Episode 23: Sales Edition: Taking Care of People feat. Tony Jackson
Welcome to the first episode of Sales Edition with Andy Cowan, our new Lead. Empower. Grow. mini-series featuring our very own Director of Sales interviewing top leaders about how they reach such high sales numbers.
Our first guest is Field Vice President Tony Jackson out of Charlotte, NC, who was gracious enough to talk to Andy about where he finds his leads, how he connects with prospects, and how he leverages his book to close so many sales. Tony gave some valuable insight on his entire process, including the F.O.R.T. Method of talking to prospects and how he gets people to join him for a conversation.
Want to know how our top salespeople are finding leads? How they are connecting with prospects? What their appointment process looks like? Tune in for more episodes of Sales Edition with Andy Cowan, coming each month on the Lead. Empower. Grow. feed. If you want to increase your personal production, you won't want to miss it.
Jeff Lehman 00:00
Hello and welcome to Lead. Empower. Grow., a podcast featuring entrepreneurs who lead productive teams, empower their communities, and grow successful businesses of their own.
Jeff Lehman 00:08
Today is the first episode of an exciting new series that will be released under the same feed — the first Sales Edition of Lead. Empower. Grow. Now, typically on this podcast I, your host, Jeffrey Lehman, interview agents about how they started their business, the challenges they faced at first... those aspects of entrepreneurship. But not really the sales side. Not the day-to-day nitty-gritty. Because I've never been a salesperson — I've only ever been a marketer, a Content Creator. I couldn't offer that unique insight that comes from field experience. But, thankfully, our Director of Sales, Andy Cowan, reached out and offered to help me interview people about the most important side of the business and bring all of his expertise to the table in helping our listeners run better businesses.
Jeff Lehman 00:53
Today's episode is an enlightening conversation with Tony Jackson. You'll recognize his name if you've listened to the podcast for a long time. And today, he walks Andy through his sales process: how he uses the book he wrote to get prospects through the door, how he converts that to an appointment, and how he determines exactly what the clients need in terms of financial products. He and Andy to close the episode on an inspiring grace note — that way more important than any big commission is getting a client exactly what they need to find financial security and peace of mind. Listen and enjoy.
Andy Cowan 01:24
Hello, and welcome everyone. My name is Andy Cowan, the Director of Sales here at FFS. I'm really excited about today's podcast: we have a special edition, a Sales Edition.
Andy Cowan 01:33
You know, as Director of Sales, obviously I'm focused on growing sales. So we are going to talk today to a really special person, Tony Jackson out of Charlotte, North Carolina. I think most of the people who've been with the enterprise are familiar with Tony in some form or fashion. But for those of you who are new, he's a Field Vice President coming out of Charlotte, North Carolina. He's been with us, I believe, since 2016?
Tony Jackson 01:52
Yeah, I think it was around 2016.
Andy Cowan 01:54
Six years or so?
Tony Jackson 01:55
Yeah, it'll be six years in December, I do believe.
Andy Cowan 01:57
It's been a big year for you, obviously. From a production standpoint, it's been awesome. I mean, you're putting points on the board, cash flow looks great, and this year — I guess it really was kind of the end of last year, wasn't it? You published a book called Increase, Protect, and Dominate Your Money.There are all kinds of good tidbits in here.
Andy Cowan 02:14
I loved the book, but how have you used it from a prospecting standpoint? How have you used it from a sales standpoint? Has it helped you?
Tony Jackson 02:23
The answer is yes, yes and yes. I actually launched the book on my birthday, on February 22, and since then, it's been a real blessing. And what I've found, Andy, is that when I meet with potential clients, for many of them, it kind of shortens that sales process. I certainly think that just being a published author also gives some credibility. You don't have to spend as much time developing credibility and trust — it's almost a given, "This guy must know what he's talking about, he's got a book."
Andy Cowan 03:04
Absolutely, you come across much more credible. You come across a sharp.
