The Insurance Coach

Use Leadership Principles to Improve Closing Ratios and Drive up Policyholder Retention! Part 2 of 5: Communication Skills “Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” (Mark Twain) Whether you’re a leader as an executive/manager of a group of agents and a staff, or you’re a leader of your own agency of one, communicating effectively with those around you is critical to your success. When you become clear about why you do what you do (Part 5 of this series: Worthwhile Purpose) and you then communicate it effectively, you develop a certain attraction. By communicating effectively, I mean speaking and acting in a way that others can best relate to your message. Believe it or not, this has very little to do with the words that you use! Studies have shown time and again that only about 7% of how we communicate is in the words we use. Tonality and other vocal qualities represent 38% of our communication and 55% of our communication is transmitted through facial expressions and body language. Product knowledge is important in selling, and understanding how to uncover your prospect’s needs to then determine which product will best address those needs is critical. But as we’ve heard before, people buy from people they like, and they’re more likely to believe in the benefits you offer when they like you, trust you, and can relate to you. The ability to build rapport easily and then to convey your message in a way that a prospect can best receive it are two of the most important skills you must master as a professional. Yet, every person is different, sees the world in their own way, and will relate to you and others in their own way. An effective way to get a feel for how people understand and experience the world is to study and apply the concept of the four Social Styles. First developed by David Merrill and Roger Reid, this view of people and their behavior acknowledges that there are four basic social styles and that we’re made up of the strengths and weaknesses from each of them. Typically, we have a primary Social Style and a secondary one, but alternatively, people can be made up of mostly one style or may have a strong representation of three or even all four of them equally.

 

I call the Social Styles: Analytical, Commander, Expressive and Stabilizer. (A.C.E.S.) Let me briefly describe each style, discuss how you can learn to spot them in others, and spend some time explaining how you can adjust your presentations to fit each style. The Four Faces of A.C.E.S. Let’s briefly go into the strengths and weaknesses of each style. No one style is better than another, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. No one person has all the strengths and weaknesses of a style. In fact, whether a person would be considered extreme or not depends not so much on the number of traits from a style, but rather on the degree to which they display those traits. Analyticals are just that – very analytical. They seek perfection. They’re organized, detail minded, and somewhat idealistic. Analyticals are sensitive, intellectual and tend to be conservative. Their weaknesses show up in a number of ways. Analyticals can become easily depressed. They often are moody and sarcastic. Because of their idealistic, perfectionist tendencies, they often are hard to please and can be fussy. Analyticals can be suspicious, skeptical, unpopular and unsociable.

 

Commanders are natural leaders. They seek control. They are high achievers, can be bold and assertive, and are often very competitive. They’re independent, perceptive, outspoken, and productive. Their flip side, or weaknesses, can show up as being overly controlling or bossy. They can be egocentric, headstrong, and short-tempered. Sometimes Commanders are insensitive, intolerant, and/or tactless. Expressives are people people. They seek fun. They’re animated, cheerful, and enthusiastic. You’ll frequently see Expressives as popular and sociable. As fun as they are to be around, Expressives have their share of weaknesses, too. They may be disorganized. They can be loud and overly talkative, and when they explain things may often exaggerate and/or generalize. Sometimes they’re alarmists and impulsive in their decisions and actions. Stabilizers are relationship builders. They seek peace. You’ll often see then as accommodating, considerate and easy-going. Stabilizers are great listeners, patient, and soft-spoken. They are effective at building consensus. Even though they’re excellent at keeping the boat from rocking, they, too, have weaknesses. Stabilizers avoid conflict, sometimes at any cost. They can be too compromising, indifferent, and timid. Sometimes Stabilizers will be uninvolved, noncommittal, and emotionless. Reading the Cards Now that we have a general idea of each social style, let’s look at how to spot styles in others. Remember that we’re all complex, unique individuals – made up of aspects from each of the four styles. We need to uncover clues about someone’s style(s), put the pieces of the puzzle together, and form an opinion. This is an art rather than a science. It takes practice, but its well worth the effort. Clues can come from four areas: Clothing, Body Language, Surroundings, and Speech. Sometimes the clues will help us determine who someone is; sometimes they’ll help us figure out who they’re not.

