Even if it’s not the holidays when you’ve clicked on this post, it’s worth a read! Time management is a year-round activity that’s deserving of your attention…well, only if you want to close more deals.
The holidays are almost over and 2017 is almost upon us. This means life insurance agents are about to get slammed with business.
From the “call me next year” crowd to those acting on their New Year’s resolutions, the first few months of the new year will be ripe with opportunity. This is especially true for internet life insurance agents. Yes, I’m talking to you. You’ve spent the past few months building your authority online, creating content designed for SEO, and driving traffic through targeted ads.
That online presence you’ve been cultivating is about to pay off with higher traffic, more calls, and ultimately more sales, especially over the next few weeks.
In fact, our Ninjalytics software has been able to glean that consumers are as much as 30% more likely to search and shop for life insurance during the first few months of the year. As shown in the graph below, website visits are significantly higher in January and February than they are in December.
Yet without the proper preparation, that tidal wave of new business can throw even the most organized agent into an overworked, stressed-out frenzy.
In this post, we’ll give you 9 time management and mindset management tips to help you make the most out of new opportunity, close as many deals as possible and stay (somewhat) sane throughout the process.
Get your mind right
Get up earlier
What do Richard Branson, Howard Schultz, the Obamas, and many other top performers have in common? Aside from being wildly successful, they all wake up early, some even as early as 4:30 in the morning. What they do with their time varies. Some immediately start being productive for their business, and others focus on personal development.
Getting up even just an hour earlier than your normal routine has been proven to transform people’s lives.
As you beginning setting yourself up for success during these busier weeks, give yourself an extra hour in the day to focus on your most difficult tasks or on yourself. If improving your health is a top priority, yet you can rarely pull yourself away from your desk, then get up early to exercise should be a priority. Perhaps writing content for your website and blogging are something you know you need to do but never have the time for, well getting up an extra hour early will carve that time out for you.
Whatever it is, if it’s important enough you will find the time to do it.
Separate work and personal time
Working from home can make it difficult to separate your two lives from one another, but when calls are coming in, the last thing you should be doing is chatting with a friend on Facebook. Block off time to spend on personal matters ahead of time and don’t let them creep into your work time.
Remember, working extra hard during these first few weeks of the New Year will really set yourself up for success in the latter months.
Make a fresh start each day
Each day you’re going to experience ups and downs, rude customers, lost sales, and cases that don’t get approved. Do not let any of it bring you down and affect your performance.
Come into each day with a fresh energy and an understanding of the big picture. Be friendly and helpful to everybody on the phone, listen and engage with empathy, and do not let one bad call affect how you treat another call.
Remember, for every that every no gets you closer to a yes.
Set your schedule up for success
Schedule different activities
With traffic and call volumes up, it can be difficult to put the phone down and focus on other tasks needed to run your business or take care of personal matters. Yet no matter how busy you get on the phones, you still need to set aside time for
- Prospecting: If you’ve worked in sales long enough, you know that prospecting should be a daily task. Even if you are overwhelmed with inbound calls, keep prospecting on your calendar, just scale back.
- Administrative Work: You definitely need time in your day to handle the minutiae of running an internet life insurance business. From filing paperwork, scheduling meetings, and responding to customer questions, block off a certain time of day – perhaps when your energy level is waning – to take care of it.
- Emails: We’ll go into more detail here in a minute. But the biggest takeaway for email is to not let it distract you throughout the day.
- Marketing: Oh yes, the M word. No matter how busy you get during the next few weeks with calls and sales, stay on top of your digital marketing. By staying consistent with your online marketing efforts you will continue to reap the benefits after the initial New Year’s rush dies down. This will put you in a more desirable position than your competitors.
- Appointments: Keep on top of your scheduled appointments, follow-ups, and reminders. You most likely have appointments on the books from those that asked to be contacted “next year.” Be sure to keep your end of the bargain by managing your schedule and working around them. And be persistent with those that are avoiding you or trying to reschedule. Yet also recognize when someone is just not going to buy.
Keep your personal and professional tasks organized in the same system so that nothing slips through the cracks.
Get the hard stuff out of the way
As a follow-up to the previous tip, get the most difficult, time-consuming, or least favorite tasks completed first. If you know that something absolutely needs to get done on a particular day, make sure you do it. Do not put it off until 6 pm and then find yourself too tired to execute. When you get the hard stuff done earlier, you will relieve yourself of a lot of stress for the rest of the day.
Prioritize tasks and complete each
As a follow-up to #4 and #5, get your tasks and activities organized by importance and level of difficulty, and then take them on one at a time.
As a follow-up to #4 and #5, get your tasks and activities organized by importance and level of difficulty. Then take them on one at a time.
My suggestion is to create a task list each night, prioritize it, revisit it first thing in the morning and then check things off as you go. It’s also important to not jump around. By doing so, “you lose up to 40% of your productivity when trying to do more than one thing at the same time.”
Manage your email
It’s no secret that email can quickly dominate your time if not handled properly. It’s an easy way to kill time while making yourself feel productive. But usually checking and responding to emails isn’t always pressing to your bottom line revenue.
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by your inbox or spending too much time in it, get your email under control and change the way you approach it. This article by MindTools does a great job at helping you do just that.
Turn off smartphone notifications
Text messages, incoming calls from telemarketers, notifications from Words with Friends. They’re all distracting and not necessary to pay attention to while you’re working. Avoid the temptation to respond to messages by turning off notifications, and limit how long you scroll mindlessly or play a game. Even if it is for 5 minutes.
The less distracting of an environment you can create, the more successful you will be during this busy season.
It sounds counterintuitive, but studies have shown that taking a break every 90 minutes improves your productivity and mood while working. Give yourself a mental rest. Take your eyes away from a screen for 10-15 minutes at intervals throughout the day. This way you can work more effectively while at your desk.
Try going on a walk around the neighborhood, preparing a healthy snack, doing some light exercise or stretching. Call a hilarious friend, or going out in the garage and use your power tools. Whatever wakes you up and puts you in a good mood, go do that a few times throughout the day. Your bank account will thank you.
With a few more days left in 2016, take a few minutes to get your time management systems in place. Over the next few weeks, you can be well on your way to achieving your financial and professional goals. So don’t drop the ball on this one (pun intended).