Andy Cowan 03:07
Let's talk about how you tactically do this, right? Let's say you meet someone, you bump into them at a grocery store, you start having a conversation... what do you actually say to them? I mean, you don't just say, "Oh, by the way, here's my book, read it. I'll call you next week." Walk us through that conversation a little bit. What are you actually doing?
Tony Jackson 03:24
The way I have it set up, it is available on Amazon, but I have a whole sales funnel developed around the book. So, I prefer them to go to my website, order the book, and once they do that there's a series of ten emails that they'll get from me. Each one of those emails are highlighting one of the strategies in the book, giving them the opportunity to schedule an appointment and get on my calendar. They schedule, and we have a conversation.
Tony Jackson 03:26
It's really been a great lead generator for me, and if they do it through my website, I capture their email, I capture their phone number. If they order it through Amazon, I don't get a chance to capture any of that stuff.
Andy Cowan 04:09
I think capturing that information is vital, frankly, right? It allows you to drip on them and nurture those leads a little bit — and most often, what I've found from my experience in this business is that you talk to someone and they like what you have to say, but they're not ready. Then, six months later, something happens in their lives.
Tony Jackson 04:23
Then, they're ready. Those life events.
Andy Cowan 04:27
You have to find buyers when they're ready.
Tony Jackson 04:29
Andy Cowan 04:29
That's a great way to just keep them in the hopper, so to speak.
Tony Jackson 04:34
Well, and I was going to share a story with you that just happened last week. I had a technician come by working on the alarm at the house. He asked me what I do. I said, "Well, I do financial services, financial wellness coaching..." I gave the guy my book, so I had a quick appointment with him a couple of days after. Yesterday, I get a text from him saying, "Hey, give my dad a call. He needs to move his 401(k)."
Tony Jackson 04:59
Had it not been for putting the book in his hand, he may not have given it to his dad and what have you. It's definitely been a blessing.
Andy Cowan 05:09
Would you say that this book has led to most of your new prospects this year?
Tony Jackson 05:14
I would say yes, in some degree. Some of them are old prospects that have maybe gone cold, leads that have gone cold who now have the book, and it kind of refreshes them. And so, I think there are quite a few of them that have come directly from it.
Tony Jackson 05:34
Definitely the larger cases that I've done have come as a result of the book in some way. I closed a million-dollar rollover earlier this year, and I really think the book helped to finally get it closed. I mean, I'd been dating this guy for, you know, a year.
Andy Cowan 05:55
[Laughs]. It really is dating. I mean, that's a great word.
Tony Jackson 05:58
Yeah, so then a couple of weeks after he has the book in his hands, he says, "Let's make it happen. Let's do it."
Tony Jackson 06:04
I definitely think it helps for sure.
Andy Cowan 06:06
Okay, let's say you're a newer agent. You don't have a website. You don't have the click funnel or the sales funnel online — but you do have access to a social media account, right?
Tony Jackson 06:17
Andy Cowan 06:18
You do have the ability to just buy some books and have them ready when you meet people, right? So, Tony, if you didn't have those kinds of systems set up, how would you take advantage of this? How would you try and replicate the success you're having with this book without the sales funnel? What would you tell the new agent there.
Tony Jackson 06:35
I would do exactly what I was doing before I wrote the book. First, it was Patrick Kelly's book, Tax-Free Retirement.
Andy Cowan 06:42
Tony Jackson 06:43
The Retirement Miracle, and, for years, I've been using David McKnight's book, The Power of Zero.
Andy Cowan 06:49
Tony Jackson 06:49
I would give that to clients and say, "Hey, read this."
Tony Jackson 06:52
If I didn't have my own funnel, I would do the same thing: I'd take this book, I'd give it to a client, and I'd say, "Hey, check this out." Depending on what type of prospect they were, I may say, "If you want, start at Chapter Two." Then, I would follow up with them and say, "What'd you think of the book? Let's talk about it. Let's talk about how these strategies could work in your situation."
