2007; my best year on record. I knew it had the makings to be a great year when I made my first hole in one ever on January 2nd of ’07.
My day job is front line sales in commercial insurance. I’m responsible for identifying my prospects and coming up with a plan of action for not only getting an appointment, but be compelling enough my prospect is willing to fire the person they currently have representing them and hire me.
Needless to say, there is a lot of networking, prospecting, courting, etc involved to even have the opportunity to make these deals happen.
Touch ’em all baby, that ball is out of here
Based on groundwork I had done over a two year period, by March of ’07 I was successful on two new business accounts. If one was a home run, the other was a grand slam. Hands down, career year by March that immediately increased my income by 65%. I was the toast of the office, I was the man.
Wait, there is more
This was the year my oldest son was a senior in college and my youngest just started so they were able to be off at school at least one year together. It was also the year my oldest got accepted into the Law School of his choice without having to apply anywhere else.
I played in a prestigious golf tournament where they provided us with new Footjoys upon arriving and my team won our flight and 1st prize was a brand new Hooter’s golf bag. At the dinner afterwards, they drew my name for the 42″ flat screen TV.
Guess what, I wasn’t even registered to play; I didn’t pay a dime. I got a call at 11:30 am to see if I could fill in for someone who couldn’t make it and by 12:30 we were teeing off. Boy Scout motto – be prepared.
At another golf tournament during this year, I won a ball drop for $500. And finally, I was playing in a Ryder Cup style tournament my friend has put on for 12+ years and scored my second hole in one. To put it in perspective, I’m a 16-18 handicapper and almost everybody there was a better golfer than me.
In the 12 year history, nobody had scored a hole in one so it accorded me somewhat legendary status at the time. Well, it might have been the drinking afterwards but at least I was a legend in my own mind.
Why didn’t I buy a lottery ticket that year; I was en fuego.
But what have you done for me lately?
My business and my income is directly affected by the health of the businesses we insure. When the bottom started to drop out of the economy it turned ugly pretty quickly. Did I tell you how great my ’07 was……..
In sales you don’t have the luxury to celebrate your victories too long. Once you stop growing you become stagnant and start to lose ground. Whereas I was getting all the accolades in 2007, 2008 was a challenge and a harsh reality check.
I chose sales as a profession because I like interacting with people and freedom of time. Knowing I will only get paid on what I kill, there has to be results however. I am on 100% commission and have never had 2 paychecks the same in the 28+ years I have been at @LanierUpshaw. The good news is, it is sustainable income as long as you keep them as a customer; the bad news is, it is hard to budget your income at times.
Do you want to put it on cruise control?
After ’07 I had all these plans to start mentoring the new people we were bringing on and being able to get away from the constant pressure to produce. It’s very easy to drop in the service mode with insurance (I have a team that is paid to do that) and I have to remember my number one function is new business production and strengthening the relationship I have with existing customers.
Somebody definitely moved my cheese after ’07. The good news is, I am still drawing a paycheck and I still have as much opportunity in front of me as I ever did.
Do you think it would be nice to sit back at some time and say ‘whew, I think I made it’? Did you ever have that year you think it should be a ‘walk off’ home run, but find the next day you have to start all over?
It’s like that second hole in one I had. You would think that would be game, set, match right? All it did was won that hole and we ended up halving (tie) the match. If that don’t beat all, huh?
Is there really ever a walk off home run in life? Maybe an inheritance or a lottery but everything else you have to grind it out everyday. What about you, ever thought you had a walk off home run?