Wave, a 20-year veteran in the insurance industry and MDRT Honor Roll and Life Member from Hong Kong, had shared his strategies to build a team of 100% MDRT insurance agents at MDRT Experience in Bangkok earlier this year. He elaborated on his strategies in Malaysia.
Once you set your goal on building a team of 100% MDRT, begin with the end in mind, he said.
1. Quality recruitment
Start with quality recruitment to find people who are eager and capable. To join Wave’s team, a candidate has to go through eight steps, including three interviews.
First, the candidate submits his CV; second, selection interview; third, attraction interview to sell them on the industry, company and team; fourth, the candidate is invited to an Opening Class and peers’ experience sharing; fifth, to pass the licensing exam; sixth, an interview to make sure that the candidate matches his team; seventh, get them into the right mindset; and eight, the contract signing.
“You may think that eight steps are too many, and some people may quit during this process. However, if they quit, that is a good thing because it is proof that they aren’t the right ones for our team. We believe that the best training can never make up for a mistake in selection. Our limited resources should be put into the right people,” he said.
After many years of development, his team is now made up of over 95% who have a bachelor degree, including 68% with postgraduate degrees. Among them, there are CFPs, CFAs, CPAs, doctors, lawyers and investment bankers.
2. Target marketing
Insurance products can be extravagant or simple depending on the clients’ budget, he said. If people have health and money, they can become our clients. Theoretically, the longer we stay in this industry, the easier it is to develop new clients because of referrals.
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“However, we find that many agents who have been in this industry for over 10 years suffer from the problem of prospecting. The main reason for such a situation is due to the lack of target marketing. They haven’t chosen the target market to focus on providing their service. Our target market is the professionals. And our slogan is “Professionals to serve professionals”, which is also helpful for us in recruiting professionals,” he shared.
He gave the example of a TV advertisement which Samsung ran to promote its mobile phone in 2004 to be better known in the market.
A mobile product called QUEEN from Samsung appeared on the market. It was tiny and could be easily held in one hand. It could also be folded in half. When the phone was opened, there was a mirror inside which could be used as a make-up mirror by women. This was before phones included cameras.
Obviously, the target market for the phone was the women’s market which means that Samsung gave up half of the market.
Many people thought that without the men’s half of the market, the sales would be terrible. On the contrary, the sales revenue of QUEEN topped the market.
He said, “Why? Because women are the most powerful purchasers in the world! As you can see from this example, target marketing is the key to winning the market.”
The third step needed is training.
He shared his experience earlier in his career when he employed a telemarketer to make cold calls to small and mid-sized entrepreneurs as well as professionals. These potential clients were followed up by three experienced agents who accumulated 180 appointments in three months.
And how many cases were closed? None!
“I was shocked! With 180 potential clients, contacted by three experienced agents, there was surprisingly not one case closed within three months,” he said.
So, why did it happen? Agents may stay in this industry for a long time, but still may not be equipped well enough to be effective agents.
If their prospects are friends or warm calls, it won’t be a problem. However, if prospects are from cold calls, total strangers, the problem of having a shaky foundation will be thoroughly exposed.
“If this continues, they most likely will never become MDRTs, and they might not even be able to survive at all. I realised that something was wrong with the training of the agents,” he said.
Anyone can achieve MDRT
So he reformed his training system. First, he separated out the training system into 65 topics. The key is that they only need a few minutes to drill per topic.
Second, he imported a “check-up system”. Agents proceed at their own pace, and each agent can advance to the next topic when he is ready. Videos are also uploaded to the cloud so an agent can search for a suitable video to learn from should any question arise while working with a client.
The fourth step is activity.
“We must make fifteen appointments per week, which is taught by Mr Tony Gordon. Sometimes, we may not be able to control our mood or our attitude. But what we can control is how many people we meet every day.
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"Interestingly, when we have enough activities, we feel better. And these activities can solve about 80% of the problems agents have. We believe that ordinary people can achieve MDRT by being diligent,” he said.
The fifth step is determination.
“There's nothing you can't do in this world, but it's up to you, to do it, or not to do it,” he said.
In mid-2016, when he heard that the 2017 MDRT annual meeting would be held in Orlando. He asked all of his agents to buy round trip air tickets from Hong Kong to Orlando.
“Really!?” The agents asked.
“Of course!” he answered.
Agents: “What if we cannot achieve it?”
Wave: “If you can’t achieve it, you can go anyway.”
Agents: “Boss, you’re so crazy!”
“Yes, I am crazy. Crazy people create crazy success,” he said. “By following this series of actions in 2016, we made it! We achieved 100% MDRT, 39% COT and TOT.”
While it is important to strive towards the goal of building 100% MDRT, he reminded that MDRT is not just a figure, insurance is neither purely a product nor a business.
“Insurance is love. Our job is to deliver this love from the policy owner to the beneficiary. We work so hard and keep learning to become MDRTs, COTs and TOTs in order to help more people to receive more love,” he said.
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