By Jim D. Pittman
If you are interested in joining the ranks of top financial and life insurance professionals in MDRT, a strategic approach is crucial. Qualifying for MDRT requires certain production levels and a commitment to strict ethical standards. Fortunately, the parameters for qualification are laid out clearly, with annual production levels broken down monthly.
While the overall goal of qualifying for MDRT may be an intimidating one, breaking it down into manageable pieces is a sure way to methodically march towards your prize. Use the following guidelines to take this tactical approach to membership qualification.
Set Monthly Goals
My decision to set a goal of advancing from Court of the Table to Top of the Table within MDRT was a daunting one. To tackle the challenge, I used the same technique I originally used to qualify for MDRT: I broke down my long-term goal into monthly benchmarks and made sure to monitor those benchmarks daily to stay on track.
The method I used to track my monthly production was straightforward; I simply wrote down my monthly target and subtracted the commission from every case that I wrote. If you prefer to keep digital records, you can track your targets in a spreadsheet or seek out more advanced digital recordkeeping software. The MDRT app is also a great resource for keeping track of your monthly goals and connecting with others who can help keep you accountable.
If I exceeded my monthly goal, I wouldn’t lower the following month’s goal or apply the extra earnings to it. However, if I underperformed, then I made sure to make it up by adding the difference to the next month’s goal. With goals that you monitor daily, you’ll pay closer attention to your production and will be more likely to stay focused throughout the year.
Track Activities To Reach Your Goals
Once you’ve set a monthly goal, consider methods that will help you reach those targets. I recommend using an activity tracking system. If you work at a solo practitioners’ office, you may conduct numerous opening interviews and generate many potential leads. Some advisors may become complacent and fail to seize those opportunities. With an activity tracking system and a monthly production chart, you can avoid neglecting those prospects.
The One Card System is one of the best activity management systems for insurance agents. Using this system, a point is assigned to activities, like meeting with a prospect either in person or virtually, conducting discovery interviews or fact finding, opening a case, holding closing interviews or asking a prospect to take action and obtaining referrals. Five points per day, 25 points per week, or 100 points per month are ideal benchmarks.
This tool is now also available in an electronic form that can be used on a smart phone, tablet or laptop, called the Career Activity Management System or CAM. This version makes an ideal management tool if you are supervising or training other agents.
This system helps further improve practice management as you accumulate activity points. It provides a variety of productivity tools that can help track inventory, provide reviews of how well you’re doing, forecast future productivity and more. Both systems are incredibly useful and will help you engage in enough activity to be successful.
You may feel that the challenging business conditions of the pandemic continue to make your goals feel out of reach, even using these systems. However, the MDRT Productivity Action Plan accounts for the difficult circumstances financial professionals continue to face during the global crisis.
The PAP waives production requirements for pre-pandemic members and adjusts the production requirements for new members. Members and non-members alike can explore MDRT educational resources to access material designed to help advisors navigate current global challenges.
The Power Of Referrals
New clients are necessary to meet your production requirements, and one of the best ways to access new business is referrals from satisfied clients. Not all referrals are equal, though. Receiving a name from someone who will not make an introduction is not beneficial.
Target current clients who will have prestige and influence in the eyes of the people they refer to you. For example, a senior partner in a law firm that recommends you to one of her or her associates. A prospective client is more likely to trust that you are worth their time if the recommendation comes from someone they respect, like a successful executive or a mentor. Build relationships with clients who have this type of network to draw new clients as you expand your business.
Proactivity Is Key
Lucky for us, there are many individuals who intend to get insurance but haven’t gotten around to it yet. While prospects could use a website or call a 1-800 number, they don’t. While there are plenty of opportunities for advisors to bring on new clients and expand their business, it is key to seek these opportunities proactively.
Reach out to prospective clients, arrange meetings in person or virtually and build relationships, all while tracking your progress. Be patient and use every resource at your disposal to address difficulties brought on by the pandemic. If you set goals and are well-organized, proactive and diligent about meeting them, you will position yourself well to qualify for MDRT.
About the Author
James D. Pittman, CLU, CFP, of Portland, Oregon, is a former president of MDRT. He is a 47-year MDRT member with 25 Court of the Table and nine Top of the Table qualifications. He is also an Excalibur Knight of the MDRT Foundation and served on its Board of Trustees. Pittman is founder and president of Insurance Consulting Services Inc., an affiliate firm of M Benefit Solutions. In 2009, he was honored with the prestigious Bud Horn award from the Oregon Association of Insurance and Financial Planners. He is the past president of the Estate Planning Council of Portland and the Portland Chapter of CLU and ChFC.