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Selling success all over the world

Gregory Pogonowski, Dip PFS, Cert CII (MP)

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Is it possible to move across the globe and still maintain high production? Can you know what your client is thinking and use that knowledge to benefit you both? Pogonowski shares sales ideas and strategies gained from more than 30 years as a financial professional, with experience ranging from the highly regulated U.K. market to Dubai, where there are no tax advantages for any products. He also details lessons which helped triple his production and led him to speak at conferences across Europe. You will learn how to apply your skills to a diverse range of clients as Pogonowski offers a 90-day challenge to help reach Court of the Table then Top of the Table-level production.

Have you even been to Hong Kong and had a spare couple of hours and thought, I know what I'll do, I'll go and get a brand new suit made? I understand they can make a bespoke suit in just two hours. Well, my advice to you is that if you do find yourself in this position, and you ask for a pinstriped suit, before leaving the shop, you should check which way you want the pinstripe to go. The reason I am wearing this suit is because it reminds me of the first MDRT Experience ever held, which I attended, and also because if you remember nothing about what I say, you will at least remember me as the "Man in the Suit."

Like Tony Gordon, I qualified for MDRT for six years without even knowing about it. This year, 2017, is my 25th year of qualification, and it's the first time that MDRT has asked me to speak at the Annual Meeting in the United States, even though I have spoken for MDRT in Europe and elsewhere. In fact, I was the first financial advisor to speak in Poland when my home country got rid of the yoke of communism, and I was on the same platform as the then MDRT President, George Pickett.

However, the beginning of my MDRT journey was when I first met Caroline Banks on November 18, 1992. I remember the date very clearly because that same day my son was born. Mother and son were OK and in the hospital for the next two days anyway, so I asked my then wife if it was all right with her if I went to a two-day conference in Brussels, Belgium, and she said, "Yes! You have qualified, so you should go."

At dinner that evening, I sat down at one of the empty tables not knowing anybody. This lovely lady came up to me and said, "Do you mind if I sit next to you?" I said, "Of course not," and that is when Caroline introduced herself to me. I didn't know who she was, but we got to talking, and she said if I qualified for this UK life insurance association convention, then I had obviously done more than I needed to also qualify for MDRT. I asked her about MDRT as I didn't know anything about it, and that was when she then made me an astonishing promise. If I was to qualify for MDRT next year and then attend the Annual Meeting the year after, she would refund the cost of my trip if MDRT was not of value to me.

In those days, the cost of going to the MDRT Annual Meeting was about 15 percent of my gross income, which I thought was quite a lot. But as Caroline had decided to take me on as her first ever mentee and with a guarantee of a refund, I thought, Why not? Let's go for it! I did have a bit of an ulterior motive as the football World Cup was being played in the United States in 1994, so I thought if nothing else, I can go and see a couple of matches.

I went to the Annual Meeting knowing no one, got bumped from my hotel to another on arrival, but did meet some MDRT guys from New Zealand who experienced the same thing. They pitied me and took me under their wing, and have since become lifelong friends. One such is Peter Chote (25-year member from Wellington, New Zealand) whom I have met up with every year at the Annual Meeting for the last 24 years. It is an understatement to say that the effect MDRT had on me was profound because when I got back home, I was filled with so many great ideas, like all first timers, so much so that my production in the next year tripled. A large bouquet of flowers was delivered to Caroline Banks later as I qualified for Court of the Table in my second year in MDRT just by implementing some of the ideas that were shared with me.

It's taken me a long time to get to Top of the Table, but I am proud to say that I have managed to do it for the 10th year running now. I am not blowing my own trumpet telling you this, as I am not the first person to do this, but just coming to the Annual Meeting every year means you can do it too. Because I've been blessed with so many different ideas and friends around the world that I can share my business problems and frustrations with, I have always been able to come up with solutions that are great for my clients, and that is what has kept me coming every year since 1994.

