Almost every top producer we’ve talked to has taken the time to figure out this word and how it applies to their sales career. It’s a word that is a cornerstone to our team and our business and that word is why. Why do we get up everyday and pursuit this opportunity called life insurance sales. Learn the why behind the why, how to uncover your why, and how to apply it to your every day activity.
In progress. Not final version.
In this episode, we talk about a word that has been huge to our team. So much so, we built an entire conference around it. That word is why. The Y Quest conference helped agents define why they were working in the life insurance sales business and take the next step to become profitable difference makers. “Why?” is an important question because there’s a lot of romance to entrepreneurship, being your own boss, and making a lot of money but there’s also a lot of grittiness. You need to have a strong why to survive and thrive in this business. You have to be rooted in something bigger than the adversity that you’re facing. The only thing that will help you whether the storms and issues of the field is ownership of a strong why.
People get caught up, taken back, smitten, and raptured by this idea of entrepreneurship. The romance of the idea of creating something on your own where you work for yourself and not anyone else making lots of money makes people feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. However, because of the highlight reel of Instagram and Facebook with Lamborghinis and jets, people rarely see the reality. The romance fades quickly when a door is shut in your face, you have a poor return on a lead investment, you get a cancelation, or receive a chargeback. Our hope is that by understanding the reality of the industry and having a good why, you will be more grounded and stronger in your business.
The most successful agents and people who have been in this industry are those who have a strong why and this is the key to success in any industry. Mark Zuckerberg’s why for Facebook is to “bring the world closer together.” When you think of the visionaries’ and earth shakers of our time like Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), and Richard Branson (Virgin Atlantic). When you hear that someone’s why is to take humanity to Mars, it seems crazy but it has pulled SpaceX to become the first private company to send humans to space.
Finding & Developing Your Evolving “Why”
Your why may change and grow overtime but it’s crucial to know at any moment what your mission statement is. For example, our why for everything we do at Life Insurance Academy is our desire to train, inspire, and advance life insurance agents everywhere. Our team’s why didn’t start here when we entered the industry but we have evolved to this.
As a new agent, you will develop your goals in stages and levels. You may have goals of running your own agency with other agents one day but your goals will start with writing your first app. Your why may be to work hard enough to buy a nice car to impress a girl and then to buy a house to start a family and then wealth building and impact your family and other agents. Your why will evolve but it has to start somewhere.
You have to be validated some way to feel good about what you do. This validation will come in many forms. One ways is financial validation. This opportunity allows you to determine the ceiling of how much money you can make. If you work really hard, you can earn a lot of money in this business. Another channel of validation can be from other people whether that be your clients, your community, or your family.
These validation areas will pull you through the struggle weeks. It’s important to identify your personal value points. Which of the following statements resonate with you?
- I am motivated by financial success.
- I am motivated by family recognition.
- I am motivated by my connection with and impact on clients.
- Is there something else you are motivated by? Let us know in the comments below
You may have a combination of these or you may have a different why. You may have started with one of these reasons but now have different why. Regardless, you need to identify what this is and refer back to it when it’s hard. If you don’t figure this out, you won’t last in the industry.
Stages of Validation
As you develop your why, you will go through stages of validation that reinforce your why. Here are some of the most common stages agents experience in this business:
- Stage 1: There’s pressure built up by yourself to get your first application but once you do, you’re king of the world. You validate yourself and the opportunity. It is possible to help someone’s family and make money.
- Stage 2: You’ve been in business for a while and you have the confidence of knowing you will get a policy because it’s a numbers game. The second level of validation comes from a client hugging you and telling you that you’re a blessing to their family and they are so thankful for you. This feeling of knowing you made a true difference in someone’s life will take you to another level.
- Stage 3: You see the end result of your efforts when you receive a death claim and hear from the beneficiary who you may have never met thanking you for putting the policy in place because they don’t know how they would have taken care of things without you.
Every single stage validates you, the clients purchase, and the opportunity more.
Finding Your Why – Exercise
Learn from our experiences. As soon as you can, take 30 minutes to answer some questions to help you determine your why and your commitment to your why:
- What are your financial goals?
- What are you good at?
- What are your values?
- What are things that are important to you in your relationships?
- What are you passionate about?
- What makes you happy? What makes you angry? Who makes you happy?
- What do you know how to do that is unique?
- What do you want to do with your free time?
Work through answering these questions and then write a statement of what your why is. “The reason I am actively and daily commit to my opportunity in life insurance sales is ______.”
We have to erase some of the romance and take the lipstick off the pig. Why can have romance to it of your big dreams and your visions. You have to ask yourself an honest question of what would you do with that time but first you need to analyze what you’re currently doing with your time. Start a journal and keep track of when you’re free time is and what you’re doing with it. Your future starts today. It starts now. Is that the future that you are fighting for?
Sometimes, your why just needs to be something simple. We had an agent set a goal to pay off the rest of his mortgage in 2 years. With this simple focus, he was able to do this in 18 months. This is an opportunity that allows you to put the throttle down and achieve the finances you are running towards.
Know Your Why & Commit to It
One way to know if your why is a true and strong why is asking yourself if you’re okay with not achieving your why. If you’re okay with not achieving your goal, it’s not a good goal and you’ll never achieve it. It will become easy to make excuses to not take action towards that why. If this is where you are at, find a mentor or friend that can help you figure out your “deep down true why.” Knowing your passionate why is what will pull you through.
