Jim Marker Consulting: One Card Expert

Jim Marker


Leaving Voicemails in a Text Message World

Many people will argue that leaving a voicemail when reaching out to a suspect is a bad practice. They’ll say that ‘a friend wouldn’t leave a voicemail’ or ‘nobody leaves voicemails any more’ or ‘I don’t want to sound like a salesman. I’ll just text them’. I disagree with this way of thinking for several reasons:

  1. You will likely have a greater chance of a returned versus not leaving any message at all
  2. If any other business professional reached out to you to introduce him/herself, don’t you think they would leave a message?
  3. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of being too persistent? There is a fine line between being persistent and obnoxious and the only way of knowing where the line is to cross it every now and then. Test the edge – not on purpose, but out of a quest to be the best you can be for your clients.

I have designed language for leaving messages and have had great success using it. My belief is that by using my message system, there leaves no room to put us in the box of a pestering salesperson, but rather a respectful business professional doing my due diligence to make the connection. I have recorded that language and discussed it in many of my talks with advisors and their agencies. The discussion of this method has changed many minds of people stuck in their ways of not leaving messages. I had one younger advisor approach me at a company meeting several years ago and proudly tell me he had used the language and started leaving messages and was having great success and setting more meetings. What are your thoughts? Let me know at jim@onecardexpert.com.

To your best effort,


Post Today and Plan Tomorrow – Today

The end of the day approaches – a long day of client meetings, phoning, paperwork, and planning. It’s late and you just want to go home! Trust me. I know this feeling. I’ve been there and still there am on some nights when the cleaning crew comes through my office.

The last step before we go home, as we are all taught, but maybe don’t do as often and thoroughly as we know we should? Posting and planning. Granum taught this as a fundamental function of the business and that holds true today. Taking the time to thoroughly reflect on the day by recording meetings scheduled and kept, daily points, QS’s, cases opened, business submitted, etc, while also planning for the next day by looking at our schedule, ensuring we have all our presentations and ledgers prepared for the following day is crucial for both peace of mind and success. 

Truth of the matter is – we are business owners – business owners who keep our own records and run the show. Talk to any successful business owner you know and they’ll surely tell you of the meticulous record keeping they do in their business. Can you imagine the owner of a sporting goods store not knowing how many orders he was expecting the following day? Or how many people he needed to collect payment from? To truly embrace the ‘business owner’ mentality improves the posting and planning of many advisors with which I have coached and interacted.

When posting and planning keep in mind:

Post and Plan! Keep record of your success and your failures! Make your practice GREAT!

To your best effort,



One Shining Moment

If you’re a sports fan like I am, you’re likely familiar with the “One Shining Moment” videos played after each NCAA Basketball National Championship game. The song, written by David Barrett, has accompanied the video montage of tournament highlights since 1987. Each year the video shows the celebrations, buzzer beaters, upsets, and slam dunks; along with the tears, toil, struggle, and defeat that inevitably polarizes the tournament. I love watching these videos. So much so, that a few seasons ago, I bought the full set, each One Shining Moment video dating back to that original 1987 season. Watching this year’s video got me thinking.

To an average audience member, all we see is the big stage, the glory, the national television spotlight. The players and coaches however, know a whole lot more went into their season than the highlights that make the video. Early morning practices, studying playbooks, two-a-days, long bus rides, scouting opponents, watching film late into the night – these are what make the great teams great; not the buzzer beaters and alley oops. As a competitor, you must realize that. That’s what we are in this business too, right? Competitors. Competitors competing for the lifestyle we want for our family, ourselves, our community, and our clients. Competing to be the very best version of ourselves every single day – professionally and personally.

What would be in your One Shining Moment video? What are your highlights? Words of praise from a grateful client? Hiring a new team member? Paying for your children’s college education? Whatever your highlights may be, it is paramount that we recognize these things do not come without the work behind closed doors – phoning when you just don’t want to, late nights preparing proposals for the following day, asking for referrals every time. These are the things that make the great moments possible.

To your best effort,


Making Dials and The Tale of the Ditch Digger

Last week I mentioned one of my keys to victory in the business was becoming disciplined in the habit of making phone calls every day. It truly is where it all begins! Appointments are set, my calendar is made full, and my excitement for the next week grows! Making your daily dials should and can be enjoyable. 

Mastering your phoning language, to the point where it is automatic makes this daily task exponentially easier, as we are less worried about what we are saying and more focused on what the suspect on the other end of the phone is saying. Remember – all we can control is what we say – not how the other person reacts. Keeping this fact in mind, makes rejection on the phone much easier to swallow.

Additionally, we have to set up our phoning environment for success. Many advisors reference their phoning list on their computer, which can lead to distractions. If you can handle this, go for it. If not, I recommend using the increasingly ‘old school’ method of yellow cards. For me, this minimizes distraction and allows a singular focus on the task at hand – setting appointments. For those of you that have heard me speak you may have heard me explain the idea of the Four Quarters Phoning Technique. The Four Quarters Technique is simple: four, 15 minute phoning sessions yielding at least 10 dials per session, with built in breaks in between sessions. For example, between 9 and 9:15 I will make 10 dials, regardless of outcome after those 10 dials are made, I will get up, get a fresh cup of coffee, use the restroom, whatever it may be. Following this short break (3-5 minutes) I will make another 10 dials in 15 minutes and take another break if needed. This allows me to break down my 40+ dials into much more manageable chunks rather than attempting to plow through all 40 at one time. I have seen many advisors, young and old, adopt this technique in our agency with great success. 