I am going to share with you some of the ideas that work for me, which will work for you too, in order to get you to the next level. I am not saying implement them all because you didn't get here by not knowing what you are doing. You are here because you are in the top 5 percent of financial advisors in the world, so what you are doing is right. But if you want to go to the next level as I did, and then the next level again, try some of these ideas and see if they work for you. But try them one at a time. If they don't work, drop them, but try the one that you like most first and see if it makes a difference. That's what I did. I was given an idea, and I thought, That's good. I'll try that. If it worked, I kept it because it would make me more income. If it didn't work, I dropped it and tried another one. And that's all I am suggesting for you to do. Some of the ideas are ones that you might have heard before but with a twist, and other ideas are the ones that I have come up with from being in the financial services profession for over 30 years.

From 1984 when I started until 2006, I was based in England, but with my growing list of international clients, it made sense for me to relocate to somewhere more suitable, and I moved to Dubai for that reason as well as some others. So what I have learned the last 30+ years? As you probably know, the United Kingdom is one of the most highly regulated financial services markets in the world, whereas the United Arab Emirates is in its infancy in this regard, although things are improving as I speak. The main difference is that, unlike the United States and other countries around the world where there are plenty of tax angles that you can work when it comes to insurance and investments, because there is no income tax in the UAE, there are no tax angles for us advisors to work into a product presentation, and the selling that we do is quite pure in the real sense of the word.

People buy life insurance because they need it; people make investments because they need to save for their future and their children's future; people take out cover not because of tax advantages, but because they actually care about their loved ones. Although I tripped in and out of Dubai for a year prior to moving fully, setting up contacts and learning the offshore marketplace, I only knew one person there—a client who was with me when we were both in England and who had moved to Dubai via Spain. I contacted him, and he needed help with his pension planning, which resulted in my first sale and about $20,000 commission. I was on my way, and my client introduced me to people he was working with, and so all my business, which is referral only, started from there. So the biggest difference with the ideas I am going to share with you is that they are easily transferrable to your own country because there are no tax implications.

Do you know why the average TED talk is 19 minutes? Well, I have been told the reason is because that is the attention span for most human beings. In other words, you sort of mentally switch off after this time.

So let's begin with my top 17 business ideas. I know a lot of you millennials are very fond of using your opposable thumbs to press on some sort of electronic device for information gathering. However, it has been shown that you have five times more chance to remember something if you write it down, so scribbling sticks and papyrus is the order of the day rather than a keyboard.

Here is the first exercise I want you to do. Why don't you prepare a list of the 10 people whom you spend most of your time with? Secondly, take an educated guess as to their yearly incomes, and thirdly, add those yearly incomes together and then finally, divide the total by 10 to get an average income for the group. I believe that a financial advisor's income will be the average of his clients' incomes. So while not telling you to change the time you spend with some people, try finding new ones and spend more time with people who have more money—simple. It's a thought because you can't fly with eagles if you work with turkeys.

My next idea is to question what you do to keep your clients satisfied. There is a marked difference between the levels of loyalty that clients will show you depending on what level of service you give. I am sure that most of you will not have had to deal with paying a death benefit yet because you are all too young, but what I will tell you is when a client dies, the beneficiaries of an estate, including the life insurance, usually have different financial advisors compared to the deceased. In most cases I mean the children, but the point is that you need to make sure all of your clients' children (and grandchildren depending on how old you are) know who you are and know that it should be you they need to turn to when the time comes. I make sure I have contact details of my clients' loved ones, and I send them an email saying, "If anything happens, please make sure the first person you contact is me," and I copy my clients in. I find this is a great way to really engage with my clients. You can also do this in a number of other ways—newsletters are good for some people; client appreciation events are good for other people. I am not going to tell you that there is one correct and definitive answer. What also works for me is to write a blog and to tweet

I don't tell clients what I had for breakfast like some inane celebrities do, but I just give information about real issues affecting them. Those that don't follow me, I simply email them. Pay it forward and always include an offer for a free giveaway like a Top 10 Tips for something. That way, they have to apply, and you get to know what they are interested in. Please follow my blog and follow me on Twitter, and by all means, copy what I publish if it helps you.

