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Qualifying for MDRT again

Matt Pais

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You can requalify, even after a tough year. Members tell you how.

Qualifying for MDRT is a huge accomplishment for a financial advisor, and a big part of making it the first time is looking ahead toward requalifying the second year. It’s certainly not a given, as many members struggle to repeat what is typically a career-best performance. Some even fall short the following year, only to make it back the year after.

To help first-timers in this effort, some of these “in, then out, then back in” members offer tips on how they made it back.

Who: Lesley Paul Harleaux, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Target market: A broad spectrum from blue-collar workers to white-collar professionals, as well as small-business owners. Harleaux aims for clients who are married, ages 25 to 55, own a home, are employed and have kids.

What happened to not requalify: “I was right there; I would like to say my level of production was about the same, but obviously I didn’t get enough numbers in,” he said. “Sometimes you end up needing to get in front of more clients. I really made a push the last two months, but it just wasn’t enough. Sometimes you can be getting in front of the wrong people too. If you’re not getting in front of qualified prospects, you can be wasting a lot of time. So when I did a review of the year, I identified some appointments I shouldn’t have even gone on.”

Advice: Focus every day, and make every week strong. “Don’t let up at any time during the year. That was part of it; maybe I let up a little bit,” he said. “The presentation is still the same, the phone calls were still the same. Sometimes you get a lot of cancellations, sometimes you run into some bigger leads that can run into more production and sometimes there’s just some average sales. The only thing you really can control is your attitude and your activity. If you can get in front of more people and stay consistent, that’s how you qualify for MDRT.”

The only thing you really can control is your attitude and your activity.

Who: Miles Douglas Pruner, LUTCF, Anchorage, Alaska

Target market: Business owners, families and pre-retirees.

What happened to not requalify: He took a month off in the summer to travel to Italy. “When you disappear from this business for a while, you don’t perform as well,” he said. He says he doesn’t regret the trip, but he nonetheless told his wife, “I’m never taking a month off again,” making future trips shorter to keep business moving forward.

Advice: Develop business (he’s learned to work more with the retirement income market as he and his clients get older), increase referrals (“Sometimes you forget to ask, so I’ve been better at making sure I’m getting those”) and get a stand-up desk. “I know that when I sat I would get complacent about whatever’s on the computer,” he said. “When I’m on my feet, I’m always moving. It seems to incite you to be productive.”

Who: Alexa D. Sider Pao, MS, Orlando, Florida

Target market: Physicians, a change after moving from Virginia, where she worked with fire and rescue employees.

What happened to not requalify: Though she was doing everything she normally does for her business, Sider noted that she was less focused professionally when her fiancé (now husband) moved to New York and the relationship became long-distance, necessitating increased traveling.

Advice: “I went back to the basics. I went back to setting two appointments every single day,” she said. “Some things you can’t really predict in this business. The only thing you can really predict is your activity. Your activity leads to success — never stop learning and never stop educating yourself.”

10 tips to career success

  1. Treat it like a business.
  2. Get up at the same time.
  3. Work regular hours (don’t take time off because you had a big case).
  4. Set goals and objectives.
  5. Try to specialize early.
  6. Learn how to delegate (hire staff before you think you need them).
  7. Work with other advisors on joint cases until you know what you are doing.
  8. Make sure that you have credentials of some type.
  9. Work on your craft, not just your credentials.
  10. Continue to learn.

— Clay Gillespie, CFP, CIM
17-year MDRT member, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


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