August 23, 2007

The Advocis Banff School Experience

The less you know, the more you study.
The more you study, the more you know.
The more you know, the more you forget.
So why study?
--- unknown
The Advocis Banff School is over for the 53rd year and enough time has passed for the sensory overload to pass away. The school is well run, well attended and well worth attending.

Well Run
Orchestrating a multiday event takes planning, attention to detail and volunteers. The results showed. The experience was positive. The wonderful location was a definite plus. There were some delays because of staff shortages at The Banff Centre for hotel registration, breakfast and lunch. Since I arrived two days early, I knew shortcuts and wasn't affected.

Well Attended
The school was filled to capacity. The main hall barely had empty seats even though sessions started at 7:30am on most days. Most other conferences don't start before 8:30am or have as many early birds.

Well Worth Attending
If you haven't attended, you're missing something special. A keynote presenter, Anthony Morris, was so moved by the experience that he registered for membership in Advocis and next year's conference on the spot. That's different.

There was plenty of useful content for increasing your revenue. I'll share more in the future.

August 19, 2007

The Inspiration of Choice (Banff School)

Two Canadians spot a battered body in a ditch. "My goodness," says one. "We must help the person who did this."
I'm posting live from the 53rd Advocis Banff School, which started earlier this evening with a speaker describing how she persevered through tremendous hardship. She started life as a heroin-addicted baby in a prison hospital in the 1940s. At age 5, her parents used her to smuggle drugs into Canada from Detroit. At 7, her mother deserted her even though her mother knew that the stepfather abused her.

There were many other shocking events that can't be communicated properly here. Luckily, life improved at age 12, thanks to new step-parents.

The point of the story was not the disturbing events that happened. The message was about choice --- improving one's life rather than blaming others for what happened.
In The Phoenix Seminar, Brian Tracy describes a technique to undo the effect of negative thoughts and events, regardless of cause: affirmations. An affirmation repeated with emotion goes to our subconscious which is nonjudgmental and believes what we tell it. A simple, multi-purpose affirmation is "I like myself".
Shortly before dying, her mother asked to meet her. Later her step-father did too. She had the strength to forgive them both for what they did. Forgiveness freed her.

The presentation gave details of a life that no child deserves. Horrible to imagine. Difficult to forget.

August 7, 2007

Emails Going Astray

If you negotiate the minefield in the drive
and beat the dogs
and cheat the cold electronic eyes
and if you make it past the shotgun in the hall.
Dial the combination.
Open the priest hole,
and if I'm in I'll tell you.
--- Pink Floyd, The Final Cut

I'm not that hard to reach. At least not on purpose.

Why You May Disagree
You won't visit this blog daily. You're busy and there's usually one article a week. The day of posting varies with my schedule (my target is Tuesday morning). So the best way to get to keep up to date is by subscribing for updates by email. When there's something new, you'll then get an email from a formerly-Australian company. The notifications use a real email address for an account. Some of you have been sending replies but I haven't been reading them because I don't monitor that account.

Advisors would say that I wasn't replying to their emails. I'd check my Blackberry and Microsoft Outlook and see no message. Must be transmission problem at their end, I figured. Wrong.

Here's an example of a series of messages I ignored
(1st email not received ... really)
(2nd email) still waiting: Hey Promod still awaiting your phone call. I have business to do and would appreciate your assistance please.
3rd time asking: call me please.
This case had a premium over $2.7 million spread over 3 years. The good news is that the advisor phoned and we spoke --- after several rounds of phone tag.

Lessons Learned
Ease of use increases usage. It's much easier to reply to an email than to look up an email address. How can you make it easier for your clients to reach you?

I'd tell you to send work-related email to my work email account but human behavior is difficult to change. So I have started monitoring the account in question.

So thanks for the emails. (Also, feel free to share your comments on this or any other post. You can do this anonymously.)

August 1, 2007

Selling And The Simpsons

"I can't believe we're paying to watch something we could see on TV for free! If you ask me, everyone in this theater is a big sucker!"
--- Homer Simpson

The quote above is near the beginning of The Simpsons Movie, which grossed an unexpected $74 million in its first weekend. That's impressive until you consider the production cost was $1 million more at $75 million.

Here's the puzzle. Why would so many people pay to see characters they can see for free? Why do we pay for bottled water when tap water or even filtered water is much cheaper? Since a $20 watch can tell the time accurately, why will people pay $100, $1,000 or even more?

People aren't rational. Here's the real question. Why are we so concerned about price when deciding which insurance product to offer our clients? Our clients aren't that concerned with other purchases. They even buy mutual funds with unusually high MERs (see Mutual Funds are Sold Not Bought Globe & Mail).

So why are we so concerned about the price. The perception is that insurance products are commodities --- like table salt. Even table salts differ. Ours is flavoured, certified and from France. That was worth the premium price.

So why can’t there be a premium in the insurance premiums?

Mini Movie Review
Watching The Simpsons animated in 3D on a huge IMAX screen a few years ago was a treat. In contrast, The Simpsons Movie is entertaining but not amazing. If you watched it on your tv, you'd be hard-pressed to tell it apart from the tv show (except for the length).