Many years ago, a group of farm laborers were out in the wilds in an undeveloped country and were unexpectedly offered a lift on the back of an open truck. They'd never seen a motorized vehicle before, so they climbed aboard with a degree of trepidation and excitement. The truck bumbled its journey along a rotted dirt road through the jungle until it came to the point where the workers were to get off. Unfortunately, the workers, because they had never ridden on a truck before, didn't wait for it to stop and simply stepped off the back while it was still moving. They tumbled down the road head over heels until friction halted them. Fortunately, uninjured, they stood, dusted themselves off, and laughed at their new experience. Now, why on earth did they step off a moving truck? This is the question, and the answer is simply because they didn't know the rules. Certainly, they didn't know about gravity for starters. And here is the moral of the story as far as I see it. You've got to know the rules of play because that is what is important to success. If we want to earn more money, then we better know the rules for making more money and just as importantly, keeping money and keeping it growing. If we want to be more successful in business then we need to know the rules for business success, to really know how to market and sell what we supply. How do I do this? Well, the rules are readily available to all. There are plenty of books in the MDRT Power Center as well as CDs, DVDs, and talks you can attend in the ConneXion Zone. We can learn from the experiences of others and save ourselves years of wasted time, money, and effort. These are the rules I tell my clients: On a regular basis, I partake in a program of continuing professional development so that they know they have the right advisor to help them achieve their financial goals, keeping up to date with new trends and practices. A great tip when asking a prospect who already has an advisor is to ask, "Is your advisor an MDRT member and does he or she attend the Annual Meeting every year? If not, why are you with one of the 95 percent instead of one of the top 5 percent? Don't you deserve the best?"

The next idea is something that works well for me, and I am sure will work for you. Have you ever used positive affirmation notes? We humans only use about 10 percent of our brainpower, our conscious mind. This means that our subconscious mind is the remaining 90 percent, and we don't realize we can use that too. The subconscious mind is nine times more powerful than the waking mind because it works 24/7, and that's why we can solve our problems when we are asleep without realizing it. The way to get answers from your subconscious mind into your conscious mind is to make ideas move across, so a handy hint is to write down what you want to achieve and stick it on your fridge. Do you have fridge magnets?

How many people have pictures of their kids' drawings on their fridge? Everybody has stuff on their fridge, and everybody walks past their fridge about five to ten times a day. Here is the point, if you stick it on your fridge, your subconscious mind will see it even if you don't realize you have, and you'll find a way to do it. Do you wonder why I make it back to MDRT every year now?

One of the great things about coming to an Annual Meeting like this for me is the exchange of transferrable business ideas. If I come along to you, and I exchange a coin of the same value with you, when we both go our separate ways, we both walk away with one coin each, but if I come up to you, and I exchange an idea with you, we are both going to walk away with two ideas each. You see, if I hold a candle, and I light your candle with my candle, sharing the light doesn't diminish my flame. In fact, the more you share, the brighter the idea gets. So I would challenge you to share your best idea with at least one person at this Annual Meeting. You didn't get to MDRT without having at least one good idea. Last year, the best idea I got from the whole Annual Meeting was a from a fellow MDRT member on the plane flying to Vancouver. You see, like me, he has been attending many years and is happy to share ideas. Please share them, and if you tell others one of my ideas you hear, make sure you take the credit and tell them that it was your idea because if it doesn't work I don't want them blaming me!

Let me also share my best working habits with you. A word of caution, however. The reason why people do not cultivate successful habits is because they don't understand what a habit is. Let me explain. A habit is something that you do without thinking about it as it is something instinctive. And the way to form a habit is to do the same thing for 21 days in a row. You don't need to know how it works, just why it works. The reason why New Year's resolutions fail is because people think I'm going to give up smoking; I'm going to go to the gym; I'm going to implement a better diet, all because they are trying to change more than one thing at the same time. It doesn't work. You can only change one thing at a time if you want it to become a habit, and you have to change that one thing 21 days in a row. So if you want to stop smoking, stop smoking for 21 days in a row, but don't change anything else, just do that. Whatever it takes, 21 days in a row. So all you can change is 17 things about yourself in the next year, and then take a week off.