 

Clothing: Not all styles will give you clues through their clothing, but often, Analyticals and Expressives will. Analyticals will frequently dress conservatively – clothing pressed, buttoned-up, and muted colors. Expressives, on the other hand, often wear very colorful, sometimes outlandish clothing. Their clothing will often stand out in a crowd. If a prospect isn’t wearing something colorful (especially in a business setting), chances are, they aren’t an Expressive. The other two styles, Commander and Stabilizer, generally won’t offer clues through their clothing. Body Language: Both Analyticals and Stabilizers tend to be introverted, and reflect this by the way they interact with others. They’ll often sit back in their chair while talking to you. Commanders and Expressives, on the other hand, tend to sit forward when interacting. Notice how some people will move into your space and even touch you on the arm, while others will keep their distance during a conversation and may even cross their arms? The ones that come closer and seem more open are the Commanders and Expressives, while the more distant ones are the Analyticals and Stabilizers. Surroundings: How an individual keeps their office or home can offer excellent clues as to their predominant social style (or not). As you might expect, an Analytical’s space will generally be tidy, neat, and organized. On the other hand, if someone’s office seems cluttered or filled with fun, playful items, they’re probably an Expressive. If their space is practical, but sparse in its trappings, you may be with a Commander. If they seem to focus on family and relationships in the things surrounding them (like a family picture wall) you could be dealing with a Stabilizer. Remember, these are just clues, not absolutes. Try to gather as many clues as you can before making a decision as to their social style(s). Speech: One of the easiest ways to spot someone’s style is through their speech. By that, I mean the pace of their speech, the volume of their speech, and the words they use.

 

  • Analyticals speak with a measured pace, maintain an even, almost monotone volume, and will use words and phrases such as: “let me have the details”, “I need more facts”, or “let me think about it.” 
  • Commanders will speak at a much more rapid pace, much louder than an Analytical, and will use expressions like: “what’s the bottom line here?”, “get to the point” or “how long will this take?” 
  • Expressives often speak rapidly, loudly and expressively, and will generally talk much more than the other styles. They tend to be playful and will laugh more than the others. 
  • Stabilizers will speak more slowly and softly, and often will start conversations with discussions of leisure time or family. They may use words and phrases like: “help”, “team”, or “work together”

 

Picking up clues takes practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Practice wherever you are – in line at a coffee shop or at the bank, waiting at restaurants or with the wait staff, at the office or at a party. One of my favorite ways to pick up clues about a prospect is to listen to their voicemail message when I call them. Many times they’ll reveal their primary style quite clearly. Playing Your Hand Now that you have a better understanding of the four social styles and how to identify them, how can you use that knowledge to improve your ability to build rapport and close more sales? 

 

Remember not to follow the Golden Rule!

(Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.)

 

Instead of communicating in the style you’re most comfortable with, communicate in the style they’re most comfortable with. People hear and understand more of what’s being said when they get the information in a way that’s natural for them. Most often though, we tend to communicate and present in a way that’s the most comfortable to us instead. (By the way, this principle holds true whether you’re working with a prospect or working with a team of people.)

 

  • With Analyticals, use facts and figures. Details matter. They’re the ones that, when they say, “Let me think about it,” they really mean it! Don’t go too fast, be too pushy, be inaccurate, or be too light-hearted.
  • With Commanders, get to the bottom line. Don’t burden them with the details (yet), just have them ready if asked for. Don’t let your presentation ramble – stay on track and make your point. They don’t want their time wasted.
  • With Expressives, details make them glassy-eyed. Keep your presentation light, colorful, and somewhat entertaining. They’ll buy because they had a good time with you and like you rather than on the logic.
  • With Stabilizers, relationships rule. If you get right into your business before you get to know them and they get to know you, you’ll never get their business. They want to connect with you; they want to have you understand them and they want to understand you. Don’t rush them, and “work together”, to help solve a problem.

