a whole lot easier than deadlifting the same amount with a barbell!  A bit later I then went off to the mall for another 6-hour shift.  On a busy road along the way I saw what had to be the strangest roadkill of all – a horseshoe crab.  Those primitive critters don’t crawl very far from the water, yet this one had met its maker at least three or four miles from the nearest salt water.  As for the mall shift, the six hours felt more like sixteen, but I got a couple of potentially decent leads.  One is a man who has a fairly large universal life policy with another insurance company, but is dissatisfied with both the company and the way his policy works.  It’s going to take some research on my part to come up with possible alternatives for him.  When I left the mall at almost 9:30, I had one final surprise, namely the heavy traffic on the Sunrise Highway (Route 27).  It was almost at rush-hour levels.  No idea why.

Published in: on May 30, 2010 at 3:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, May 28I

It occurred to me that I was actually a bit lucky yesterday.  My original plan had been to get another, more experienced agent to accompany me to the trade show.  It was a good thing no one else came.  Had I been with another agent, only to see the “no soliciting” sign in the lobby – well, that would have been mighty embarrassing.  Today was actually a semi-day-off, as I’ll be doing two long mall kiosk shifts this weekend.  I went into work around 10:30 and stayed for only a couple hours.  There was a slight delay on the way in due to some crash rubbernecking, an activity which neatly illustrates human idiocy and herd=like behavior.  It scarcely even qualified as a crash.  Why, then, do drivers have to stare at the scene as if the Secrets of the Universe were about to be unveiled?  Coming home shortly after noon was easy, and I then did some work over the telephone. I managed to get in contact with a prospect – or, more accurately, the prospect’s mother, who is paying for the policy – and if all goes well I might get an appointment over the weekend.  I also went out and bought some shoes.  Up to this point I’ve been sort of the antithesis of Carrie Bradshaw, at least as far as dress shoes are concerned; rather than a closet-full, I’ve got just two pairs, and one of them is so worn I hardly ever wear them anymore.  At least now I’ll have two decent pairs.

Gym: a triple-play session, a 2-mile run on the treadmill at 5.2 mph, followed by 15 minutes of ellipting, followed by ten minutes on the stationary cycle at 18.1 mph.

Published in: on May 30, 2010 at 2:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, May 27

A month or so ago I found out about this major trade show that was scheduled for today.  Over 200 different businesses were scheduled to have exhibits and thousands of visitors were expected to attend.  I had looked into getting an XYZ Insurance booth, but the price was too high (over a thousand dollars, with electricity and Internet extra).  According to the sponsoring organization’s website, however, it would cost only ten dollars to walk the floor and “network” with the exhibitors and other attendees.  I figured it might be a way of getting some leads, so I gathered a stack of business-oriented literature.  As my efforts to get another agent to accompany me proved unsuccessful, I ended up going alone.

Well, I almost went.  Right in the lobby of the exhibition center a large sign warned that all business solicitation by attendees was strictly prohibited.  I did not get that impression from reading the sponsor’s website, had that been the case I wouldn’t have gone at all.  Now, if I were an independent agent soliciting business in my own name, for placement with various carriers, I might have risked going into the conference and doing some low-key soliciting.  As a so-called captive agent, who solicits only for XYZ Insurance, I could not take that risk.  A couple of thoughts later occurred to me.  First of all, it might be the general rule at trade shows that only people who pay for exhibit space can do any soliciting.  I’ve never previously attended a business trade show and therefore wouldn’t have known about any such rule.  In addition, I have to admit that the policy is fair – if I paid over a thousand dollars so I could solicit business, I would not be pleased to see other people doing the same thing after having paid ten bucks.  In any event, I hadn’t paid anything, and the exhibition center wasn’t too far from me, so it was no great loss.  I went back home and did some work over the telephone.

Gym: some upper-body work in the late afternoon.  Bench press: 6 x 135, 4 x 165, 4 x 185, 4 x 205, 3 x 4 x 225.  Not quite the routine I’ve been following, but close.  Neutral grip pull-ups: 4 x 4.