Cast your mind back to the year 2000 when soon to be "Sir" Clive Woodward took over the management of the English rugby team, England having never won the World Cup before. For them to win it in 2003, he told his squad that if we do the same things we've done before, we are not going to win, so we are going to do some new things. If you buy into my program, we will win the World Cup; if you don't, we won't. He instituted a new system where if players arrived 15 minutes early, they were early, if they arrived 10 minutes early, they were on time, and if they arrived five minutes early, they were late and would not be allowed to train. In fact, they wouldn't be selected for the next game. Now, some professional sports people have large egos, and some squad members thought this was a joke, until they found themselves dropped from the team. You see, there is no "I" in "team." This is why everybody needs to be on the same page.

I have always adopted this philosophy: If you arrive 15 minutes early, that gives you time to think about the presentation to your client, and it also gives you time to gather your thoughts clearly. And if there is an unnecessary delay such as traffic, you are always going to arrive on time anyway. The three secrets to success are turn up on time, say please and thank you, and do what you say you are going to do. Under promise and over deliver.

When I started in this business, I worked for an insurance company, and it liked to have a scoreboard with all the advisors' names on it and their production details, but that was in the 1980s. Now that this has been discredited as being the opposite of motivational, what do you do instead? If this does motivate you, great, keep going, but then you're only going to try and beat the person who you are setting yourself against, or for you to be number one in your branch or in your company, but that doesn't mean you are actually reaching your full potential. My first sales manager always beat my monthly figures no matter what I tried, until he told me not to pit myself against him or anyone else and to just try and be the best Greg that I can be. I am not going to be Tony Gordon, so why do I try to beat him? Maybe I can, maybe I can't; I've just got to make sure that I beat myself.

When we look at the Olympic Games, does everyone get a gold medal? No, just one, but there are many competitors in each event, so the point is if you look at how many of the athletes actually achieve their personal best at the Olympics, that's the important thing. You can't be better than the best you've ever been, so make sure your business is set up so that you can be the best you can be and that it doesn't really matter whether you are number one in the company or number 101 as long as you achieve the goals you want to achieve.

The biggest problem I think we all have is stress. I prefer to use the word pressure because stress is bad, whereas pressure is not a bad thing. It actually is a good thing because it pushes you to achieve more, so you need to change your stress into pressure by turning a negative into a positive. Now, I am not suggesting for one minute that you all go to laughter yoga classes, however well that seems to work for some people, but you need to do something to try and combat this, something that works for you. I've tried many things, but the thing that works best for me is actually just a simple "stop." I just pause, take five deep breaths, and then I carry on. I think if you do this, at least a few times in your working day, it will help you to reach your targets because you will be able to focus more easily instead of getting anxious.

I know a lot of you know about networking, probably a lot more than me, and it is not new, but here is my take on the topic. If you look at the winners in all fields of life not just financial services, they all have a great network. Why? Well again, you don't need to know how, you just need to know why. There are a lot of great writers who can tell you how it works, but the main advantages of why networking does, not least of which is that it brings more clients, but the reason why I network a lot is because it keeps me in the public eye. I meet people who I met years before and have never done business with, but they suddenly approach me and say, "I'm glad you're here Greg as I need to you talk to you about this and that." Last month, I got an email from a client to say, "You won't remember me Greg, but eight years ago, you sent me a list of your services, and now I need your help with numbers 1, 7, and 15. Can you contact me please?" Putting yourself in front of people reminds them that you are here and still ready to help, because "no" is not a "no;" it's just a "not now."

