Monday, June 28

Business canvassing is not a bad way of promoting one’s insurance business.  Usually.  When the temperature is over 90 degrees by 10:30 in the morning and the humidity is extremely high, as was the case today, it’s not just a bad thing, but a horrible thing.  After just over an hour of visiting businesses not far from where I live, I was completely drained.  Every step outside felt like wading through a swamp of steaming water.  The agent with whom I was doing the canvassing noted that he had grown up in India, where temperatures of 110 degrees were commonplace for months at a time and air conditioning was nonexistent, though he admitted that the very low humidity made things at least semi-tolerable.  I was glad when the canvassing was finished and I headed into work for the usual Monday group meeting.  It was around noon by this point and traffic was moving smoothly.  At the meeting, I found out that my group of 12 agents will be divided into two teams for the month of July and will compete against each other for the most new business.  Have to see how that plays out. I left for home around 4:30 and had to deal with some fairly congested traffic much of the way.  The 25-mile trip took about 45 to 50 minutes, which I suppose isn’t too terrible.  Once home I called a number of prospects, and it should go without saying that I got voicemailed each time.

What with the heat of the day I was just too run down to go to the gym.

Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 4:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, June 27

I finally  got around to doing the leg work I should have done on Thursday.  For some reason, however, I didn’t have the motivation to do a full session with trap bar deadlifts and SLDL’s, and instead just did machine work.  Better than nothing.  Precor leg extensions: 8 x 205, 8 x 210, 8 x 215, 8 x 220, 3 x 8 x 200.  Hammer Strength seated leg curls: 4 x 8 x 185.  I then did 30 minutes on the stationary cycle at 18.8 mph.  As for non-gym activities, I really needed to do some yard work but it was just too hot and humid.  It can wait.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, June 26

Today was my birthday, and I got a pretty nice present in the form of a decent sale, the oft-postponed one mentioned in yesterday’s entry.  The other agent called me at 9:30 and said we were on for ten, which occasioned a bit of scrambling on my part as it’s just about a half-hour drive away.  It was a somewhat more complicated transaction than usual because there were three parties involved. The policy itself is on a 17-year-old, his mother is the policy owner, and his father is the payor.  During the course of the hour-long appointment a question arose that required looking up information on XYZ Insurance’s site.  As neither me nor the other agent had brought computers, we hadn’t anticipated any need for such, another family member lent me her iPad.  To my surprise the much-maligned device was very easy to use.  Much easier than using my cell phone’s browser, which I what I would have had to use without the iPad.  It’s not as if I’m going to rush out to the Apple Store and buy one, but I don’t quite see why they’ve come in for so much criticism.  After leaving the house I talked briefly with the other agent about my recent sale that the underwriters had rejected.  Coincidentally it had been just a few blocks away from where we now were.  The other agent, who has been in the business for several years, confirmed my suspicion that the most likely reason for the rejection was the youthful applicant’s familiarity with non-legal refreshments. 

I may be a year older but I’m not any more decrepit, judging by my late afternoon gym session.  Bench press: 6 x 135, 4 x 185, 4 x 205, 11 x 3 x 225.  Now that I’ve gone beyond the 10 x 3 at 225, I might try it at 235, at least for some of the ten sets.  Neutral grip pull-ups: 2 x 5, 2 x 4, 2 x 3, 2 x 2, 2 x 1.  I had been planning on doing T-bar rows but a group of three or four people were hogging the appartus, so I decided to do pull-ups instead.  Hammer Strength shrugs: 4 x 10 x 320.  I finished the session with 20 minutes on the stationary cycle at 18.8 mph.

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 3:06 am  Comments (2)  

Friday, June 25

Today was a step in the right direction after yesterday’s glum spell. After going into the office around 9:30 to do some paperwork, a trip late enough to miss any significant traffic, I went off to do some business canvassing in a reasonably upscale Suffolk County community.  This was my first time doing this type of activity solo.  It wasn’t too bad, most of the merchants were at least moderately courteous and accepted the handouts I was offering.  One key is to be in and out as quickly as possible.  My pitch is more or less as follows: “Good afternoon, I am from [XYZ] Insurance, I happened to be in the area on an appointment [a white lie, to be sure], and I’d like to introduce myself to local merchants and see if I can be a resource for them.  Here is my card and some information about the insurance and financial services we offer.  I won’t take any more of your time, have a nice day.”  And then I’m out the door, the entire process having taken a matter of seconds.  It’s unlikely that more than a very small percentage of these merchants will end up doing business with me, but as the training staff always says, sales is a numbers game.  The more merchants I visit, the better the chances that I’ll get some business from my canvassing activities.