 

Summing Things Up If you truly want to have a thriving book of business, you need to understand people and have them connect with you. Study the traits of the four social styles (Analytical, Commander, Expressive, and Stabilizer). Practice picking up clues from your prospect’s clothing, body language, surroundings, and speech. Then, make a conscious effort to modify what you say and how you say it to match your prospect’s social style(s). You’ll connect more easily and comfortably, and you’ll see your closing ratios climb!

 

If you want a keynote speaker which is one of the best in the field and to get the best advice, click here

The Coach as a Leader

When people are asked, “Who is a leader?” many respond by naming politicians, presidents, senators, and governors, military leaders, business leaders, and… successful coaches.

Why are coaches included in this list? Because all coaches are leaders, coaching effectiveness is maximized by understanding how to lead.

In a way, the relationship between coaches and players is a contract. Players will follow the coach’s wishes or demands and in return they expect their reward, whether that is winning, playing time, positive reinforcement, or some other benefit. With that in mind, a coach has the obligation to find out what each individual’s wants and desires are and to get them to believe in the ultimate team goal(s). Here are some guidelines for specific implications of what the coach as a leader should do:

Master and Apply Current Knowledge. Be willing to learn and willing to take the time to understand correct movement mechanics, strategies, and the fundamental principles of sport.

Develop Interpersonal Skills. Develop interpersonal skills, especially communication skills. Have a sense of humor but scrap the sarcasm. Players need to feel that they can approach you, if they don’t feel that way problems can multiply.

Eliminate all Dehumanizing Language. Treat each person with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Give positive reinforcement rather than negative feedback. Offer solutions when criticism is necessary.

Control Your Emotions. Athletes treat the coach as the role model and will emulate their behavior. If coaches are on the sidelines yelling at officials and throwing chairs, what message is that sending to the players?

Help Athletes Set their own Goals. Goals need to be established as a team and as an individual. Goals should be something that the athletes can actually achieve. Coaches are there to guide athletes in the goal setting process as well as the evaluation of the goals but they are not there to tell the athlete what their goal is or what their goal should be.

Live in the Present. Athletes don’t need to be consistently reminded how good your team was last year or in prior years. You may use the past as an example but don’t compare your athletes or team to prior years.

Provide Opportunities for Success. Provide good practices, time for game conditions, sensible scheduling and a pleasant atmosphere. The administrative aspects of the job are just as important as any other aspect. Planning, preparation, and budgeting are very important functions. A coach must be a leader, teacher, and an administrator all at once.

Every coach has the ability to lead but it takes work to become a good leader. By following and living by these guidelines, you will be a long way on your path to becoming a good leader.

If you think that you need a sparkle of motivation to boost your work abilities, a good option is attending motivational speeches and reunions to get very inspired. If you want to check one out, click here.

 

Does creating a product video make sense?

So you have a product that needs to be communicated effectively to your consumers?

At present you might have text and maybe some pictures to illustrate the benefits of your product, but this method being successful relies on a number of factors:

Firstly, a purely text based approach to selling assumes that your customers are already interested in your product enough to spend time reading about it to find out more.

Secondly, it assumes that the customer has enough time and inclination to make an emotional investment to read and find out more about why your product is great.

Finally, it makes the assumption that your customer feels they have the time to spare to read about your product and that they have the attention span to read about it.

If the answer is no to any of these your customer will not spend the time to find out about the product and therefore the advertising format is pointless and the potential customer may not purchase it.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s the worth of a video? And, how would that quantify in terms of sales and profit to your business?

Immediately, a video can grab the attention of any visitor to your website, as videos are associated with entertainment wither it is fact or fiction based (drama or documentary). In today’s online world, users are generally more inclined to watch a video (which can help to explain why we spend so much time watching adverts on television). As a viewer we are used to being told what to watch without choice, from our experiences with television and the cinema.

However, as a reader we are much more judgemental about what we should dedicate our time to reading. We will sit through every advert in an advert break without thought but we will only read the reports that really grab our attention in the newspaper. We give all video adverts a chance and our attention span is much longer as a viewer as opposed to a reader.

