Thursday, May 26/Friday, May 27

Laying the groundwork

I didn’t make any sales either day, which was a slight though not crushing let-down.  Wednesday’s sale was enough to make this a decent week in quota and income terms, so the pressure wasn’t too high.  I had been hoping to make a potentially even better sale on Thursday, but the customer said that he would be just too busy to meet until after the holiday weekend.  Normally I’d say that was just a stalling technique, and that the customer was no longer interested, but given his type of business it actually made perfect sense.  We will get together next week and with a bit of luck I should be able to make a decent sale.

Speaking of next week, I spent these days setting out more of those door hangers, again with the intention of softening up customers in preparation for coming back and speaking to them in person.  In a few cases, especially on Friday, I saw people out and about around their houses as I drove up.  Rather than going in to speak to them, I drove off, and will come back on Tuesday to try to drop off door hangers.   This might seem an odd strategy at first. It’s hard enough to find people at home, here I had the opportunity, yet I didn’t take advantage of it.  There was a method in this madness.  I’ve been at this business long enough to realize that most people will show initial reluctance on first approach even if they might actually be interested in more insurance.  Hence, the usefulness of the door hangers.

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Published in: on May 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wednesday, May 25

Bad start, good finish

Today definitely got off to a bad start.  As is usual for Wednesdays, it began with the training session for newer agents.  While the session was useful, my attendance may have cost me a sale.  During the session my phone rang, and I slid the “Ignore” slider on the screen so it would go to voice mail.  About 20 minutes later I checked my voice mail and found out that the caller was one of the people for whom I had left off a door hanger the previous day.  He said that he wouldn’t be in this evening, which was the return time I had written on the hanger, and said that he hoped I’d get the message and not waste a trip.  Note that he did not say that he wasn’t interested in seeing me.  I immediately called him back, and to my complete non-surprise got his voice mail.  I left the usual message about wanting to get together to review his coverage, and asked him to give me a call to set a mutually agreeable time.  It should come as no surprise whatsoever that I haven’t heard back from him.  While it could be argued that his failure to return my call means that he isn’t interested, I still believe that if I hadn’t been in the training session and had gotten his call, I might have been able to talk him into seeing me.

Following the training session I returned to Groundhog Crossing to distribute more door hangers prior to a scheduled 3:00 sales call.  I actually found several people home, which unfortunately didn’t translate into any success.  There was one amusing encounter when a recently lapsed customer, who was working on his lawn as I approached, responded with a hostile “Who wants to know?” when I asked if he were Mr. Jones.  He must’ve thought I was a bill collector or was serving process.  When I told him who I was he was less hostile, not that he was interested in any new policies.

I headed to the customer’s house for the 3:00 sales call, and as I drove up I noticed with displeasure the lack of any cars in the driveway.  Sure enough, no one was home.  I waited around for quite a while, to no avail.  Being stood up is obviously nothing unusual, however in this case it was the customer who had called me (in response to a hanger) just yesterday.  Dejected, I headed back home for a while, and in the early evening I headed back to Groundhog Crossing for some hanger follow-ups.  Something told me that I should drive past the house of the 3:00 customer, and sure enough there was a car in the driveway.  Not wanting to go straight to the door I drove around the block and called her.  She told me that she had been stuck at work (not surprising given the nature of her job) and hadn’t had my number on her.  We arranged for me to come over in about 15 minutes, and what I though would be a failed call turned into a pretty nice sale.  Nothing huge, but enough to make this a decent week.  Even better, the customer called her son when I was at her house and arranged for me to come back to meet him next week, as he is interested in a couple of policies himself.  I’m really happy I decided to check back at the customer’s house rather than just write it off as yet another busted call.

Published in: on May 29, 2011 at 12:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, May 24

Prep work

No actual sales today, but I (hopefully) laid the groundwork for some during the day by distributing “sorry I missed you” door knob hangers.  On each one I’d write a brief note about trying back at a future time, usually the next evening, and asking the customer to call me if that wasn’t a good time.  I did these for both existing and lapsed customers.  Now, in one sense this is an inefficient use of time, as in theory it requires two visits to each customer’s house – one for distributing the hanger, and my follow-up visit.  In my experience, and that of other agents too, it actually works quite well.  If the customer calls to say that the promised time isn’t good, I have the chance to speak with him or her on the telephone – something pretty hard to do otherwise thanks to voice mail – and might be able to schedule a call.  If the customer doesn’t call, and I return at the promised time, I’ll know that the customer has been “softened up” in advance.  Approaching a customer without any preparatory work often fails, because so many people have an initial “I’m not interested” reaction.  I’m hoping this latest round of hangers works out well.

Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 3:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Monday, May 23

Is it bad that misery loves company?

At today’s weekly meeting I found out what I had suspected, namely that last week was a bad one for several other agents too.  It wasn’t just me who bombed out.  In one sense it was shameful that I took a measure of solace in this fact.  My earnings and my quota requirements are not in any way affected by what other agents may do.  We are not in competition with one another.  On the other hand, I now know that my shortcomings weren’t due to anything I did wrong. 

