I have this small glass block on my desk with a message inscribed on the inside.

This was given to me many years ago by the former CEO of the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield plans, Howard Berman.  Howard had little tolerance for sales people that used to go on and on about their activities, and dodge questions about actual results of their activities.  He wanted the steak, not the sizzle.  Now, mind you, I am not saying I was ever the recipient of his intolerance for ‘blah, blah, blah’ in an update meeting.  But I did receive one of these glass blocks from him to keep reminding me of what is important, and that is results.

I kept this block on my desk at MedAmerica, visible for all to see, and referred to it from time to time in holding my salespeople accountable for their results.  And I keep it on my desk now to continue to hold myself accountable.

The Alliance had a great year in 2016 in that we added carriers and grew sales for several companies.  We created several creative marketing and promotional pieces, including monthly email blasts about the benefits of certain products along with creative sales ideas.  But I still feel like I/we could have achieved a lot more in 2016. 

So, when I look back at 2016 and what I accomplished, I am taking an honest look at the sign on my desk and thinking, “What efforts should I make now that will improve results, not just for me, but for you as well?”  Can I do better?

After some reflection, I have concluded that now is a good time to implement a change in tactics.  My approach last year was to ‘shotgun’ messages to everyone, i.e., take a broad, general approach to getting information to you.  This year I will take a more ‘rifled’ approach.  All of our members are different, with different initiatives, different ways of defining success, and have different needs.  Therefore, I believe I need to try and help each of you on an individual basis rather than by taking a blanket, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. 

In 2017, you will no longer receive a Product Spotlight, Sales Idea of the Month, or Alliance Alert on a monthly basis.  And this will be my last blog, at least for now.  Never say never, right?

Instead, I will be contacting you to help determine which of the Alliance solutions that we have, that can best help you get to the next level with your business.  And we can then focus on adding one, maybe two, new products into your practice.  We will also look at what products you are currently selling that we can help you sell more to improve results.

I believe the Alliance will have its best year yet in 2017.  That will only be true if you also have a good year and continue to integrate more of the Alliance’s LTC solutions into your practice.  We will do that, and I will help, just in a different way than I did in 2016.

One thing that won’t change is my commitment to help bring a LTC funding solution to virtually everyone, regardless of age, financial status, health, or state of residence.  The mission of the Alliance remains the same – provide a long-term care funding solution to EVERYONE.

I appreciate your support and partnership up until now, and I know that both of us will continue to grow in 2017.  I firmly believe that the LTC industry is strong and full of opportunity.  That opportunity is just not narrowly defined by the performance of LTCI sales anymore.  It includes sales of ALL products with some form of LTC benefits.

So, let’s pledge to have a great 2017, together.  As I stay focused on the results, I will not fear changing the ‘how’ of my efforts.