Friday, June 18

Today was a very long day.  In the early afternoon I headed off to the publicity event, which is about a hour’s drive away.  I arrived a few hours prior to the 5 pm start time, as the vendor instructions had required, only to end up with way too much time on my hands.  You see, most event vendors need a couple of hours to set up their booths.  It’s quite surprising to see how long it sometimes takes.  In my case, however, it took just a few minutes.  All I had was a canopy  I’d gotten from the office, a table, and some brochures and other literature.  To my great frustration the canopy did not have XYZ Insurance’s logo on it, meaning that our booth was basically unmarked.  For the next two and a half hours, until the event grounds opened, I had nothing to do.  Once things got going there were many people passing by the booth, unfortunately trying to sell them insurance – or even take any literature – was very difficult.  Neither I nor the other agent working the booth was able to accomplish much.  We had a bit of a chuckle when one man said that he didn’t need life insurance because he was going to live forever.  Strangely enough, within the next hour two other people said basically the same thing. It stretches belief to imagine that three people can come up with the same clever reply.  Chances are that a TV show or movie character used the line, at least that’s my best guess.  I left the event when it closed at 11, and then spent almost a half-hour trying to get out of the parking area.  It was obvious that the mostly teenage volunteers on traffic control duty were poorly trained and really didn’t know what they were doing.  I didn’t get home until around midnight, and was thankful that other agents are doing Saturday’s morning shift.

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Published in: on June 21, 2010 at 1:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, June 17

I spent much of the day scrambling around trying to get people for the weekend’s publicity event.  There’s now complete coverage, though for a while on Saturday night I’ll be working alone rather than with another agent.  That shouldn’t matter too much, as unlike most vendors XYZ Insurance’s table will have nothing worth stealing and therefore I can leave it unattended for short periods.  In fact, the only things on the table will be various brochures and other handouts, and we want people to take those.  I also made some telephone calls in an attempt to set up some appointments for next week, but as usual I got “treated” to an array of voicemail announcements.  Note: cute voicemail announcements (e.g. the one with a Stewie and Brian Griffin dialogue I’ve heard from two separate people) are not cute.  They are stupid.  At least I didn’t have to deal with any traffic delays, being on the road outside of rush hour both ways.

Gym: it’s Thursday, so that means it’s Leg Day.  Nice progress to report.  Trap bar deadlifts: 6 x 255, 6 x 275, 6 x 295, 6 x 305.  SLDL’s: 3 x 8 x 205.  Kettlebell swings: 3 x 10 with a 50-pounder.  Precor leg extensions: 8 x 200, 8 x 205, 8 x 210, 8 x 215.  Life Fitness seated leg curls: 3 x 8 x 192.5.  What with the publicity event, I probably won’t be able to make it to the gym until Sunday.

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, June 16

Something different today.  Another agent and I went door-to-door business canvassing in a small upscale downtown area in Nassau County.  It does not produce immediate sales or quick results in general.  The usual rule is that in the first visit you drop off your cards and some promotional material, and then go back a week or two later to see if any of the business owners want to talk more about your offerings.  Most of the people we spoke to were polite, with one glaring exception: a personal-injury law firm, where the receptionist treated us like we were lepers with Ebola.  How non-surprising.   We did it for a few hours, and next week we’ll go back at about the same time and see what happens.  I might even be willing to do some solo canvassing now that I see how it’s done, though agents tend to do it in pairs.  Back at the office I got another person signed up for the weekend’s major publicity event and picked up a large logo’ed tent for our vendor space.  It was a clunky contraption that surely won’t be fun to set up.  As for the driving to and from work, both trips were (just barely) outside rush hour and quite tolerable.

Gym: day off.

Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, June 15

Today was a considerably better day than yesterday had been.  I went into work just late enough to avoid rush hour traffic, with the trip taking only about half as long as it did yesterday.   Once there, I got quite a few things accomplished, including making arrangements to do some in-person business canvassing with a more experienced agent.  Business canvassing can work well, but it’s difficult to do it on your own without having accompanied another agent at least a couple of times.  We’re going to be canvassing in an upscale Nassau County town that I don’t know well, but which according to the other agent should be a pretty good territory.  I also got a couple of other agents signed up to work at this weekend’s major publicity event.  There are a total of four shifts over a 3-day period, with two agents per shift.  I’m doing two shifts myself and now have filled three others, so three remain to be filled.  It’s not absolutely essential that all get filled, but as I had paid the not inconsiderable entry fee myself the more agents I recruit the more money I will get (agents who participate pay me a pro rata share of the entry fee).  What I’m really hoping, of course, is that I get a decent number of leads from the event.  Attendance is expected to be very high and the weather should be good, so I’m reasonably hopeful.  I ended up spending several hours and work and just beat evening rush hour traffic on the way back.

Gym: Just benching, but it went fine as for the first time in well over a year I did the 10 x 3 routine at 225, for a total of 30 reps at that weight.  6 x 135, 4 x 185 (I omitted the 165 warmup), 4 x 205, 10 x 3 x 225, 12 x 135.

Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 3:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, June 14

Flag Day wasn’t a particularly good day for me.  I had to be in work fairly early and therefore had to deal with morning rush hour traffic.  It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but today seemed particularly infuriating.  Especially the way it would slow down to a crawl, sometimes a dead stop, and then just as suddenly speed up to  near-normal speeds.  Scientists cannot explain these “traffic waves,” and while I’d like to attribute them to human idiocy I must concede that is not the likely explanation.  Whatever the cause, the trip to work took just under an hour, about twice the normal, non-rush-hour duration.  Work itself was a bit discouraging as the Powers That Be pointed out to me that my sales production is somewhat behind schedule.  There is a major production deadline which I must meet, and though it isn’t until early September time does have a tendency to fly.  I’m just going to have to redouble my efforts and try some things that I probably should have been doing but haven’t.  Among other things, I’m going to have to rely relatively more on leads-generation activities and less on paid leads.  Not only do the latter cost money, but I’m getting the impression that even the more highly regarded leads service I’ve begun using has its flaws.  What I suspect is the case is that the leads are being sold to more than the maximum of four agents that the service says.

Another thing that bothered me today is that I was unable to get any analysis of the sale that fell through last week.  It was the one in which the prospect was super-enthusiastic and all buddy-buddy until I asked for an appointment, at which point he gave me the typical “my schedule is totally crazy” nonsense and has been incommunicado ever since.  I am concerned that I did something wrong in the way I asked for the appointment.  When I tried to bring it up at the weekly group meeting no one seemed interested, and I got told that the only thing to do in such situations is move on to the next prospect.  Perhaps so, but I really had wanted to describe the manner in which I asked for the appointment to see if anyone had any criticism.  Then again, it’s entirely possible that the prospect was just a weirdo and I said nothing wrong.  Also on a better note, I was able to make contact later in the day with a few of the people from Saturday’s publicity event.  None of them were able to talk at length and suggested times when I should call back, which is fine because I didn’t get any outright rejections or “my schedule is totally crazy” responses.  I got voice mail at several other numbers, which is to be expected.  With a bit of luck I should get at least a couple of sales out of the referrals, and that will put me a good ways toward meeting the September deadline.  I was able to leave work just prior to the start of evening rush hour and had no particular troubles getting home.

Gym: 30 minutes on the stationary cycle at 18 mph, and then 15 minutes ellipting.

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Sunday, June 13

Very nice bench session today!  6 x 135, 4 x 165, 4 x 185, 4 x 205, 6 x 225, 2 x 5 x 225, 4 x 225.  First time I’ve gotten six at 225 in ages.  Neutral grip pull-ups: 1 x 5, 5 x 4.  Hammer Strength shrugs: 4 x 10 x 320.  T-bar rows: 8 x 160, 8 x 165.  I’m happy.

Published in: on June 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, June 12

Quite a productive day today.  I spent a few hours at a company-sponsored publicity event with three other agents.  We had planned to do Activity A at the event, but for a variety of reasons the most experienced agent thought that Activity B would be more productive.  I deferred to his experience, and it turned out to be a good decision.  Each agent including me ended up with 17 decent-seeming leads and a few longshots.  I hadn’t been expecting nearly that many.  With any luck I’ll be able to convert one or two of them to sales.

Gym: a strained arch on my left food led me to skip running, instead I did 45 minutes on the stationary cycle at 19 mph.