The luxury of motion that a video format offers is a great advantage one should keep in mind when deciding whether to get a product video or not. Motion over stills means the viewer can be given a guided tour on the features of a product and more importantly shown about why they should purchase this rather than being told. Despite how interesting you may feel the facts are about what you are selling, the reality is that facts can be boring regardless of the fact itself. Therefore, showing the facts rather than telling them, is a way for the potential customer to feel involved in the journey of discovery of how great a product is.

Showing rather than telling is something a product video format is far superior at achieving than anything else. Choices made in the concept, narrative, camera shots, lighting, editing, music, visual effects, acting can all be effective tolls in the art of showing. This applies to not only your product itself but to your brand also, the right use of these tools can communicate effectively messages about your brand identity that would not have been possible before. The new Iphone adverts on television and online are so effective and therefore so successful as they have mastered showing over telling to their audience. They feature celebrities such as Samuel .L. Jackson interacting with the iPhone and its ‘SIRI‘ (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface) technology. The dialogue between the two shows Samuel .L. Jackson cancelling his schedule and setting reminders on his phone as well as interacting with the technology on a human to human level. It does not feature any captions, voice overs or graphics telling facts to the audience. Allowing the audience to be given a tour of the features of the product and make the discovery themselves, with the aid of the product video.

Product videos can be a great aid to your selling strategy when done correctly.

Seniors Can Walk To Better Health

Seniors Can Walk To Better HealthWalking Holds The Key To Greater Independence and Health For Seniors

Good news! A recent study conducted at the University of Georgia determined that seniors who included walking as a part of their daily regime stood to gain immense health benefits, particularly because it increases oxygen consumption. This translates into greater independence and a reduction in disability.

The research, which was conducted by M. Elaine Cress, professor of kinesiology and researcher in the UGA Institute of Gerontology and Trudy M. Harrison, a former UGA doctoral student, was comprised of 26 low-income seniors. They were divided into two groups. One group walked 3 times per week for 4 months while the control group received nutrition education only.

health benefits of walking for seniorsAccording to the researchers, the study enables people to determine how walking programs promote optimal physical functioning rather than just focusing on strength training exercises improve feelings of independence in seniors.

The  walking group began with 10 contiguous minutes of walking and gradually progressed to 40 minutes by the end of the 4-month period. Each session included a total of 20 minutes for warming up and cooling down that included stretching, to enhance flexibility and balancing exercises to reduce the risk of falling. Trudy Moore-Harrison decided to use low-income participants because they were more likely to: have fewer finances, be less physically active, are suffering from long-term medical conditions and have insufficient or no health insurance.

The results of the study, which appear in the current issue of the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, indicate a 19 percent increase in their peak aerobic capacity, a 25 percent increase in physical function as measured by a questionnaire and the ability to perform physical activities such as climbing stairs and wearing outwear. The walking group also decreased their risk of disability by 41 percent when compared to the control group.

walking shoesSticking to an exercise program can be challenging but the walkers not only stuck with it for 4 months but also enjoyed the experience, as it gave them the opportunity to affiliate and form new relationships. Cress stated aerobic capacity  is what motivates us to do the things we want to do. Increased aerobic capacity allows us to have more energy to perform tasks and have energy leftover for leisure activities.

Since walking doesn’t require any special equipment (a comfortable pair of shoes is all you need) anyone can do it. There are still not enough people engaging in this low-cost activity. Walking provides many health related benefits. Begin your walking routine today!

The Daily Walking Advantage

Improve Your Overall Health with a Walk Each Day

The Daily Walking Advantage

When considering an exercise program that offers convenience, low-impact and that is easy to manage, walking foots the bill. Find out how a walking exercise regimen can fit into every lifestyle.

Simplicity of Walking Step by Step

Many doctors and medical professionals recommend walking as daily exercise because it is so simple, and almost anyone can do it. Walking for health can be done in all climates, and just 30 minutes every day can result in a measurable health benefit.

The National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Weight Information Network recommends starting a structured walking program that allows for set goals and rewards. The WIN suggests gradually increasing goals such as lengthening walk time from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, and keeping track of walking workouts in a journal.

As with all exercise programs, check with a doctor before implementing a walking program; especially those with heart or lung conditions, who are smokers, pregnant or over 50 years old and not used to moderate exercise.

