President McNeely: NAIFA’s Future is Bright

October 5th, 2015, Comments Off on President McNeely: NAIFA’s Future is Bright.


NAIFA’s plans to strengthen industry partnerships, improve finances, attract and retain members and deliver personalized value to every member can only be achieved “with creative thinking and nimble action by our volunteers, executives and staff,” NAIFA President Juli McNeely said Sunday at NAIFA’s Career Conference and Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

The ability for NAIFA to move forward on its plans does not mean taking “the easiest or the most popular path,” McNeely said. “There will be some storm clouds along the way, there always are. But I believe that if we work together as one NAIFA there are many more sunny days to come.”

McNeely said she believes that “NAIFA’s future is bright,” and identified nine scenarios  – along with examples of NAIFA states and locals that already are incorporating those scenarios — that will assure NAIFA’s future is bright. They are:

  • NAIFA must Remain member (advisor) driven with broad practice specialty reach. “For 125 years NAIFA has been an advisor-driven association.  This is a strength. First, it allows us to have broad grassroots coverage and it reinforces our conscious decision to remain a ‘big tent.’ Second, it allows us to focus on what is best for the advisor and the clients they serve. Third, it allows the advisor to continue to be served well by NAIFA if and when their practices evolve in order to meet the changing needs of their market.”
  • We MUST Build a Culture of Unity instead of a Culture of Competition. “As a federation, NAIFA has strong, independent associations that bode well for generating personal ownership and pride that can lead to innovative and creative results. But NAIFA also has associations that are struggling financially and facing difficulties building a leadership bench. Regardless of your situation, remember: NAIFA has ONE mission, and if we are to deliver on this mission, we MUST work together,” McNeely said.
  • We must Create a Fluid & Flexible Structure. NAIFA’s struggling locals have dissolved or merged over the years.  As a federation NAIFA must be open to the best possible way to deliver NAIFA nationally, in every state and in local areas. NAIFA’s structure should support its mission and not become a drain on financial or human resources.
  • We must build a financial model that supports the core mission. NAIFA should seek efficiencies at every level so that the core mission can be funded properly without having to compete for dues dollars.
  • We must make it easy to join NAIFA and make it critical to stay. NAIFA needs to streamline and simplify the membership process and make it crystal clear that staying a member of NAIFA is a must.
  • NAIFA must continuously assess and address the current trends. NAIFA needs to stay ahead of the ever changing financial services industry and lead members toward their successful future by offering education and research to stretch and grow our knowledge.
  • We must Create a personalized member experience. NAIFA must strive to communicate and deliver value in a personal way, utilizing technology and what we already know about our members to meet the professional needs of individuals in a more robust way.
  • We must Attract and retain members from a wide variety of sources. “NAIFA needs to seek new members and retain existing ones by continuing to build out multiple channels that include affiliated and independent distribution channels, field leadership, gender and generational sources, and diverse markets.”
  • We must strengthen industry partnerships. NAIFA works with several industry partners at associations and companies in many ways and will continue to be the driver in strengthening these.

In the area of strengthening partnerships, McNeely announced Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) has officially named NAIFA as their Advocacy and Professional Development Partner. The two organizations signed a formal agreement prior to the Annual Conference.

“We hope to develop more of these partnerships because it benefits the entire industry,” McNeely said.

In her closing, McNeely thanked members, leaders and staff and encouraged all to “take their passion and use it to fuel a drive to renew NAIFA and make NAIFA indispensable to every member for decades to come.”



NAIFA 2015 Workshop – We’re All Selling Something… But How Do You Get Them to Buy?

October 3rd, 2015, Comments Off on NAIFA 2015 Workshop – We’re All Selling Something… But How Do You Get Them to Buy?.

Ryan Lowe, author of Get Off Your Attitude, asked NAIFA 2015 attendees “How do we get them to buy what we’re selling?” and explained the habits shared by the most successful salespeople.

People buy from people they like and people they perceive as experts, Lowe said. People who know how to communicate and get along with people are often the most successful salespeople.

Positive attitude is the leading attribute linked to our success, he said. It sets the tone for how we response to adversity. A positive attitude will get you through a month with no sales or adversity in the office. It is number one on Lowe’s list of the top ten positive attributes of top producers.

#1 Positive Attitude
People, including clients, want to keep their distance from negative people and associate with positive people.

#2 Goal setting
Our goals are what make us. Clearly defining goals allows us to share our vision for success with colleagues, employees, and clients. Three percent of Americans consistently write down and review their goals. Perhaps not coincidentally, Lowe said, three percent of Americans make six-figure salaries.

#3 Time Management
Procrastination is very common. Ten minutes of planning each day will save two hours of time the next day. The best time managers know how to delegate tasks, schedule appointments with themselves for important tasks, and eliminate tasks that don’t help them reach their goals.

#4 Prospecting
If you are not asking for referrals you are leaving money on the table, Lowe said. The time to get a referral is when a client has had a great experience. The most successful salespeople make asking for referrals part of the close. The best clients provide the best referrals.

#5 Credibility
Know your clients (memorize their names, to start) and make sure that you are an expert in your industry. An expert knows his products inside and out, which lends to credibility.

#6 Identify Needs
Top sales professionals ask open-ended questions so that clients will do most of the talking and they have a true understanding of the clients’ needs.

#7 Presentation Skills
Once they have an understanding of clients’ needs, successful sales professionals have good stories they use to illustrate how products fulfill those client needs.

#8 Closing
Kids are the best salespeople in the world because they have no fear and will ask for something until they get it, Lowe says. But sales professionals, if they are in tune with the client’s needs, will be able to offer specific products and solutions. An important next step that many salespeople neglect is to then tell the client what the next step will be once they decide to buy, which removes some of the client’s uncertainty and fear.

#9 Objections
Client objections provide opportunities that the best sales professionals use to improve their understanding of their clients and develop solutions for their problems.

#10 Self Education
The best sales professionals learn from their mistakes and their success. They are always looking for ways to improve themselves. Take the time to read books and to invest in yourself, Lowe says. Listen to educational podcasts to keep you focused and confident and improve your attitude. Attend seminars, both in your profession and on other self-improvement and motivational subjects.