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It’s almost as if the business banned “motivational speaking” about 20 years ago. Motivational presentations were said to have a “mushroom impact”…a quick puff of performance that would be quickly deflated. They only provided temporary performance increases at best.

The basis of this is that you are either self-motivated or not. If not, no one can help you. You were on your own.

Interestingly, since this idea caught on, advisor productivity has deteriorated significantly. Average total life sales per advisor -even in one excellent firm have sunk below 20 per year. A US study shows that a majority of advisors there earn less than $50,000 per year – gross. Canada is no different. Here are several reasons for this:

What replaced motivational talks was “de-motivational speaking” – those dry, spirit-crushing, technical sessions that earn CE credits but suck the heat out of advisors. And, if the “motivational” impact was fleeting, the de-motivational impact is long-lived.

This is a tough business. Even self-motivated advisors get run down occasionally. A difficult market can have a powerful impact on even the best advisors. All advisors need to recharge their batteries because “losing” takes a lot more out of an advisor than winning puts back in. There are more “losses” in this business than wins.

I know where this idea came from and it serves a motive other than improving advisors. Adherence to it has hurt both advisors and consumers. Uninspired advisors stay home and consumers don’t get the help they need. Advisors suffer from the lack of production.

Yes, you may consider me a motivational speaker, but I was also an agent and manager for nearly 25 years. I understand the business and what it takes to succeed. I still earn a living the way you do. I only “eat what I kill”.

While you do have to want to be motivated -and no one can make you want to, you can create an environment in which you are more motivated. Good programs can inspire you. They can help you motivate yourself.

Great agency managers have done this, not only in this business but also in business in general. The ability to inspire and nurture performance is a wonderful talent.

We need more of these leaders. And, we need more motivational sessions. Don’t buy the propaganda.

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