Tony Jackson 07:18
Now, my team members should said, "Hey, listen, would you like to get on the phone with the guy who wrote the book?" Let's have an introduction on a phone call. Help me solidify it for you.
Tony Jackson 07:29
Any tool that we have is almost a third-party validation for what you're telling them.
Andy Cowan 07:35
What I love about the book, or something like it — it could be an article, right? It doesn't necessarily have to be a book. It could be an article from Forbesor The Motley Fool or wherever you find it, right? — but what I really like about the book is saying, "Hey, turn to Chapter Two, I want to share this idea with you and then get your opinion.
Tony Jackson 07:54
Andy Cowan 07:55
It's not even a sales conversation, right? We're going to sit down, and we're going to have a chat. We're going to have a chat about this topic, and if it's something that you like, I can help you with it.
Andy Cowan 08:04
That phrase: "I just want to share an idea with you, and then get your opinion," is very, very powerful. And the reason being? Everyone's got opinions. Everyone likes to talk about what they think. Most people, anyway, like to talk about what they think.
Tony Jackson 08:19
I do use that language a lot when I give the book away. It's, "Oh, you got my book? Well, I'd love to get your opinion on it. Tell me what you think of it."
Tony Jackson 08:27
I think the things about my book that people appreciate are the stories. There real life client stories in there. We changed the names and places, but each of those chapters starts with a story. So, people appreciate the stories, and they can relate to those.
Andy Cowan 08:46
Storytelling is how you sell. You've got to find a way to relate your products and services through a story that they can relate to based on their own experiences.
Tony Jackson 08:57
Andy Cowan 08:57
One of my favorites is at the very end. It's the section called "It's OK to Start with Term.: A little autobiographical, there.
Tony Jackson 09:05
[Laughs]. Absolutely, absolutely.
Andy Cowan 09:08
But you know what? There are a lot of people in that situation. They're 25–years-old. They got married, had a kid, and they think, "Whoa — I can't afford a million dollar IUL!" Right? They're trying to save money for a house, right? But they got plenty to protect now that their father and they're married. Whatever the case may be, I love that story — because that's how I started, too.
Tony Jackson 09:27
And the thing about it is, we say this: Okay, what's the best type of life insurance to have? Whole life? Universal life? Term life? Well, the best policy to have is the one in force when you die.
Andy Cowan 09:38
That's exactly right.
Tony Jackson 09:39
Just meeting people where they are is huge. And not going in, necessarily, with a predetermined, predestined, "This is the policy that I'm going to sell this person," but first, finding out: What are their needs? What are they looking for? And, then, matching our products — and we have something for everyone — that meet their needs where they're at right now.
Tony Jackson 10:03
Let's get them covered, and then work our way to it. Like with Kai-Zen: I think Kai-Zen is an awesome product, but there are times when you meet people, and they say, "Yeah, I want the Kai-Zen, but I can't afford it." Well, guess what, let's do a term — a $1,000,000 term — and then, when you're ready, we'll convert it to a Kai-Zen.
Andy Cowan 10:23
You said something that was really profound there: it's not about going in trying to sell an IUL. It's not about going in trying to sell a fixed-indexed annuity, or a term policy, or whole life. It's about figuring out the pain point that your clients have.
Tony Jackson 10:37
Andy Cowan 10:37
What is troubling you why did you even want to chat today? Right? I think that's a great question to ask. They agreed to a 30-minute Zoom call — I think a great way to start the conversation is, obviously, "We need to get to know each other better, me and you. You need to learn more about me. I need to learn more about you. But, at the end of the day, this is either going to be a good fit or isn't. So, what can I do to make sure this is a good use of your time? Why did you want to chat today?"
Andy Cowan 11:01
And then just listen to what they have to say. They'll probably tell you, if they read a couple chapters in the book. "I'm really worried about what happens if I get sick," "I'm really worried about my house if I die," and all that kind of stuff.