For many, our products and services are not right for them at that time, so you've to make sure you put yourself out there for when it is. And the one thing to remember is that if you go networking, and you get some more business from it, don't suddenly shy away from that networking group because then if you have to go back when business is harder, people will see that you are actually a taker and not a giver, and they will react accordingly. So I believe that in good times, you should network even more, because as we all know, keeping activity high will lead to rewards in the long run if not at all times.

One of my favorite films is Wall Street, which as many of you may remember stars Michael Douglas as Gordon Gecko, who coined the famous phrase "Lunch is for wimps." Look where that landed him! My belief is that even if you don't actually stop and eat something at lunch, the least you need to do is take a physical break. A recent LinkedIn report states that 20 percent of workers eat at their desks, and 13 percent don't eat at all. Do you think they are the winners? Regardless of where I am working, I will always take a physical break from my location, even if it means just walking round the block for five minutes and eating an apple. This habit helps me focus my mind on getting things done in less time, leading to less stress. Simply put, I believe the most successful advisors are those who simply move away from their desks.

Many years ago, I met a professor, and he told me an interesting story. One day he was in his laboratory, and he was studying things under the microscope when he accidentally put his hand under the lens and was quite fascinated looking at his skin. Anyway, he took a break, had a cup of coffee, and then came back and carried on looking at his skin. He saw that his hand was actually shaking but not to the naked eye, and he wondered what the reason was. He figured out that it was from the caffeine in the coffee. Now, I am not going to tell you whether caffeine is good or bad for you, but at the end of the story, he told me that his focus was researching the brain, and he discovered that the brain needs fuel in the same way that the body needs food. He also found out that the brain needs food at certain times of day—11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 3:00 a.m. The brain needs a stimulant in the form of something sweet, not a pick-me-up like caffeine, but something to boost brainpower. So since then, I have adopted the habit of ingesting sweet brain fuel. Now, it could be a caffeine drink with glucose, drinking a cup of coffee with sugar, but it needs to be something sweet. I am not saying to eat a box of candy; a banana will do. By the way, I don't wake up at 3:00 a.m. and eat something sweet and go back to sleep, but two out of three isn't bad.

When people ask, "Why should I use you Greg as opposed to another advisor?" That's the time to talk about MDRT. Be proud to state you are among the top 5 percent of financial advisors around the world. "So Mr. Client, if you needed an operation on your heart, would you want a surgeon who is a specialist in heart surgery, or do you want a junior doctor to operate who just came from a 70-hour shift on the general ward? Which doctor do you think produces the best results and gets paid the most?" This is something I tell my clients as to why they should use me, and also to recommend me to others as opposed to any other advisor.

I don't know about you, but I keep great records, not for any other reason than when things are not going so well for me, as they still do from time to time for whatever reason, I just go back and look through my records and find when things were going really well, and I try to compare what I was doing then that is different to I am doing now. Is it the number of people I am seeing? Is it the quality of people I am seeing? Was I networking more then? The trouble is that some people don't want to learn from history. They just want to say, "That doesn't matter; everything is different now." That's the whole point; everything is different, but everything is the same, so keep great records. Look at gold medalists. They all have great records. All winners have great records because how else can they see what they did, what they changed, and how they improved? I believe to be a winner, always document everything because you'll never know when you'll need to prove it.

I'm sure you have all heard of the 80/20 rule, or the Pareto principle if you like. I am not going to go on about this, but I am going to make a couple of comments. I have heard managers say if you've got 100 clients, figure out which are your top 20, sack the other 80 or pass them on to a colleague, and just concentrate on your top 20. The problem with that, having it tried it once many years ago, is that you are left with only 20 clients of whom only four become your top 20 percent. I appreciate you spend 80 percent of your time with the clients who make you only 20 percent of your income, but what I'm trying to say is that you can't have a top 20 percent without the other 80 percent. If you try and get rid of the other 80 percent, you will end up with a smaller number and a smaller income.

