March 17, 2014 by Travis Redfern
Firm name: partner, Secure Retirement Solutions, Green Bay, WI
Licenses: life, health, property, casualty
College: University of Wisconsin, bachelor’s degree in business administration
Dean Listle had built a solid career in sales and consulting when he decided that he’d had enough of working around the clock, and flying around the country.
Having had a long career that involved finance and corporate budgeting, he didn’t think it was too much of a leap to switch gears and move from helping companies with their money to helping people with their finances.
Two years later, Dean is settled comfortably. He’s a people person with a penchant for numbers, so helping people navigate important financial decisions has been a good career choice.
What have you learned since switching professions?
My background was mainly dealing with sports leagues, putting together products and services for them; or representing their companies. Talking to a board of directors is one thing. However, when you sit down and talk to someone who is ready to retire, and has a finite amount of money that means the world to them, you have to look at things differently.
What’s a good way to approach a conversation with a client?
I approach them one way all of the time. I lean back in my chair and fold my hands in front of me and let them know there is no right or wrong answers, because we’re swapping ideas and just talking. Then you can see them go from clenching their hands on the arms of the chair to relaxing.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from a mentor that’s been important to you?
What was brought up to me—and it’s not always an easy thing to abide by because we’re human—is to treat others like you want to be treated. When I am speaking with someone, I try to put myself in their shoes: “What would I think if I were on the other side of the table?” If you abide by that premise, you’ll be successful whether it’s in this industry or any other.
What do you like most about the work you do?
People. I’m definitely a people person. I always have been, and always will be. You can enjoy things with people. You can mourn with people. You can connect with people. It always comes down to people. I’m always amazed at how many people in a sales position need to talk more than the client or prospect. We have a saying in our office, “You have two ears and one mouth. You should always listen more than you talk.”
February 17, 2014 by Travis Redfern
Steve Hudziak is all about the interview. He knows that the best way to figure out a client’s true needs is to respect the science of the interview.
That doesn’t mean that all Steve does is ask questions (even though he asks a lot of questions). But he also pays close attention to body language, and makes sure his reactions match their actions.
And he knows that the sale doesn’t come from the first appointment. It comes from subsequent meetings, and getting to know the person.
Most importantly, he’s built his success on referrals. He’s built a large clientele, and treats them all like family. And that’s why we’ve chosen him for our next installment in our agent interview series.
Firm name: Co-owner, Secure Retirement Solutions, Green Bay, WI
Years in industry: 24
Licenses: Life and health; member of the National Ethics Bureau, Better Business Bureau, and Financial Planning Association.
College: University of Wisconsin, Madison, bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance
1. Why do you choose to work with an independent marketing organization, like Brokers International?
At Brokers International, if you need them, they’ll come to bat for you.
From the first time we sat down with Brokers’ leadership, we knew almost right away that we would be moving our business. [Brokers employees] are more like us. We’re down to earth. We want to be fair to them. They want to be fair to us. We all want to do what’s right.
2. What are the methods that you use to get to know your clients?
If you treat clients sitting across from you like they are your family, and you’ll do anything for them, they’re going to come back to you.
I like to see how they sit in their chairs. We have round tables in our office, because when you have people sitting around, you’re not sitting across someone so there’s not a barrier. You feel like you’re in a family setting.
I always ask open-ended questions. If you wait, and ask the right questions, they tell you a lot of things, because you’re really digging into hot button issues.
I like to use the Sandler Pain Funnel strategy, which really helps me to get to know them.
3. Tell us about a recent interaction with a client where you really felt like you helped them.
A client that I’ll call Jane had just turned 60, and her husband had worked for 36 years at the Georgia Pacific Corporation in Green Bay. He was planning to retire, but got cancer and passed away suddenly. She had no one to help her with the paperwork that accompanied his death. They had made such an impact on me that I continue to work with her.
I will do anything for that lady and her late husband. He was good people. He would have her email us lists of people at Georgia Pacific that needed our help.
I recently met with her and her daughter last week to review her strategies. It was kind of a tear jerker just because I got close to him. And I thought about someone working his tail off for all those years and didn’t get to spend it and enjoy it.
Sometimes you get close like that. She’s already sending me more people. That’s just how we are here—we treat clients like family, like parents sitting across from us.
This material is being provided as a service to you. Please note that the information and opinions included are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Broker’s International.
January 23, 2014 by Travis Redfern
I joke around with Kevin that he’s the “great Kevin Klug.”
It’s not only an affectionate nod to his steady production, but also an acknowledgement that he’s great to work with.
Kevin and his colleagues at Secure Retirement Solutions in Green Bay, WI are focused on building long-term business relationships with their clients. And they also take time to develop personal relationships. They are a team of professionals who work to find solutions that are in the best interest of their clients.
That’s why Kevin is the focus of this installment of “What works ”
Firm name: Co-owner, Secure Retirement Solutions, Green Bay, WI
Years in industry: 15
Specialty (if applicable): Retirement/income planning strategies
Licenses: Health and life
College: A.A., Communications, San Antonio College, San Antonio, TX
1) Why did you decide to work with Brokers International?
I’d originally worked with Brokers International for four years. When I left for another opportunity, I found out the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. I grew to miss the one-on-one experience and interactions with the people at Brokers.
You’re not just a number at Brokers. It’s not just about premium. You have a name; a face; a family; you’re a real person. Here, it’s about building relationships. It’s not always about the money.
2) What was a piece of advice that you received early in your career that has stuck with you?
It’s not necessarily a piece of advice, but there are two things that I live by: One, never tell a lie. If you never tell a lie, you don’t have to remember what you told someone. Two, never say something about somebody that you wouldn’t say in front of them.
It’s all about how you treat someone. I try to treat my clients like they are my parents. I want to make sure they’re being taken care of.
3) Tell us about a recent interaction with a client where you really felt like you helped them.
I wholeheartedly believe in helping my clients be proactive in their retirement strategies. I have a case that I talk about, which highlights the importance of looking forward.
I was doing some strategizing with a husband and wife. He had entered early retirement because of the onset of multiple sclerosis. We sat down, and put together a strategy. Shortly thereafter, he died suddenly from a blood clot in his lung, caused by the MS.
Because we had just met, and put together a strategy to protect their income, his wife didn’t have a drop off in their income. She was able to have a level of reassurance about her retirement strategy. My goal is to help people through the good times and the bad.
December 19, 2013 by Travis Redfern
You know that you need referrals to grow your client base, and a CPA can help.
A CPA can help grow your business because they provide an inroad to a more reliable referral system. Consider the following factors:
- A CPA’s clientele can include people within your target demographic who may need your services.
- Your clients might need a CPA, but don’t know one they feel comfortable contacting.
- Use your experience and connections to help a CPA expand their client network.
Click here to find out how you can get connected to CPAs in your area through the Brokers International, Ltd. CPA Alliance Program.