Tony Jackson 11:12
And that's what happens. People will read the book, and they'll say, "I want what Mrs. Jones had," or, "I want what Mr. Baker had." They'll say, "I don't know what it's called, but I want what so-and-so had in the book."
Tony Jackson 11:24
I don't really say, "This is the IUL," or, "This is a fixed-indexed annuity," until we've gone through what they're looking for. "I want safety of principal." "I want potential gains." "I want to know that I have lifetime income." "Well, you know, what you described sounds like fixed-indexed annuity."
Tony Jackson 11:45
One of the things about our business is that we've got a lot of jargon, right? IUL, etc. People say, "I don't even know what that is," right? So, I think we have to find out what they're looking for — what they need — and then, tell them, "I have a product that fits that. This is what it's called."
Tony Jackson 12:02
But if I walked up to someone on the street and said, "Listen, I have a great life insurance product that'd work for you and that'd save you taxes," they'd say, "Life insurance? No, I'll pass on that." But if we can educate them on what it does for them, then they don't care if it's a life insurance policy or not.
Andy Cowan 12:21
And, ultimately, what's great about this business... frankly, what's great about this company, FFS — we do things the right way here — is that that's about helping people. That's not about qualifying for Dream Destination, though that's nice. That's not about extra commission, though that's nice.That's just about helping people, right?
Tony Jackson 12:38
Andy Cowan 12:38
What if they get that big promotion? There are so many opportunities. Think about the referral opportunity this guy or gal now has for you, right? You have to think bigger picture, as opposed to this one sale — and that goes back to, again, just helping people.
Andy Cowan 12:38
So, if you're willing to listen to your client, they'll tell you everything you need to know in order to make a sale — but you have to listen. And you have to be willing to say, "Sure, it'd be great if I could sell you this IUL with this $10,000 target premium, but you really can't afford it right now." And you have to think long term too. This client today that you just wrote this $1,000,000 term policy on — or $500,000 dollar, whatever it happens to be — what if they get a big raise next year?
Andy Cowan 13:18
Okay, let's dive into this a little bit. A little bit more detail. Granular level, if you will: Are there any questions that you always ask every client? What I want to do is dive into your appointment process in a little bit more detail. How do we actually take them through from "Okay, this is a great concept," to, "Here's what it looks like to you," and then ultimately getting to a close.
Tony Jackson 13:39
For that first conversation, I have always used the F.O.R.T. Method, which is Family — get them talking about their family — their Occupation, what they like to do for Recreation, and then we Transition.
Tony Jackson 13:51
Once we've done that, I will typically say this: "I don't know that this is right for you until we get a snapshot of where you are, and so I need to do what I call a financial analysis — a financial questionnaire — so we can get a snapshot of where you're at. I need to get this information. I'll go in my lab, take what you give me, and come out with some possible solutions for us to talk about."
Andy Cowan 14:22
And so what information are you asking for, exactly?
Tony Jackson 14:26
All the things that we have in the financial Needs Analysis.
Andy Cowan 14:29
Good on you for conducting Needs Analysis. That's music to my ears. I need everyone who's listening to this podcast to take advantage of the technology that is available using the Edge App — whether you want to use the detailed Needs Analysis, whether you want to use the app, whatever works for you — make sure you do it. I've always argued: if you take the time to use that Needs Analysis form, you will write more business and you will write bigger policies.
Tony Jackson 14:54
People will know that you care, right? I think people appreciate that. People appreciate the fact that you didn't just give them something off the cuff. That you took their information and came back and was thoughtful.
Tony Jackson 15:10
And sometimes, you have to know who you're talking to, right? Because some people say, "Well, can you just send me some information?" It's like, "Andy, I am the information — and I won't fit in your mailbox."
Andy Cowan 15:18
[Laughs]. I like that.
Tony Jackson 15:22
So we need to get together. We need to get together and have a conversation — and it costs you nothing! It costs you nothing.