The Daily Walk and Burning Calories

heart rate during activityTo lose one pound per week, a person would have to reduce their calorie intake by 3,500; or 500 calories per day. The average walker can burn 100 calories per mile, according to The Walking Site.

The average walking pace should be around 15 minutes per mile, which means a daily walk of 30 minutes would cover 2 miles of walking. Each walker must determine his or her own walking pace, but generally speaking, the pace should increase the heart rate. Walking until out of breath may be too fast, and walking slowly enough to sing along to the mp3 player is too slow.

The Mayo Clinic recommends taking a test walk to determine your actual heart rate, by counting the number of heartbeats within a 10 seconds period. Determining the heart rate can help the walker adjust his or her walking speed.

Health and the Thirty-Minute Walk

health benefits of daily walksThe advantages of walking several times a week have been well-documented. For people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, a thirty-minute daily walk can improve their conditions.

In May of 2009 the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that walking 3,000 steps in 30 minutes five days a week can help the walker meet U.S. government fitness goals. Walking daily can also improve mood, muscle strength, help reduce weight and relieve stress.

Another benefit to walking workouts will be published this month. Environmental Nutrition reports that a July 26 issue of the medical journal Circulation will contain a study that shows how a daily walk improves overall lung function. A team of experts determined that the exercise can improve lung capacity by 15 to 25 percent.

No matter what style of walking workout, heart healthy walking is a fun and easy to implement workout program. It improves health conditions, and can make walkers happier and more relaxed with every step.

10 Ways of Looking After Your Eyes

How to Protect Your Vision Naturally

Read this article to discover simple, natural solutions for keeping your eyes healthy at any age.

Precious Memories

Think back to some of the most wonderful, sights of your life. Is it the first time you laid eyes on your child? The shimmer of the sun on the ocean during a summer evening? Perhaps the outline of your home town coming into view after a long time away.

It’s memories such as these that should motivate you to look after your eyes and to help you find simple, inexpensive ways in which you can protect this precious sense of yours.

The Latest News

The latest news on natural health care for the eyes is that the right nutrients or wearing moist disposable contacts that prevent the dryness of the eyes, can have real benefits for those of us moving into our later years but the truth, of course, is that there are steps you can take at any time to keep yourself ‘looking good’ – and the sooner you begin the better.

Keep Yourself in the Picture

Here are the top ten ways of protecting your vision naturally:

  1. Lutein – A naturally occurring nutrient found most abundantly in green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, as well as egg yolks, lutein is one of the best-studied compounds in relation to good eye health. Lutein works by protecting a certain eye part known as the macula from the damaging of aging, smoking, and sunlight. Experts recommend taking doses in the region of 10-15mg daily.
  2. Zeaxanthin – Considered lutein’s sister compound, zeaxanthin is found in high quantities in collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and swiss chards. Both nutrients work in a similar way and, along with including these foods in your diet, researchers suggest supplementing 3 or 4mg of zeaxanthin daily.
  3. Meso-zeaxanthin – The final piece of the macula, meso-zeaxanthin so can only be taken in supplements in doses of around 3mg each day.
  4. Co-enzyme Q10 – This is one of the most important nutrients for energy production in the body, and is useful in helping protect the eyes from damaging free radicals.
  5. Bilberry – The eye-protecting properties of this versatile fruit were first discovered during the Second World War when air force pilots took it to improve their night vision. Research since has shown it to be particularly useful for preventing and improving diabetic retinopathy in doses of 30-60mg each day.
  6. Blueberry – In June 2009 was conducted a study, which results presented that people who were drinking a glass of juice of blueberries each day were recovering far more quickly from damages form the light.
  7. Bates Method – This is an alternative eye therapy based on the understanding that most vision problems are caused by the tension of the muscles surrounding the eyeball. Treatment involves a series of visualization and movement techniques intended to remove eye strain and restore sight. You can learn more at www.seeing.org

  1. Smoking – Smoking habits are causing catastrophic effects on the eyes, including retinopathy, inflammation, dry eye, optic nerve damage, and cataracts.
  2. Sugar – The white powder is the reason that diabetics are twenty-five times more likely to go blind than non-diabetics.
  3. Sunglasses or Contact Lenses– The biggest threat of damaging your eyes is to expose them too much on the UV sun’s rays. Make sure to buy quality sunglasses or contacts with a high level of UV protection.