In my experience, and what I want to share with you about the 80/20 rule is something else. I have found that most everyone is either a morning person, an afternoon person, or an evening person. You know who you are, you know who your husband or wife is. I am a morning person. I tend to get things done much better in the mid-morning, whereas my current wife (I call her that to keep her on her toes) is a night person. She seems to come alive as the sun goes down. I think that's the problem with marrying a vampire, but there you go. So here's the habit I have formed armed with this knowledge: Years ago, my friend Carole Spiers, who is a BBC journalist and author, told me that people work best in two-hour chunks, so I adopted that strategy immediately. I work an eight-hour day. This works as follows: 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. is my first two hours, and then I have my brain-food break. Then 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. followed by my lunch break of a five-minute walk and some fruit. Then 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. is the next two-hour chunk, with another brain-fuel break at 3:00 p.m., and I finish with the last session from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. What I try and do is to schedule the most important part of my working day in the morning, in one of my two-hour chunks using the 80/20 rule applicable to me to my best advantage. As I am not an afternoon person, that is the least important part of my day and best for non-client-facing work. And that is how you can leverage the 80/20 rule because it applies to the way you work, better than for your client bank.

I am going to ask you four questions very quickly. I want you to think of the first answer that comes into your head. Don't cheat. Think of a flower, think of a color, think of a piece of furniture, and lastly, think of a number between one and ten. Did you think of a rose? Did you think red? Did you think of a chair? Did you think of number seven? If you look at all the choices, I did pretty well. Look how many chose number seven yet randomly it should only have been 10 percent of you. The thing to learn here is that if you know what your clients are thinking before they do, when you ask particular questions, you have a greater chance of success. So read and learn about neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and how people behave. I would particularly recommend anything by Dr. Allan Pease.

I mentioned earlier that the effect MDRT had on my production in the first year after I qualified and attended the Annual Meeting was to triple my income. This was largely because of one idea I implemented as I took it to a new level. As you all know, we are very lucky to have fantastic leaders and producers here at this Annual Meeting, and they are all very approachable. They might look as if they are very busy, but believe me, and it's been said before, just go up to them and say, "Excuse me, do you have a couple of minutes of your time to share something with me?" Most of them will be very happy to, especially if you buy them a drink in the bar at the end of the day. When I did this in 1995, sitting next to advisors such as Tony Gordon, I asked the leaders of our business what one idea, if they had to just pick one, led them to the most success. Obviously, different advisors told me different things, but the one thing that seemed to create a theme was a study group. I didn't know what that was, so I learned more about it and found that it meant discussing ideas with my peers.

If you work in a company, you have more opportunities to do this, but if you work in a brokerage on your own, it's harder to do. So in 1996, I got together with the few financial advisors who I had met at MDRT and who lived relatively near to where I worked in England, and with the help of MDRT veteran Terry O'Halloran, who has since retired, I started the Midlands MDRT Professional Development group. I got a list from MDRT of all the advisors who were currently MDRT qualified and who lived within a hundred-mile radius of where I lived, and 33 people turned up at a hotel conference room I had booked when I expected five or maybe six. We discussed how often we'd meet and what we could share. Some people decided it was not for them, but for about 15 advisors, we decided to meet every quarter and share sales ideas and business practices. For example, we all have computers, but as I am not computer literate and if I wanted to find out what the best computer or software for me is, as a financial advisor, I could ask the colleagues in my study group. So it's not just sharing sales ideas; it is everything to do with the business of being a financial advisor. How much do you pay your secretary, PA, or paraplanner if you have one? I have no idea what the right salary is to attract, recruit, and maintain the right type of person, so I would find out by asking my colleagues. I am very pleased to say that this study group at one stage contributed 5 percent of all the attendees at the Annual Meeting who came from the United Kingdom. The principle aim of my study group was that we wanted every member to attend the Annual Meeting at least once, and guess what? Many of those people are still here today, thanks to my small efforts. And even though I left the United Kingdom 11 years ago, it is still thriving. So if you are not in a study group already, find out who the MDRT members are near you and form a group. You'll be surprised by what you learn.

