Monday, March 7

Overwhelming blackness

As always, today started out with the regular weekly agents’ meeting.  I had no trouble at all getting to the office on time despite a somewhat late start.  Expressway traffic was notably lighter than usual and I had no delays at a normally brutal traffic light near the office.  I have no idea why things were so nice, but I’m not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.  So to speak.  I learned one interesting bit of information at the meeting.  It’s always been my understanding that the chances of making a sale when a customer says “let me think about it” are pretty close to a goose egg.  [Two animal analogies in four sentences, is that significant?]  This issue came up for discussion, not at my prompting, and one of the managers said that with enough experience and skill an agent can hope to transform up to one-third of those responses into sales.  I was most surprised, apparently it isn’t as hopeless a situation as I had feared.  We also found out that the meet-the-quota pressure is being ratcheted way up.  I’m really going to have to step up my activities.

After taking care of some non-work-related matters I made the lengthy trek to Chipmunk Junction for a 5 pm sales call.  Westbound traffic on the main (actually, just about only) road through the area was nearly bumper-to-bumper, and keep in mind it gets much worse in the summer.  Even though I was going against the main flow of traffic it was still pretty slow going.  The call itself went very well, the customer and his wife purchased a fairly large policy, and because their prior policy had lapsed over a year ago they are considered new customers and a higher commission rate applies.  I didn’t earn enough from this one sale to “make my week,” especially after last week’s washout, but it’s certainly a good start.  What’s more, it may lead to some additional sales.  The customer had worked for a construction business which had taken out policies on its workers, and deducted the premiums from their pay.  About a year and a half ago, the company stopped doing so and all the policies lapsed.  When I had spoken to the office manager a few weeks ago she told me that the workers were mostly young men who felt invincible, and therefore wouldn’t be interested if I tried to sell directly to them.  When I recounted this conversation to today’s customer he laughed at the office manager’s presumptiousness.   Although he now works for a different company he’s still friends with some of his former co-workers, and gave the the number to one of them.  I later called this man and scheduled a sales call for Wednesday evening.  He still works for the company, and I’m hoping I get start a “chain” of referrals and sell to more employees.

Today’s call took longer than usual, almost 90 minutes, because the customer had to translate everything for his wife, who doesn’t speak English.  Although it had been light out when I entered his house, it was fully dark when I left.  Living in a fairly densely populated suburban area with plenty of streetlights, I had forgotten just how dark it can get in a wooded semi-rural area with no outside lighting.  When I stepped outside on this nearly moonless night it was as if I plunged into a pool of blackness.  It was impossible to see my car, which was parked less than 50 feet away.  If I hadn’t been able to flash its lights via a button on my key fob I’d probably have been wandering around in the dark for several minutes until I finally stumbled into the car.  One cool thing was looking up and seeing a vast array of stars, it’s rare that I can see anything close to so many.  One less-than-cool thing is that by the time I got home, a trip delayed by my call to the referral, it was so late that there was no point in going to the gym.  I thought I’d gotten into a one-day-on, one-day-off routine, missing two days in a row is not what I want.

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Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 12:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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