Published in: on May 29, 2010 at 1:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, May 26

Got quite a decent learning experience today.  The day started out with a relatively quick trip into work, leaving around 11 and returning at 3:30.  Both of these trips were outside rush hour, though on the way in I encountered some construction delays near Exit 57.  This was one time when using the service road would not have been a good idea, as paving work on the north service road created long lines of crawling traffic.  After returning, I did some work on the computer before heading off to a sales appointment.  It was based on a solicitation the other agent made at the mall when we were there last weekend, and because we had both spoken to the prospect he had agreed to split the commission from any resulting sale. I met him outside the prospect’s house, which wasn’t far from the mall.  Now, new agents like me usually go on sales calls accompanied by managers or one of the trainers.  Today I had the rare opportunity to go on a call with a veteran agent who’s sold hundreds of policies over the years.  Needless to say, he knows just about everything there is to know about how to close a sale, and hopefully I was able to pick up on some of the tips.  For technical reasons we weren’t able to close the sale and will have to return next week to finish the work.  That shouldn’t be a major issue, as the agent said that based on his experience he had a very confident feeling about the transaction and is quite confident it’ll go through.

Gym: I wasn’t in much of a mood to run, but I did 45 minutes on the stationary cycle at a pace of 18.7 mph.

Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 5:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, May 25

Excessive gasoline use was today’s theme. I had hoped to keep my carbon footprint (please excuse the ridiculous if trendy expression) quite small by working from home on the telephone and computer.   Alas, I had to make a relatively short trip into work, leaving shortly before noon and returning around three.  That’s 50 miles of driving, or about two and a half gallons of gasoline … yes, I am well aware that a Subaru should get more than 20 mpg, but reality is another story.  At least I missed rush hour both ways, and I actually saw a couple of cars beat hasty retreats from the HOV lane right at 3 pm as the restrictions went into effect.  That is, I’m assuming that’s why the drivers got out of the lane, it’s possible there were other reasons, but the first explanation is more amusing.

I went to the gym around 4:30, earlier than usual, but we were going out for tapeworms sushi in the early evening so the gym schedule had to be adjusted accordingly.  After a week off I went back to weights, doing upper-body work, and my concerns about having lost ground proved totally unfounded.  In fact it went just as if there’d been no break.  Bench press: 6 x 135, 4 x 165, 4 x 185, 5 x 4 x 205, 4 x 3 x 225, 10 x 175.  I’m still trying to follow the routine I began about a month ago, though how careful my adherence actually is, well that’s another story.  Then came back work.  T-bar rows: 8 x 115, 8 x 125, 8 x 135.  Neutral grip pull-ups: 4 x 4.  Only after leaving the gym did it occur to me that I’d forgotten to do shrugs.

By the way, the sushi was excellent, and not quite as wormy as usual.

Published in: on May 27, 2010 at 4:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, May 24

Another one of those days when I manage to miss rush hour traffic both ways.  I went into work in the mid-morning, late enough that the risk of traffic delays had largely passed, and returned after the evening rush hour had ended.  It was good timing, not actually intentional on my part.  Among other things during the workday I set my June schedule for working the kiosk at the same downscale mall where I’ve been this month.  The way the pick sessions work is that agents work in pairs, and they agree on the times they select.  The agent with whom I’ll be working (not the same one as this month) wasn’t present during the pick session, so I had to choose the times myself.  Whether or not she’ll agree with my choices, I can’t predict, but with her not present there was no alternative to having me make the sole decision.  I decided to try some weekday sessions, figuring that it’ll bring a different crowd than on the weekends and, hopefully, will lead to better results.  One thing I checked into is whether the kiosk could be relocated to a more central space in the mall, but unfortunately that wouldn’t be possible without a significant extra charge.

Gym: somewhat of a setback, I wanted to run at least 2.5 miles but totally ran out of steam after 1.5 miles, at my usual pace of 5.2 mph.

Published in: on May 26, 2010 at 2:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, May 23

Another mall shift, this time for just a few hours.  Not too productive but I wasn’t counting on much. A bit too worn out for the gym.

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 22

Another shift at the mall kiosk.  This one was a bit more productive, as we got a sales appointment for next Wednesday.  If the sale goes through I’ll get half of the commission, shared with the other agent who is working the kiosk with me, but as the old saying goes half a loaf is better than none.  From what I’ve gathered the mall kiosks aren’t a huge source of income, on average most agents get one or two sales per month, but given the modest cost of working the kiosks it’s worthwhile.  Working with an experienced agent also helps because I’ve gotten some interesting tricks of the trade.  If only this particular mall weren’t so downscale …

Gym: I wasn’t much in the mood for running, but ellipted for 30 minutes at a pretty decent pace.

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 2:19 am  Leave a Comment