Andy Cowan 15:28
That's right. That's exactly right.
Andy Cowan 15:31
So, I want to talk a little bit about keeping the appointment process moving: so you've gone in the lab, you've done your mad-scientist work, and you're presenting solutions. Talk to me, then, about that presentation — and then, from there, how you go from presentation to closing.
Tony Jackson 15:49
So, on that second appointment, what I'll do is go over that Financial Needs Analysis. I'll say, "Based on what you told me, this is how much life insurance do you need," "Based on what you told me, this is what you need to be doing in terms of saving for retirement," "Based on what you told me, this is what your budget is for this."
Tony Jackson 16:10
Then I'll go through that illustration: "So this is what this does for you. That's how they work. I'm making emphasis on the living benefits, because this is what separates us from a lot of people that you'll talk to.
Tony Jackson 16:26
Then, I'll say, "Okay, this is the amount you gave me, so I based it on this. Now, Andy, before we actually move forward with doing this, I just need to know — when you're telling me what you can afford each month, I do want you to stretch yourself, but I don't want you to strain yourself. It needs to be amount significant enough that it's going to make a difference in your financial future, but I don't want you to be in a position where, if the car breaks down, the first thing you got to do is call me and say, 'I can't make this payment.'" I always kind of undersell, because I've been in this business for 25 years. I want to make sure they're comfortable. And if they're comfortable? "Okay, let's go ahead, let's get the paperwork in, and get this process started for you so that we can have you covered."
Tony Jackson 17:14
The other thing: my standard joke is, "Now, there's something else that I did not mention that you get with this policy that you need to know. The other thing that comes with it is me, right? I'm like your cousin now. I'm going to show up at the family gatherings, looking for plate, all this kind of stuff — you're getting me with this. We're going to send out an invitation to you: "Let's get together. Let's talk about this. Let's see if this is working for you." I mean, I'm your relative now. Right?
Andy Cowan 17:44
I think what you just said was really, really important, and I want to take a moment to emphasize it. I think sometimes people — and not just people here at FFS, but just people in general — they undersell the value that they can offer to other people when you look at our line of work. I love the way you say that: "What else do you get with this policy? You get me." Right? So you have this financial concierge, this published author, however you want to say it. It's now in your corner.
Andy Cowan 18:11
And I love how you're setting up the the annual review meeting a year in advance. We are going to get together 12, 13, 14 months from now. It's not an option. We're going to meet.
Andy Cowan 18:22
One of the best people in this business — he's long deceased now — he would not sell you a life insurance policy unless you agreed to meet 13 months in the future. He wouldn't do it. And if they wouldn't agree to it, he wouldn't write the policy, so you can find a different agent.
Tony Jackson 18:37
And you know, the other thing that I tell people is: "You're not going to take this policy out, put $100 in it, and then next week, come in here and be able to get $10,000. It doesn't work like that. This is long game. And so, for the first ten years, you're going to have to really think about that. This is really long game, this is not short game. This is not a sprint, this is a marathon."
Andy Cowan 19:00
Yeah, I think that's a great thing. You know, expectations are very important — in all walks of life, but especially in this business. Expectations are vital, frankly, in what we do. So, if you're out there selling, "Look at all this cash that you're going to have in ten years," whatever the case may be... it could work out that way, right? It might. It might not though. And so we have to remind people of that conversation, in particular, and set the right expectations.
Tony Jackson 19:21
Andy Cowan 19:23
You know, Tony, one of the reasons I wanted you on this Sales Editionpodcast: the first day at Dream Destination, on the cruise ship, I sat down with you and your wife, and I knew then you were a great salesperson, Tony, because you punched way above your weight class.
Tony Jackson 19:37
Andy Cowan 19:37
With your wife. I knew then, "Wow, Tony's a great salesperson."
Tony Jackson 19:42
[Laughs]. The best sales job that I ever made that. No doubt about it.