 

iCANwalk Pledge – Walk & Bike More, Drive Less

I can do my part to create a cleaner environment by pledging to make the shift from travelling by car to active transportation like walking, biking, and in-line skating for short trips for 1 month.

Using active transportation:

  • Reduces green house gas emissions and improves air quality,
  • Doesn’t take a lot of extra time – 2km = 20-30 minutes walking or 8-10 minutes biking,
  • Reduces our dependency on oil,
  • Is good for my health and saves me money!

I pledge to use active transportation for 1 month!

The information that you provide in the pledge is being collected by us and may be shared our partners.

Pledge #1

to the following place that is close to my home.

(approximate – use an on-line mapping tool to help you)

Please note: If you are under 18, please have a parent or guardian complete the pledge for you. Only adults should provide their email address. Click here to view our Privacy Policy.

(Choose Province first)

Online Checklist

Step 1: Write about your walk
Select a Province:*
Region:*
Specify region if outside of Ontario:
City/Town:*
Street address:*
Postal code:*
Where did you walk?:*
When was your walk?:*
  
What time of day was your walk?:
What were the conditions during your walk?:
Step 2: Think about your walk
How easy was your walk?:
If the sidewalks need to be fixed, please explain what is wrong, and where to find the problem
If you did not check any of these boxes please explain why.
What people and places did you see?:
If you did not check any of these boxes please explain why.
Was your walk enjoyable?:
If you did not check any of these boxes please explain why.
How safe did you feel?:
If you did not check any of these boxes please explain why.
Do you have any other ideas about what could make your community more walkable? Please share them here:
Step 3: Optional information
Please tell us how you heard about this checklist. (Please check all that apply):
If other, please explain:
Email:

The information that you have provided may be used by iCANwalk partners such as Health Units, Heart Health projects, Municipal Recreation Departments, Non-Governmental Organizations and community groups to let local officials know how they can support walking in your community.

Step 4: Submit through our Contact Page to find out how your walk scored on the checklist.

Community Stories

To send us a community story, fill in the fields on our Contact Us page. We would also like to hear from individuals about there experiences making the shift to walking and cycling instead of driving. You can either reach us through our Contact page or send a testimonial to webmaster@icanwalk.ca.  

Congratulations to our prize winners from the Pelham Active Transportation Committee (PATC), and Planners from Grey and Bruce Counties along with their colleagues from Grey Bruce Public Health. They were sent StepsCount pedometer kits along with Canada Walks backpacks and umbrellas for sharing their stories about creating walk friendly communities. 

Here are a few of our community stories.

Norfolk County: A Rural Walkability Story
walkON workshops spark the creation of a new community group, Norfolk Pathways for People, dedicated to  improving the conditions of walking and cycling for health, recreation and transportation in Norfolk County.

Engaging Citizens of Pelham in Active Transportation Planning
The Pelham Active Transportation Committee (PATC) was looking for ways to engage citizens in identifying AT issues and input into our plans for 2010-11.

Addressing Infrastructure Changes
Feedback from Fonthill residents was used by PATC to change the Town’s decision regarding the location of a crosswalk in the redesigned downtown area.

Engaging Youth in World Town Planning Day Event
Grey and Bruce County planners partnered with the Grey Bruce Health Unit to raise awareness in youth about the impact of the built environment on health.

Why Take the Pledge?

icanwalk pledge

You can make a difference by making a personal pledge to walk or bike more and drive less.

According to the Canadian Vehicle Survey:
· The average car emits 4 tonnes of CO2 in a year,
· Transportation contributes to about 30 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, and
· Driving just 10 per cent less will save about 400 kilograms in CO2 emissions over a year.

If every Canadian left their car at home just one day a week, we would save about 3.8 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year – the equivalent of taking about 800,000 cars off the road.

The iCANwalk pledge asks you to identify locations in your community that you could easily and safely walk or bike to, then pledge to use active transportation to get to them instead of driving.

Take the pledge today.