I challenge each of you, when you get back to your office during your next normal working day, to apply ABC to it. Get a pad and make three columns: A, B, and C. Whatever you think you have to do, that only you can do and you should do, place in column A. In the B column, write down the things that you currently do but would be better if you delegated them away because somebody else can do them for less than you get paid when you are client-facing. And in the C column, insert the things you should definitely not only delegate but, even better, outsource.

Let me give you some of my examples. At the start of the work day, getting up, washing, and getting dressed I can do for myself so it is on my A list because I have no intention of getting a butler, nor do I want to be in Downton Abbey. Next was getting into my car to drive to my office, so that's when I thought, Should I move this to my B list? Should I hire a chauffeur to drive me not only to my office but from meeting to meeting? Think of what I could do in that time, and I know some advisors do this. I don't because I like driving, and it is part of my thinking time, but this will fall in my B category in any event. When I get to the office in the old days, the first thing I used to do was make a cup of coffee. Surely this is a C job. I am sure if you do this exercise for yourself, you'll find a list of very few A things. And in my book, that's telephoning clients, preparing reports and presentations, attending client appointments, public speaking, and networking. Everything else is on my B and C lists. I am not saying I only do the A things, but I am sure you get what I mean. It improves over time, and taking it to the next level, I actually thought, Why do I need secretaries and an office, with desks and phones? Why listen to requests for days off and have to give holiday pay, and listen to why they didn't get to work because they were sick? So I outsourced all of my admin support. My current PA, Jennifer, has been with me for five years, and I think in that time, I've only seen her about three times. If she is on holiday, ill, or doing something else, she has a colleague, Daniella, who can cover for her, so I don't have to worry or take any time doing that, and this is all at a totally separate location to where I work. I also have a driver, who can take documents from place to place, get signatures on forms, and collect items from clients if need be. This is all managed by a separate company. In fact, I liked the company so much that I became a nonexecutive director in order to promote their services. Even my PA has seen the light and relocated to her home country. She still works the same hours that I need in spite of the time difference. So ask yourself, Do you really need someone in an office in the 21st century? Millennials only have their tablet for company.

This is my best sales idea, which you can copy. While the numbers might change a little bit where you live, I am sure you will understand the point.

I insured a 70-year-old, nonsmoking woman, for £200,000 life cover with a premium of £268 per month, on a whole of life basis, which means that the cover will never run out provided premiums are paid. Now, you will have a different name for this plan—universal, whole of life, or whatever, but I am sure you have a variant in your home country. I also appreciate that in Australia and New Zealand, for example, they don't have whole of life, but they do have term life to age 99. Here is the point. If you divide the premium of £268 a month into £200,000, and if this 70-year-old woman lives to 132 years of age and then dies, you will only get your money back. If she dies at the age of 83, which is the life expectancy for women in the United Kingdom right now, then you are guaranteed a return of 378 percent on your money, which is just under 11 percent per year. Where else can you get such a guaranteed net return because where I come from, life insurance has no tax implications.

Now, how do you do this? This is the example of a policy that I bought for my mother. She is 80 now and still with us, I am happy to say, and I am still happily paying the premiums for the policy that is in trust for me. So, why don't you insure you parents? And if you are a millennial like I aspire to be, why don't you insure you grandparents too? All they have to do is pass a medical if necessary, and you just pay the premium. It's guaranteed money for you. And then what? Share this idea with your clients. Do you know any other advisor apart from Greg who asks for the name and date of birth of his clients' parents during the fact find?

I hope and trust that at least one of my 17 ideas works for you over the next year, but it can only work if you try one, so go on. If you enjoyed hearing what I had to say today, my name is Greg Pogonowski. If not, my name is Tony Gordon! Be lucky and try to save the world, just one life at a time.

Gregory Pogonowski, Dip PFS, Cert CII (MP), is a 24-year MDRT member with 12 Court of the Table and 11 Top of the Table honors who has served on multiple committees within the organization. He decided to move to Dubai in 2006 to service his expanding international clientele. With more than 200 nationalities in his city, he adapts to different cultures when looking after his expat clients.


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