Communicating your why has to be an honest conversation. You can’t keep repeating your why to others but not have the activity that reflects that. Don’t stop at rewarding yourself for having a why. Create a plan to realize your why and complete your actions. Naturally, you will feel better once you develop a why but you can’t delay your action. Don’t get stuck rewarding yourself for your intent. If you do, you’ll develop an immunity to your own why.
If you’re not with an organization and you’re out there on your own solo, one of the things you are rarely getting is the validation from a community that you are running with. Because what we do doesn’t come to fruition for several years, we don’t see the other side and the benefit to the family that you served. Sometimes you’ll get the hugs as you leave or invitations to stay for dinner but to pull you through the first few months or years, you need a community that can validate your success. Otherwise, all you have to lean on is the financial validation. Without validation, you will drift to the point of drifting out of the business.
With community, not only do you get validation and community but you also get accountability. When others know your why, you can work towards it together. Chris had a mentor that would encourage him with “Say what you see so you see what you say.” The first part is internal where you speak it into existence and it’s always at the forefront of who you are and how you function. The second part is speaking it to your community.
One thing that can happen in an organization is called mission drift. This is where an organization loses focus on the things that were moving them in a certain direction and the things they were passionate about because of the day to day things they were experiencing that took them off course. This mission drift can erode direction. You need to be able to speak it to your group so they can go along with you in the journey and hold you accountable to it.
You also need to share your why with your spouse or family. By having this conversation, you can make sure you’re aligned so that you can avoid tension as you move in the same direction. They also can hold you accountable.
The paradox of entrepreneurship is being your own boss but feeling alone. Successful entrepreneurs are connected to others whether it be peers or mentors. This connection allows you to share your struggles and learn from each other. They can also let you know when you’re drifting. Don’t be an isolated entrepreneur – get connected and align yourself with an organization that brings value to bigger things in life.
Examples from Our Team
The trick of this business that people aren’t aware of – the secret sauce – is when people get into this business, they are looking at sales but you cannot do this business and be successful without growing. You have to grow in your personal relationships. You have to look in the mirror and make adjustments every day. For Chris, his mindset on money and finances changed and his why changed. Chris has always wanted to be a difference maker and hasn’t been focused on the money. However, there was a point where he realized he could provide something for his kids that he never had while helping people.
For Roger, “I never worked well under or with someone else if I didn’t align with their values. The character and values of the organization matter and if I don’t align, I push back. When this happened, I was not content or happy in these situations. I wanted to make a lot of money and I wanted to be successful. I knew I had the capacity to do that. But the values also had to line up.
If you’re getting into this just for the money, it won’t last long. At some point, you will face difficulties and look for an easier way to make money and you never end up valuing the human lives on the other side of what you’re doing. When you’re willing to engage in the bigger picture of the financial impact on everyone’s lives – the families you serve, your family – and what that impact looks like long term, it really starts to form a picture of success that you can see.
I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny and make as much money as I wanted to by putting in as much effort. We’ve said this before on this podcast: when you remove the ceiling on opportunity, you also remove the floor. The security goes away. Sometimes people get stuck in the middle where they don’t want to let go of the security but they never reach their potential. You have to be willing to make the jump.
Roger: “My goals when I think about how I want to live out my life is to travel and create experiences for people I love. People remember experiences. This opportunity allows for me to take my family and friends places and our agents in our organization.”
Keep Your Why at the Forefront
You need to remind yourself of your why as well no matter whether you’re having a good day or a bad day. Write down your why and put it in your sun visor. If you have a bad sit, #flopitdown. For some people, you may want to record it via a voice memo so you can hear it as an affirmation to yourself. For others, put it as your phone wallpaper so you are constantly reminded. Whatever you need to do to remind yourself so that even when life gets rough, you still have a reference point.
Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.– Robert Collier
This isn’t the sexy entrepreneur quote because it reveals the hard work that it takes to achieve success. It reveals that there will be the grind that no one sees. It’s driving a beat-up car to rural areas, knocking on countless doors, eating Lunchables in your car. There will be struggle and sacrifice but as things get tough, your why will pull you through. You will be presented daily with the choice of working towards your goal or making excuses.
There’s a show produced by the History channel called Alone that drops survivalists into the wilderness by themselves and they have to last the longest while alone. The winner gets $500,000 but no one knows how long it will take because they don’t notify contestants of how many people are left. Towards the beginning, everyone is highly motivated and engaged typically with the why of improving the lives of their families. As the show goes on, people lose focus of their mission due to isolation, hunger, and homesickness.
There are several takeaways from the show. First, the people who last the longest are the ones who give themselves little tasks to stay engaged. These are the daily activities you do to stay focused and work towards your goal. Secondly, at some point, their why becomes their excuse – they started doing the show for their family but then they talk themselves out of staying so they can go be with their family. We see this with agents who want to make a change in their families lives but allow themselves to use their family as an out as early as their first day.
When to Re-Evaluate Your Why
If you are experiencing some of the following things, you may need to adjust your why:
- Your why is someone else’s why
- Your why was written to impress someone rather than for yourself
- Your why get’s forgotten in the day-to-day
- You don’t have the capacity for your why
- You don’t have the work ethic to achieve your why
- You have no way to be accountable to your why
Sometimes you are a day away from achieving your why – don’t give up! You have to do the daily activities to work towards your goals: one more door knock, one more phone call, one more sit… In “One More Mentality”, you keep moving forward. Two things will pull you through:
- Know what you’re working for and be reminded of that
- You need to have validation and accountability from an organization or mentor that understands