What does it take to find success early in your career?
For an answer to this question, we turned to a group of NAIFA members who know a thing or two about achieving early success: the 2020 recipients of NAIFA’s Four Under 40 Awards.
The responses we received from these rising stars will help you navigate your first few years in the business and empower you to move your career forward.
Steps To Success
A common response we received from all the award winners was the pivotal role NAIFA membership played in their rise to the top. In addition to joining NAIFA, here are steps the Four Under 40 recipients took to move ahead.
From Andy Bartling, Modern Woodmen of America, Rapid City, S.D.
Create meaningful bonds with clients. Bartling enjoys working with clients who are as varied as the people he meets in his community outreach — from young families to retirees to small-business owners.
His practice offers them individually tailored service, creating unique financial plans that include life insurance, health insurance, retirement planning and investment components. He approaches client relationships the same way he approaches networking, and he avoids the superficial in favor of establishing meaningful bonds.
From Sam Sones, Lincoln County Farm Bureau, Brookhaven, Miss.
Enjoy what you do. It all boils down to how much you love what you do, Sones said. If you serve people and serve them well, you will succeed. If you enjoy what you do and you do it well, you will find success.
Don’t be afraid to do business in a personal way. Sones sends personalized greeting cards to all his clients and is in constant touch with them.
Make it your primary objective to take the time to find out your clients’ financial needs. “If you can agree with the client about their financial need, then there is a high possibility you will make a sale,” Sones said. And even if you don’t make a sale, taking the time to discover your prospect’s need is always a good thing and helps build meaningful relationships.
Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate what you are saying to the client. Lay out options in simple terms and communicate them simply.
Be organized. You must figure out a way to be organized because lack of organization is a major barrier to growth, Sones said. For at least 10 years, he has used a system that organizes all his activity. He faithfully uses this system every day. “I make my living by doing the little things that many people do not want to do,” he said.
From Joyce Yoo, New York Life, San Francisco
Embrace continuous learning. Yoo’s love of learning is one thing that helped her move ahead. For example, she attends a tax seminar every year to learn about the latest tax changes that might help her clients. “I believe that by constantly learning, I can help my clients with more of their financial problems,” she said.
Participate in study groups. Yoo is able to learn from the successful advisors who belong to the same study groups that she does. “I know who I can call on in my network for advice, motivation and support,” she said.
From Richard Demko, The Guardian Group, The Woodlands, Texas
Tap into the knowledge of seasoned professionals. In order for new agents to find success, they should make it a point to draw on the expertise of industry veterans, Demko said. “Our industry is really a game of survival,” he said. “For the guys who have been around a long time, there’s a reason they’ve been around a long time; so it would be silly not to tap into that knowledge and expertise.”