Published in: on June 14, 2010 at 1:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, June 11

A day of ups and downs, well actually one up and one down.  I went into the office around 10 in the morning, running into the tail end of rush hour but not having too bad a time.  It probably added five to ten minutes to the trip into work.  Tolerable. Most of the thing I did while at work were uneventful, but there was one good thing – though it might not appear good on the surface.  I called a prospect, finally being able to connect with him after a few days of voice mail, and he rather gruffly told me “Not interested!”  It was absolute music to my ears.  For once, I got a clear, unequivocal rejection, none of the usual “my schedule is crazy” nonsense.  It’s comforting to know that at least some people are still willing to speak their minds.  I headed home in the early afternoon, encountering a slight construction delay near Exit 52, and a few hours later headed out to the rescheduled appointment in Bay Shore.  Getting there was a nightmare, as it was in the height of rush hour, and to make matters worse I took the wrong exit from the Expressway.  For some reason I thought it was Exit 56, when I should have taken 53.  This meant that I had to deal with some horrendously bad traffic lights, in one case having to wait through three cycles.  I got to the appointment about five minutes late, which is a grievous mistake … or would have been, as it turns out the appointment had to be postponed yet again, until next Friday.  I’m sharing the deal with another agent, and when I got to the prospect’s house I didn’t see the other agent’s car.  I called him, and he apologized for not having told me of the postponement, he said he had been distracted at the time.  Not making the (half) sale this week isn’t my idea of fun, but it should go through next week.  There is a very valid reason why it’s been postponed twice, so the prospect presumably isn’t getting cold fee.  I headed back home, this time taking a better route and encountering less traffic.

No gym tonight, it was off for some sushi.

Published in: on June 14, 2010 at 12:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, June 10

Another uneventful day on the roads.  I originally had some hopes of being able to work from home the entire day, but early in the morning it became obvious that I’d have to make a trip into work.  It was no huge deal, as I was able to avoid rush hour traffic: my trip in was at about 10, while the return was in the mid-afternoon, a bit after 3:30.  Traffic was starting to build up to some degree in the afternoon but I wasn’t affected.  One thing I’ve noted is that my gasoline spending is vastly greater than it had been during my train riding days.  If you can imagine this, I had been able to go from ten days to two weeks without making acquaintance of the gas station, now it’s maybe every third or fourth day.  In four years of train commuting I had put on just under 40,000 miles on my Subaru.  In the past six month, in contrast, I’ve put on 9,000 miles.  Guess I had it easy.  Of course, considering how vile the trains were, doing more driving is not necessarily a terrible thing.

Gym: leg day, and a nice session too.  Trap bar deadlifts: 6 x 245, 6 x 265, 6 x 275, 6 x 285.  No trouble on any of these.  SLDL’s: 3 x 8 x 195.  Kettlebell swings: 3 x 10 with a 50-pounder.  Precor leg extensions: 8 x 195, 8 x 200, 8 x 205.  Life Fitness leg curls: 3 x 8 x 190.  All of these represent increases over last session, except for the kettlebell swings and that’s because the heaviest ones are 50 pounds.

Published in: on June 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, June 9

Another day shift at the mall kiosk.  Not many shoppers were in sight until around noon, when it got somewhat busier until I left at the end of the shift.  Not too much in terms of gathering prospects, though I’ve heard the same from other agents so I know it’s not just me.  Although I worked solo it wasn’t boring, because I have a new phone (an LG Ally with the Android OS) and I spent quite a while fiddling around with it.  Next week I’ll have to decide whether or not to pay to go back to the mall kiosk in July.  So far for May and June it hasn’t been particularly productive, I have one sales appointment scheduled for Friday with a shared commission and a few decent-looking leads that may end up paying off.  Just on Friday’s sale alone I will more than earn back what I paid for kiosk access in May and June, the issue is whether I could have gotten more leads had I spent the time prospecting elsewhere.  Right now I’m leaning in favor of giving the kiosk another try.  One alternative would be the other kiosk XYZ Insurance is running, in the mega-mall, but that will cost more money for access and involve significantly more driving.

Gym: A two-mile run on the treadmill at 5.2 mph.

Published in: on June 11, 2010 at 4:20 am  Leave a Comment