Andy Cowan 19:47
[Laughs]. We are running short on time, but there's one last question that I want to ask you — well, we'll see if it's the last question, there might be some follow ups I get from it.
Andy Cowan 19:57
If you were brand new to FFS, if you were new agent getting started with us, you've been on board — and this is for the people who are Commission Qualified now, right? So you're licensed, you're ready to go, you're Commission Qualified, you're appointed to carriers, it's time to start writing some business... With all the things that you've learned, what advice would you give to that new person?
Tony Jackson 20:15
There's one thing. It's where I thought you were going with this, and I think this is important... It's to go after the promotions. Right?
Tony Jackson 20:24
The reason why I think that's important is because, if you hit those marks, and you have those goals that you are going for, those things will ultimately make you money. And you're taking care of customers.
Tony Jackson 20:40
I think every agent ought to be shooting for Dream Destination. So I think that's one.
Tony Jackson 20:45
The other thing is... it's the Zig Ziglar thing, right? If you help enough people get what they want, in turn, you'll get everything that you're looking for. To answer your question: just take care of people. Take care of everyone that you come in contact with.
Tony Jackson 21:03
I just lost the sale of a rollover that was almost $400,000. I just told her the truth. Could I have sold her a product similar to one she got from one of our competitors? Absolutely — but I just did not believe it was in her best interest. You know?
Tony Jackson 21:26
So, you have to be willing to do that. You have to be willing to do the right thing, even when it turns out you don't make the sale.
Andy Cowan 21:37
Yeah, and those do hurt. Right?
Tony Jackson 21:39
I'm still talking about it, Andy! [Laughs].
Andy Cowan 21:42
In your own mind, you can calculate the points, you can calculate the commission, you see the qualification status... you see it all, right? You see it all, and it hurts when you have to turn it away. But you know, it hurts a lot more? When you can't sleep at night because you did something you shouldn't have done.
Tony Jackson 21:57
And I love saying that to people, too. I tell them all the time: "Listen... if you do this? You will sleep good at night."
Tony Jackson 22:05
Because, you know, the one thing that I like to do, is I like to sleep.
Andy Cowan 22:09
Tony Jackson 22:09
I like to sleep well. When I lay down, I like to be able to sleep, and I know that with anything that you get from me, two people are going to be able to sleep. Regardless of what happens to the stock market, regardless of what's happening, there are two people that're going to be able to sleep, and that's you and I.
Andy Cowan 22:27
Tony Jackson, thank you so much for being on today. This is our first Sales Edition. We will be doing more of these — it won't be you every month, Tony, sorry. Don't take it the wrong.
Tony Jackson 22:36
Man, I'm honored that you just chose to talk to me today. That means a lot — because I do pride myself in doing it the right way, and so I appreciate you thinking of me and having me on.
Andy Cowan 22:48
Well, you're having a great year. I hope people who listen to podcasts get a lot of great insights.
Andy Cowan 22:53
Tony, if you don't mind, do you want to share your website so people can check it out if they want to?
Tony Jackson 22:56
Absolutely. So the book website is ipadyourmoney.com. ipadyourmoney.com.
Andy Cowan 23:04
That's great. That's great. Well, Tony, once again, thanks for being on. Good luck out there. I'm looking forward to our next Dream Destination where we can have dinner together, and, until our next podcast, thank you.
Tony Jackson 23:15
Jeff Lehman 23:18
And thank you to all who listened. I hope you enjoyed the first episode of the Sales Edition of Lead. Empower. Grow. This will be swapping episodes with the traditional Lead. Empower. Grow. episodes on our main feed, so look out for these throughout the months, and you can look forward to all the great sales insight that Andy Cowen will be getting from our expert field leaders in the days to come.
Jeff Lehman 23:36
You can listen through our past episodes at firstfinancialsecurity.com, and of course subscribe wherever you get your podcast to listen to new Lead. Empower. Grow. episodes the moment they air. Until next time, thank you for listening.