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Embracing Lessons Learned


Dear Producers,

In a few short weeks, another year will be behind us. By the time you read this, I’m certain you will have crushed your numbers and earned that much sought-after year-end bonus.
With the hustle and bustle of closing out the year behind you, now is a great time to seek out some quiet time, grab a notepad, pen, and reflect. Yes, you read that right—I said reflect.

Most of us are so tired by the end of the year that we miss out on this important step in the business planning process.

Reflecting on the various outcomes of your hard work over the past 12 months is a priceless exercise. I promise if you choose to take this process seriously, it will significantly improve your revenue in the New Year.


First, create the following six columns on your notepad and label them accordingly:

Actions/Decisions | Better | More | Different | Start | Stop

Next, it is time to brain dump. Start to make your list of all of the actions or decisions you took over the past 12 months. Think through each of the eight key areas of your business and the decisions or actions you took within them.

  • Prospecting
  • Qualifying
  • Presenting
  • Up/Cross-Selling
  • Staff/Team
  • Practice Management
  • Marketing
  • Financials

Once you have filled a page (or two), start to categorize your list. Get acquainted with the definition of each category below.


Better: You tried it but need to make some minor tweaks in order to make it more efficient. An example might be event marketing. Perhaps you hosted several well-attended events but did not do the best job at asking for referrals from the attendees.

More: This column is dedicated to those winning activities or decisions. Perhaps it was making the decision to take a team-based selling approach. Maybe it was the decision to work with an outside coach to hold you more accountable to executing your plan.

Different: Here is where you take credit for all of the things that downright sucked. Yes, those activities or decisions that undoubtedly negatively impacted your business. It may not have been the overarching action, but instead a decision you made around the action. For example, it could have been a decision to procrastinate on hitting key prospecting indicators prior to year-end aka waiting until Q4 to meet your number. Or, it could have been making a bad hire due to not properly assessing or vetting the candidate prior to making an offer. Regardless, be sure to be brutally honest so you do not make these same decisions again.

Start: This column is for all of those activities or decisions you want to either start or continue with in the New Year. Think opportunities! These are your areas for growth. Take a deeper look inside of each action or decision. Consider expanding some of these growth opportunities.

Stop: Use this column to identify what you will no longer dedicate time or resources towards. This could include tolerating underperforming producers on your team. It also could be that you are going to stop accepting or making excuses for your lack of consistently focusing on doing a little bit all of the time.

To clarify, this list of items to discontinue does not mean you failed.


Traditionally, failure is associated with bad or unwanted feelings like guilt, shame, or resentment. Failure is a powerful force and can be detrimental to a producer’s mindset. It can be attributed to giving up on your dreams of being even more successful than you already are.

But, I am sure you have heard that anyone who has achieved some level of success believes they have learned as much from their failures as their successes. Besides, if you take no risks, there are no rewards.

That is what I want for you. To embrace the items in the “Stop” column. Never look at what you did as wrong. Instead, look at each item you label as a “failure” and jot down what you could do to improve next time versus why you screwed up in the first place. Stop dumping on yourself.

Do your very best to look at each “failure” as an opportunity. Fell short with your numbers this year? Own the reason. You have to be aware of and own the real reason you did not end up achieving your financial goal. Is it because you did not do or say things your were supposed to? Or did you do or say things that you never should have? When you cut through all of this stuff, you get to the truth. At the end of the day, the reason we are where we are is because of us and the actions or decisions we took or made—or those we did not. It is that simple. Learn from the past, it is one of life’s greatest lessons. Then you have to let the past go. Maybe next year you will make a commitment to focus on defining and executing on your key indicators. You will make more calls, ask for more referrals, have more courageous moments, make more appointments, close more business, and take more risks. Consistently do a little all of the time.


I am sure you have already put your high-level plan in place for 2019. BUT before you consider it complete, I would like you to take a look at your reflections, specifically the column titled “Start.” Is everything in your “Start” column included in your plan?

Also, double check the other columns to ensure your plan is aligned accordingly.

Finally, be sure to ask yourself what accountability structure you have in place to crush it in the New Year.

If you would like me to review your plan or your list of reflections, let’s talk. Please reach out to me via LinkedIn or call me directly at 631-726-3537.
Remember to do a little bit all of the time, not a lot some of the time.

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Glenn Mattson

Glenn Mattson

Glenn Mattson is a seasoned veteran of the selling profession, Glenn has personally built one of the leading offices for Sandler Training with his office ranking consistently in the top 1% of Sandler franchisees worldwide. He specializes in working with financial services producers and agency managers who want to shorten their selling cycles, grow their revenues, boost their productivity, and improve their operational efficiencies. Glenn's clients include many producers who seek to be MDRT qualifiers as well as Court of The Table and Top of The Table members who attribute a great deal of their success to the principles, practices, and, above all, the accountability Glenn brings to their practice. Glenn is based in Long Island, New York, but he's usually "in the field," working with clients all over the United States helping them to grow their business, revenues, and profits. Additionally, Glenn is a sought-after keynote speaker, available to speak to small or large groups on emerging business topics.