By Solomon Hicks
“Potential” is one of those words that gets overused and misused. A talented child is said to have loads of potential. A struggling adult seems to be wasting his potential, while we say that a comfortable retiree has realized hers.
In my 50 years selling insurance, I’ve learned that potential — our capacity to live into and out of our personal power — is not a thing we should ever allow others to define for us. Potential is not about the life ahead of us, the resources around us or the accomplishments behind us.
Potential is about what’s inside us.
So how do you stay on top and highly motivated doing the same thing for five decades? The answer is simple: potential is power. And power works as long as you do. It won’t run out as long as you don’t give up.
Embrace Things That Don’t Change
Fifty years ago, a gallon of gas was 34 cents, radio was the only means of portable music and there was no Google or Amazon – there was no dotcom because there was no internet.
Today, the world is very different, but people are not. Mothers still love their children today as much as they did when there was no Nintendo to give them for Christmas. Parents still have to save to send their kids to college. Dollars must still stretch into retirement. What advisors and insurance agents have always offered is a bridge over troubled financial waters. Families want to feel secure – that will never change. Prospects are people first, last and always.
If we see prospects primarily as a way to make ourselves richer, we forfeit their faith in us and become blind to opportunities to serve them better. Show me somebody who isn’t building trust, and I will show you somebody leaving a lot of money on the table. In other words, when we care less, we get careless.
Evolve When Things Do Change
When I started in this business, I had conversations about insurance with the person or family interested in buying a product. I was the expert, the guide, the enlightener. I was the path to understanding.
Today, all knowledge about a product and how to buy it is a click away. We share prospects with Google, Facebook and Yelp. The moment leads express curiosity online, our they begin to see targeted ads and curated articles before we have a chance to say hello.
The information technology can offer can be comforting in the short term – but it eventually becomes overwhelming. Information is not the secret weapon it used to be. Today it’s on us to educate our clients, and that’s what distinguishes us from the information on the internet.
In 2008, people had access to every bit of news about the recession and the mortgage crisis, and there was no small amount of panic, but I did not lose my clients the way some others did.
Instead of telling them to ignore or wait out what was happening, I used the internet to teach them how to create wealth while others watched clients slip through their fingers. This lesson carries over into helping our clients manage the ramifications of COVID-19 today.
Excel At What Sets You Apart
I started in this business working for a manager who thought I had no potential. I had no car, no home phone and no experience. He told me I would fail, but instead I became Rookie of the Year.
Many years later, in a slump, another manager told me I was finished. He suggested I go and sell burial policies until retirement. This was before I earned the first of many ”number one” trophies.
I succeeded because I had the self-awareness to know what I could better than anyone else in the room. That is the source of potential that makes us most powerful.
I believe in what our industry does, and I believe people need what we offer. That truth is what wakes me up each morning, what moves me forward when society tells this old man to stop or slow down. It makes me a teacher for anyone who wants to learn and an encourager for those losing hope.
But my life — my story, the challenges I have faced and the experiences that have shaped me —is the gift no one else can offer. We don’t become great at what we do by becoming someone else, presenting like the top producers or setting their accomplishments as our goals. You have a story to tell. You have potential that no one else has, power that no one else can release.
My life was not easy. But I am an overcomer. I have been in slumps, and I’ve been ready to quit. I have had to learn new systems. I failed more times than I’d like to admit and heard “no” more times than I can count. But I learned failure is not fatal, and “no” is almost never personal. It’s usually an opportunity wrapped in an objection, waiting for somebody who sees, understands and appreciates the person hesitating.
I bring my whole self to the table because people need to know that there is a way to get here from wherever they are. If you can meet people in the dark, they will trust you to lead them to the dawn.
About The Author
Sol Hicks is a 33-year MDRT member with three Court of the Table and 21 Top of the Table honors. He is the founder and CEO of Hicks Global Enterprises Inc., a career coach and consultant, and the author of three books. He has been named GAMA International’s Agent of the Year four times. Sol is based in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.