Today’s good news wasn’t over.  While I was at the gym I found out via telephone call that a much-delayed sales appointment is back on for tomorrow.  This is the appointment which I’m commisssion-splitting with another agent.  Even with the split commission it should be a fairly decent amount of money, with my share being more than the entire commission on the rejected sale.  Yay.  As for the gym, I did 50 minutes on the stationary cycle at 18.9 mph.

Published in: on June 26, 2010 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, June 24

More or less a day off today.  I didn’t go into the workplace, though I made some phone calls -voicemailed each time, of course. Between the rejection of the application I wrote a few weeks ago and today’s telephone woes my mood was definitely on the low side.  In fact, I was so glum that I couldn’t get motivated to go to the gym for Leg Day.

Published in: on June 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, June 23

Call today a classic case of good (or good-ish) start, bad finish.  I caught the tail end of morning rush hour on my way into work but all in all didn’t have too bad a time.   There was a slowdown in the Exit 56 area that looked at first like it would be a long one, with traffic coming to a dead stop for a couple of minutes, but then almost as quickly as it began it ended.  Usually, a more-than-momentary dead stop means that traffic is likely to move slowly once it gets going, but not today.  The trip took me about 40 minutes, compared to the no-traffic 30 minutes, which isn’t bad at all.  After doing some paperwork I went with another agent to do some more business soliciting.  We began with a followup in the same small upscale downtown area where we were last week, and then went to a slightly larger and more middle-class downtown to do some more soliciting.  It seemed to go okay, no bad attitudes or anything, but it’s also the sort of business activity with a fairly low payoff rate in terms of leading to sales.  If I get one sale for every 25 business visits I’ll be well ahead of the game.  One out of 50 is more like it and one out of 100 would be entirely possible.  Still, what with the commission structure in the industry, that doesn’t necessarily mean that business solicitation is a bad thing. 

Speaking of bad things, I was most displeased later in the afternoon to find out that the underwriters have rejected on medical grounds an application I wrote a few weeks ago.  It’s very surprising, as the applicant was only 19 years old and certainly looked healthy enough.  Even the fact of an outright rejection is surprising.  When medical issues arise, the underwriters more commonly “rate” the applicant, in other words put him or her in a higher risk category that requires higher rates.  Flat rejections generally happen only in the cases of older people with significant chronic conditions.  One thing that might have happened in the present case, and would indeed have resulted in an outright rejection, is that the applicant was found to be, ahem, on familiar terms with Colombia’s best-known export product.  I’ll never know the exact reason, and while this was an inexpensive policy with a commission to match, every little bit helps … or hurts, as the case may be.  I was not in a good mood when I left work, fortunately I didn’t encounter any traffic troubles.

Gym: 45 minutes on the stationary cycle at 18.6 mph.

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, June 22

No rush-hour traffic worries today.  I left for work about 9:15, which meant that I was able to miss the worst of the traffic.  In fact, westbound traffic on the Expressway zoomed right along, although for some reason it was much heavier in the opposite direction. Once I got into work I learned to my dismay that I probably would have been better off dealing with rush hour traffic.  Monday evening I had found out via e-mail that is going to be a major publicity event not far from where I live in mid-July, and it will feature activities that should draw in potential customers – not just mere solicitation, as had been the case with respect to the ill-fated event of this past weekend.  All I had to do is pay some money to one of the managers to reserve my slot.  Unfortunately, when I went to her office about 10, a sign on the door said that all nine slots at this event were sold out.  This must have happened within the past hour.  In other words, had I arrived at nine rather than ten I probably would have been able to participate in the event.  It never occurred to me that it would have sold out so quickly.  As a bit of consolation I signed up for a couple of different events, which aren’t likely to be quite as productive as the one I missed out upon but still should be decent enough.  I also did some paperwork and left around 4:15, too late to miss all of the afternoon rush hour but early enough to miss the worst of it.