I had some non-business matters to attend to in the afternoon, which limited my sales activities to some extent.  So the drought continues, though I have hope for the remainder of the week.  One extra form of incentive I’ve given myself is that I’m not going to the gym until I make some decent sales.  Truthfully, I don’t have much motivation right now.

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 2:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 21/Sunday, May 22

It’s not like I want to work on Saturdays, but sometimes there’s no alternative.  I spent about four hours on Saturday calling on residential customers in Groundhog Crossing.  No actual sales, but I got one call scheduled for next week.  We’ll have to see how that turns out.  And yes, my inability to make any actual sales on Saturday meant that this was my first”zero week”in months.  I am not pleased about that.  Hey, at least the world didn’t end on Saturday, as some predicted.

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 2:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Thursday, May 19/Friday, May 20

Ugh.

There’s really very little to say about these two days.  Suffice to say that I worked a lot each day, calling on existing and lapsed customers mostly in Groundhog Crossing, and ended up selling nothing.  While I spoke to quite a number of people, those who expressed some interest wanted me to check back in a week or two.  It was very discouraging, though I do have a couple of decent possibilities for next week.  About the only measure of consolation was knowing that most other agents in the office were having lousy weeks too.  I’m really hoping that next week is better.  By the way, it should go without saying that I was in no mood whatsoever to go to the gym.

Published in: on May 23, 2011 at 12:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday, May 17/Wednesday, May 18

Rain, rain go away

I’m not saying that the off-and-on (more on than off) rain that characterized both days was the sole reason for my lack of sales success, but it was likely a factor.  All I can say is that my efforts got me nowhere.  No sales, at best a couple of possibilities for next week.  It wasn’t just me, other agents were having a hard time too.  It’s almost as if bad weather puts people in a non-buying mood.  About the only good thing is that I got a stack of new customer cards for Groundhog Crossing.  While I haven’t had much luck in that town, at least it’s close to home.  With gasoline prices being as high as they are, staying close to home is a big relief.  Now if I can just break the Curse of Groundhog Crossing …

Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 2:42 am  Comments (2)  

Monday, May 16

Is no one ever around?
Arrgh, so frustrating.  Following the morning meeting, a meeting for which I was ten minutes late due to horrendous Expressway traffic, I headed out into the field to call upon business customers.  While I didn’t have a huge number of business customer cards, I had more than enough to occupy my day, and quite reasonably figured that I’d speak to a decent number.  Quite wrong.  For whatever reason or reasons, nobody seemed to be around.  Instead of making five presentations during the course of the day, a goal for which we’re expected to strive, I ended up making only one.  And selling nothing (grumble).  I’m certainly hoping that tomorrow turns out better.

Gym: after last week’s heavy bench press session, I had a lighter but still decent one tonight.  6 x 135, 6 x 155, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 4 x 235, 6 x 225, 8 x 185.

Published in: on May 18, 2011 at 3:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Saturday, May 14/Sunday, May 15

Saturday was pretty much a regular workday for me, at least for about five hours, as I made calls on residential customers.  No sales, unfortunately, though I got a couple of possibilities for the coming week.  Though it should be noted that “possibilities” quite often do not turn into “realities.”  Sunday I did another back session, once again using T-bar rows.  I’m really getting to like that exercise.  8 x 115, 8 x 125, 8 x 135, 8 x 145, 8 x 150.  Then came some more cable biceps curls, 8 x 100, 8 x 110, 8 x 120, 8 x 130, and I finished with some triceps rope pushdowns, 3 x 8 x 110.  Rope pushdowns aren’t a particularly good exercise in and of themselves, but they can be a reasonably decent auxiliary exercise for improving one’s bench press.

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 2:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday, May 13

Some luck

So much for reverse luck.  Friday the 13th didn’t prove to be a lucky day in work terms.  Fairly early in the morning I headed to the town in east-central Suffolk for which I’d gotten a supply of customer cards.  There weren’t too many business calls, which I exhausted in a few hours.  No sales, but a couple of possibilities for next week.  There were several other calls listed as businesses, but they actually turned out to be contractors and whatnot working out of their houses.  I didn’t go in, for reasons I’ve noted before: if the customer himself isn’t home (likely for a contractor), but his wife is home, she’ll invariably say “We already have enough insurance.”  I headed home in the mid-afternoon to handle some non-business-related matters.  Tomorrow’s going to be a workday, I’ll be making calls on residential customers, hopefully it’ll go better.

My evening gym visit proved to be a bit of Friday the 13th luck.  I did some bench presses, and managed to set a new record: 6 x 135, 6 x 155, 6 x 185, 6 x 205, 3 x 7 x 225, 10 x 185.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never gotten three sets of seven at 225 before.  I finished with some cable biceps curls, using an EZ-bar attachment: 10 x 100, 2 x 10 x 110.

Published in: on May 15, 2011 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment