You succeed or fail by the day

Discipline and goals make up the foundation of success for Tony Gordon and Alessandro Forte, Dip PFS, who have nearly 60 years of Top of the Table qualifications between them.

“We all may succeed for different reasons, but the reason we fail is the same: not enough discipline,” said Gordon, a 40-year MDRT member from Bristol, England.

Crucial daily goals

In his first few years as a financial advisor, Gordon did not qualify for MDRT because he thought it was out of his reach. He broke down his income goals into monthly and weekly production amounts, and they felt overwhelming. Then he broke it down into daily goals, and suddenly MDRT production levels were within his reach.

“It is by the day that we succeed or fail in this business, Gordon said. “By just setting daily goals, my production doubled.”

It doesn’t make it easy, though.

“It’s hard to set daily goals; it’s much easier to have goals for the year,” he said. “Because with the goal for the year, we only face failure once a year.

If you set daily goals, you have to face yourself every day and ask yourself if you succeeded or not, he said. “Those who have the courage to set daily goals will always be more successful than those who don’t.”

Setting activity levels

Our activity this week produces our commission for next week, Gordon said. For example, Top of the Table qualifiers average twice the number of phone calls and activity as MDRT members, but they make six times the income. “The pain of rejection is temporary; the pride of success lasts a lifetime.”

To make sure he hits his production numbers, Gordon sets 15 appointments a week. If he ever wants to stop at 14 appointments, he remembers how one extra appointment each week can equal at least $15,000 more in annual income.

Fill in the box for success

Forte, a 19-year MDRT member from London, England, hits the production level he wants by putting 10 yellow boxes on his calendar for the week. He feels compelled to fill in those yellow boxes with appointments and work until those boxes are filled. If he does it before Friday afternoon, he takes Friday afternoon off. If not, he’ll work through the afternoon to accomplish his goal. Forte talks more about how he does this in his 2015 Annual Meeting presentation.

“Unless you’re really serious about success in the business, you won’t make it in this industry,” he said. There’s a difference between theory and putting things into practice.”

The problem with goals is sometimes that you set the bar too low and hit it, Forte said. It’s better to set the bar too high and miss, but you might still end up qualifying for Top of the Table. He makes all his goals ridiculously high, and he makes them immediately actionable.

Gordon, of Bristol, England, and Forte, of London, England, are longtime friends and Top of the Table members. They reflected on what made them stand out in the financial service profession in the 2017 Annual Meeting presentation “A conversation: The journey to success .” (MDRT member exclusive content)

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