Lastly, keep in mind that setting appointments on the telephone is where it all begins. Many of you may not enjoy it at first, but it far outweighs the many joys and freedoms that come along with the profession. Further, imagine a ditch digger, paid $20 for each ditch he digs. Now imagine he gets up, puts on his work clothes, drives to the worksite, gets out of his truck, grabs his shovel, stares at the ground and simply says to himself, “You know what? I’m not going to dig any ditches today. I don’t like it and I am not going to do it.” Seems crazy, right? Neglecting to make your phone calls is not so far off from this example – and making phone calls is much easier than digging ditches!

To your best effort,



5 Keys to Victory in the Financial Services Industry

In the financial services industry there are hundreds of voices and ideas buzzing around each and every day we step foot in the office – new ideas to try, new language to use, new processes to implement. Often people ask me what it takes to be successful in this business. I have boiled it down to 5 foundational elements that, when paired with good habits and a strong work ethic, pave the way for your personal success.

  1. Memorize your language completely

Often new advisors will tell me that they don’t want to sound like they are using canned sales language. This, more often than not, is an excuse to simply not memorize the language. When memorized correctly and internalized key language components come together to build confidence in the advisors process and aid in the courage to do the tough things – like asking for referrals and making phone calls. Every profession has memorized processes – I think you’d want your surgeon to know his procedures by heart!

  1. Get 1,000 referrals your first year in the business

Obtaining 1,000 referrals in your first year or 100 every month (83) will keep your phoning list, and thus your calendar full. Likewise, obtaining these 100 referrals every month builds the courage needed to do the other tough things we talked about in number one – phoning and prospecting. To obtain this level of suspects it is key to truly believe in your mission.

  1. Discipline yourself to phone every day, especially at 9am!

This is key if you are going to schedule 25-30 appointments for the following week! Further, making your dials at the beginning of the day, is a fantastic feeling and allows you to go about the rest of your day solely focused on the prospects and clients you are meeting with.

  1. Always schedule your next appointment with a prospect/client at the end of the current meeting

If you do not set at least a tentative appointment, deadfile or automatic them. Again, this comes back to being courageous. Having the courage to ask for the next appointment also acts as a gauge with where the prospect is mentally. If he/she is extremely hesitant to set the next meeting, you have an idea of how they feel about the process and vice versa.

  1. Strive to keep 18 appointments each week by ultimately setting 30

The key word in this is ultimately, meaning that if I come into a week with 25 meetings set and 5 reschedule for later on in the week, I have ultimately set 30. By doing this, we guarantee we have enough people to ask for referrals – and become clients!

These five elements of success won’t be a panacea for your practice. However, when paired with courage and strong work ethic – success is within your reach. Also notice that these five ideas are all controlled by you! None of the above are sales numbers to hit or ratios to improve. Rather they are controllable business practices that will take your practice to the next level.

To your best effort,


How Many Leads Do I Need?

Get 1000 Qualified Suspects

1,000 Qualified Suspects….let’s get our heads and hearts around that big challenge. We recruit people into our business and we know how difficult it is but we make it MORE difficult by not teaching this fact;

In your first year you must get 1,000 referrals, or as we Client Builders call them, Qualified Suspects or QSs for short.

We will better define this in a later post.

Well, we don’t actually need 1,000, but in the first six months we must get QSs at the annual rate of 1,000. Here is what I mean;

In your first six months in the business job number one is to get 500 QSs! If we assume a working month has around 17 days then we are talking 100 working days in the first six months. If we need 500 QSs in 100 days that sounds like 5 QSs every working day in your first six months in the business.

That would be correct!

For reasons I will explain in another post, if you will spend your first 100 days dedicating yourself to this RULE # 1 and receive 500 QSs, you will never have to do that again! The ability to call people a second time who say “NO” in the following six months (100 days) allow you to get less QSs but to actually write more business in your second six months and beyond.

I love this system!

With 500 QSs in your first 100 days, and something less than 500 your second 100 days, you now have the “fuel” to create success in year one.

Success in year one is 100 Lives.

I will do the math in another post, for now just trust me. THIS is the key to early success.

So, how do you get 5 QSs every single working day in your first 100 days in the business?

That is the subject of our next post

To Your Best Effort,

Reading Wide, Reading Deep

Summer is a great time to read more than the latest best seller or trendy “beach read”. Use the season of rest and relaxation to stretch your mind and reach your goals. Jim Marker’s summer reading list is wide and deep.  From Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, to books by classic comedians Don Rickles and Bob Newhart, as well as Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin, Jim’s getting great lessons in history, politics and culture.

Look for more wisdom and insight into changing lives as Jim re-reads the classic Building a Financial Services Clientele by O. Alfred Granum, Barry Alberstein and Delia Alberstein.

More Magic

A group of 12 fortunate, new producers in Cincinnati, OH were challenged by Jim Marker’s presentation of “The Magic Formula for Success”on June 21st.

Client Building

Jim Marker moderates a minimum of 10 Client Building Groups in 3 cities each month. With each trip, he gains more energy and builds more relationships that help change lives. Maybe he’s using that travel time to work on his upcoming book….?

The Magic Formula for Success

On May 18th, Jim Marker presented his “Magic Formula for Success” to a career school in Chicopee, MA. The program will be repeated on August 17th  in Chicopee, for a new audience. This is an inspiring talk with great ideas, energy building content and great application points. Don’t miss a chance to hear Jim deliver it.