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MARCH 2011

NEW – GAMA International Products
Resources available to GAMA Canada members at member prices. More information >>

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LAMP 2011

join GAMA International in Washington DC –
Mar. 20-23, 2011.
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April 20, 2011
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GAMA Canada International Awards
Deadline: May 2, 2011
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Own Your Territory

Are you just competing or do you “own your territory”?

Jim Ruta
GAMA International Canada Director
Life Insurance Industry Commentator and Performance Coach

When you own your territory, you take a business leadership role in your marketplace. You are involved in the local community and make sure that the people you want to deal with know who you are, where you are, what you do, and how specifically it benefits them. You are top of mind when your ideal clients think of your products and services. Your sales exceed your targets. People who are considering entering the business always think of you first. People buying your product always want an opinion and price quote from you.

Anyone would want to have this kind of reputation. It’s ideal market positioning. It makes selling easier. It makes recruiting easier. It makes life easier.

When one merely competes, it is just about the numbers of sales and recruits. It’s about reacting rather than taking initiative. It’s about chasing the competition rather than creating an organization that competitors want to chase.

Unfortunately, too many agency leaders leave too many things to chance. They hope that they’ll succeed and that just maybe, magically, they’ll become a market leader. In fact, I’d say that most business plans actually do more to set a ceiling on success than to set the stage for it.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Change your perspective on agency leadership and you can definitely “own your territory” and reap the rewards that come with victory.

Here are 10 things you have to do to “own Your territory”:

  1. Think team. Your sales organization is a team that needs to do all the right things in order to prevail against the competition. A team is like a machine with many moving parts that you must coordinate in order to work together to bring about the best result. Remember the T.E.A.M. acronym – Together Everyone Achieves More. It’s up to leaders to make success happen by design.

  2. Understand your territory. Where do your best prospects live? What do they do? Who are the major buying groups for your business? What, specifically, do they buy? What else should they consider? How do they buy? Understanding your territory is critical in that it helps you find the right players for your team and to get them working in the right way. Discover your best “niches” and then fill them. There are riches in niches.

  3. Don’t believe Willie Sutton. When asked why he robbed banks, bank robber Willie Sutton is reported to have said, “Hell, that’s where the money is!” This has been used as support and rationale for the idea of chasing the high-net-worth market to the exclusion of the rest for years. Regrettably, it’s also the reason so many consumers never see a financial advisor. Middle income consumers in North America are shockingly underserved and people are starting to take notice. Too many advisors, out “hunting big game”, end up starving. There is, fortunately, a much easier way. As the late John Savage said, “When you work with the classes, you’ll live with the masses. But when you work with the masses, you’ll live with the classes.” Top of the Table veteran Marc Silverman goes a little further and says, “When you work with the classes … you’ll go broke.” The takeaway here is that by building an organization that appeals to most people on a general level, you’re maximizing your potential.

  4. Know your competitors. How do you stack up against your competitors? Why do people buy from your team and not them? Why do you lose business to them? The idea is to play up your strengths and steer clear of your weaknesses. There is no sense in playing where you can’t win. This is business, it’s not fun – hence the name.  

  5. Make sure your sales team represents the major consumer groups in your territory. This is a key strategy for success. Highly successful teams must be comprised of players who “match up” well with  the marketplace and the competition. You want a team that accurately represents your marketplace so you cover their needs. Owning the territory means that anyone you want to work with can easily work with you.

  6. Hire only “good” people for your team. You want people who carry their weight in their market and understand the nature of your business. Even if an individual matches up with an important market segment, if they can’t access it effectively, they’re going to end up hurting the team; everyone will suffer, from the client on down. Just recruiting anyone who’s willing to sign up doesn’t make your team better. In fact, anyone who doesn’t improve your average performance makes your team worse. You want people who improve your average, en route to “owning your territory.”

  7. Standards make everyone better. A standard is the minimum acceptable performance level in your organization, and the better you and your employees do as individuals, the better you’ll all do on a collective level. As the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts all ships. Ignoring standards sends out the tide.

  8. Declare yourself! It’s the job of the leader to promote the team in the territory beyond recruiting ads. Recruiting ads are good, but if that is all you do, it gives a sense of desperation to your team, which in turn reduces your effectiveness both in an individual and a collective sense. When you own the market, consumers know you are in it and that you are the right person to see. And yet, they need to be reminded time and again. Effective advertising programs – as opposed to an ad every now and again – both makes your existing clients feel good knowing that you are still on the job and helps your team get better and faster access to their specific segment in the territory. Ads and marketing are more important today than ever before. Marketplace “noise” gives your sales people that much needed “leg up”. Sound marketing works wonders. A true leader understands this.

  9. Focus advisor development to match your team needs specifically. Forget about the latest and greatest ideas unless they help your people do what they do better. New ideas can distract your people and lower their performance. You don’t have to test this out. Believe me, we’ve tried “going with the new” many a time and I have the battle scars to prove it.

  10. Model a winning attitude. Arrogance isn’t it. Overconfidence isn’t it. Selfishness isn’t it. But there is a level of thinking market leaders have that you can model so your team can emulate it.  Think like a winner. Act like a winner.  Be a winner.  Morale always starts at the top.

As you develop this strategy, you will see constant progress in the performance of everyone on your team. Success is the natural consequence of owning your territory.

Start today!

Jim Ruta
GAMA Director and Productivity and Performance Consultant

Great Recruiting Ideas

Vol.1 – Great Recruiting Ideas

Great Recruiting Ideas
provides you with recruiting techniques used by some of the most successful people in the industry. The book offers practical, proven recruiting tips that you can implement easily in your own organization.

Great Recruiting Ideas is the first book in GAMA’s
Great Ideas series.

For more information >>

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