Gym: some productive upper-body work.  Bench press: 6 x 135, 4 x 185, 4 x 205, 4 x 225, 3 x 235, 2 x 245, 1 x 255, 4 x 225.  It was good to up the weights in this manner.  T-bar rows: 8 x 160, 2 x 8 x 165, 8 x 160.  I wanted to do some shrugs, but after waiting over ten minutes for a group of people to finish using the Hammer Strength machine I gave up and left.

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday, June 21

I had to be into work fairly early this morning, which meant that I was driving right in the middle of rush hour.  Usually I drive toward its end, when traffic tends not to be too bad.  Today it was, indeed, too bad.  Suffice to say that it was not a pleasant experience.  During a group meeting at work I tried to bring up the failure of the weekend’s much-anticipated publicity event.  What I was hoping for was a post-mortem examination of just what went wrong so the mistakes aren’t likely to be repeated.  Nothing of the sort happened, there seemed to be no desire on management’s part to discuss the issue.  Even so, I’ve got some ideas about what to do and what not to do for similar events in the future.  It looked as if I was going to be in the middle of evening rush hour too, but I was able to get out just early enough to avoid the worst of the traffic.  My trip home took about 35 to 40 minutes, as compared to over an hour for the morning’s trip.  Once I got home I made some calls, but of course got voicemailed every time.  Now, one would think that if a prospect were no longer interested, after having gotten multiple voicemail messages from me, he or she would call me to inform me of that fact and in the process stop further messages.  Logical, right?  Of course it does not work out that way, due to the fact that no one ever returns calls from insurance agents.   Before starting this line of work I never quite realized how utterly illogical people really are.  Now I have no doubts.   On a much better note, however, I sold a policy in the evening.  It was to a person I knew, and not located too far away.  It’s a relatively small universal life policy, with a modest commission, but any commission is helpful.

Gym: 40 minutes on the stationary cycle at a nice pace of 19 mph.

Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, June 20

Not much to report today.  Another day of being too lazy for the gym, and when I got to the event around 4:45 to pack up I found that the agent who was working the booth had gotten precisely zero leads all day.  She had worked with me on Friday with a similar lack of success (and similar to my lack too), so it wasn’t that she had no idea of what to do.  This event was just the wrong venue for straight-up solicitation.  A hard-earned lesson, not to mention a rather expensive one.  If it was any consolation, I found out that just about all of crafts vendors had done very poorly too.  For instance, the woman in the next booth sold just one piece of her handmade jewelry all day.  The event may have been packed, but most attendees seemed interested only in the rides and games, and in the food booths to some extent.

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, June 19

What. A. Fiasco.  I was scheduled to do the 4 to 11 shift at the publicity event.  There was plenty of time for me to go to the gym beforehand, but I was too lazy.  In any event, when I arrived at the event one of the two early-shift agents (the other had just left) told me that they had had a great deal of trouble with the canopy when it had been some gusts of wind earlier in the day.  But by then it wasn’t too windy and I didn’t think there’d be any more issues.  Wrong.  Within an hour of my arrival the wind picked up again.  It got so bad that the canopy nearly blew over and upended the adjacent vendor’s display.  I actually had to hold the stupid thing down with one hand, which made it difficult to speak of any people and collect any leads.  Not that there was much to collect, the two agent on the morning shift having gotten only two or three despite the fact that the event was mobbed.  During a brief lull in the wind I let go of the canopy to look in the carrying bag to see if there were any stakes. Well, there were four pouches that held stakes … and three of them were empty.  Using one stake would be useless.  The wind soon picked up and I was back to holding the canopy.  Staying there another five hours holding the canopy would not be in the realm of possibility.  If I took the thing down there be nothing to mark our spot except a small table, and I figured that such a sparse display would not reflect well on XYZ Insurance.  Combined with the fact that this simply wasn’t the sort of event suitable for insurance solicitation, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and folded up the loathsome canopy and left the event around six.  Soon afterwards I texted the agent who was working on Sunday and suggested that she bring some sort of stakes for the canopy.  It was not a happy drive home, as this much-anticipated event was rapidly turning into a flop.

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 4:09 am  Leave a Comment