number of calls or contacts each week
Vietri: Yes. First we have a goal and
then we have the reality. The goal is
that each agent should have at least
eight sit-down interviews per week.
Each interview may be a fact-finding
case, a second interview or a close.
If you have eight appointments per
week, you would typically have at least
two sales from those appointments.
The mistake many people make is to
believe that the six people who don’t
buy from them the first time will never
buy anything; therefore, they never get
back to them.
We make sure that our advisors view
everyone they sit down with as a client.
Just because they did not buy a product
doesn’t mean they won’t buy something
in the future. When you look at those
six people who didn’t buy in the first
week, about 70 percent of them will
purchase a product from someone in
the next five years. We want to make
sure we are that someone.
NAIFA: As you’ve built your career,
you’ve observed, managed and led
thousands of advisors. What are some
of the characteristics of the best of
Vietri: You need someone who is
persistent and is a self-starter, with the
entrepreneurial ability to run his or her
own practice. One of the most significant differences between the high-end
producer and the one just getting by is
that the successful producer assumes
ownership of his or her practice.
The agent makes the appropriate
investments in his or her businesses,
is not complacent, does not wait
for someone to bring opportunities,
continues to get education, thinks
outside the box and looks for marketing opportunities over and above what
the agent currently has. He or she
anticipates what changes should be
incorporated into his or her business
and understands their unique ability.
The unique ability of most successful agents is having a one-on-one
conversation with an individual and
motivating that person to implement
a plan. It is a very difficult skill to
develop, and once someone has it,
he should spend as much time as he
needs using it.
NAIFA: Given the market turbulence
and people’s concerns about their fi-
nances, what counsel have you given
Vietri: From day one, we’ve encouraged them to get to their clients as
soon as possible and make sure they
are helping them get through their
An article in The Wall Street Journal
mentioned the high percentage of
consumers who blamed their advisors after this market correction partly
because they were not in contact with
them. So the persistency of the client
will be enhanced if you are in front
of him or her, regardless of how their
portfolio is performing because people
want and need trusted advice. Now
is when they appreciate an advisor
who can help them sort it all out, offer
some stability and provide sound deci-sion-making advice, keeping in mind
that we’re in this for the long run.
NAIFA: As consumers flee the market,
how will this translate into sales for
Vietri: Dreams may have faded for
many Baby Boomers who are retired
or about to retire. They still have time
to recover and work toward fulfilling
those dreams, but only with a trusted
advisor. Now more than ever, people
are more comfortable with guarantees,
so I think the outlook and the market
correction we’ve gone through present
a huge opportunity for advisors to get
people back on the path toward fulfilling their financial goals.
NAIFA: Shifting our attention to the
legislative and regulatory environ-
ments, what are the top issues you
see coming down the road?
Vietri: From a regulatory perspective,
there will be changes. We’ve been held
to a high standard to make sure we are
putting our clients first and that we
are making the correct recommendations, based on their risk profile and
planning cycle. The bar will be raised
by the regulatory bodies that currently govern our business and by the
regulatory bodies that want to govern
our business. Now more than ever, we
have a responsibility to make sure we
continue to exceed those expectations
and standards before they get here.
NAIFA: What opportunities and chal-
lenges do you see in the near term for
Vietri: People today want, need and
respect trusted advice more than ever.
I mention this a lot because it’s been
taken for granted and people have
done it their own way. Many people
approaching retirement have accumulated nice nest eggs for themselves and
are thinking about long-term planning.
They are living longer today, which
means that money must be available to
them many years beyond their normal
life expectancy. A huge opportunity
for advisors is to take that wealth and
convert it into income.
NAIFA: What can NAIFA do to help
advisors capitalize on those opportu-
nities and face those challenges?
Vietri: NAIFA has always played
an important role in our business.
However, over the years, because of
the reduction in the number of insurance companies, we have less commitment to face-to-face distribution.
NAIFA can help us to continue staying
focused on our clients’ priorities,
making sure we have an organization
that represents companies collectively.
NAIFA can make sure we have a body
that understands our business, is there
for support and continues to have
local associations where agents can
I think we have about 60,000 members nationwide. The standards for the
association need to stay high and we
have to have companies continue to
support NAIFA like never before.