Christopher Gandy, President and CEO of Midwest Legacy Group, is based in Chicago and has been a loyal member since 2012.,Early in his career, Gandy was a Northwestern Mutual Financial Network Representative. While there, he received numerous awards and was a top producer. He became a Million Dollar Round Table Member in 2001. In the spring of 2005, Gandy moved his financial services practice to the Molyneaux Financial Group, LLC, a general agency of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he received the Impact Award in 2006 and Management Council and Leaders Conference Honors in 2007. This agency eventually became MassMutual Chicago. In 2010 he started his own agency, where he leads a team of highly skilled advisors, meanwhile still developing his clientele nationwide. Gandy is currently a member of NAIFA’s national Board of Trustees and the Immediate Past President of the Chicagoland chapter. Gandy is a proud graduate of the University of Illinois where he played basketball for the Illini before playing professionally for the Chicago Bulls. Gandy combines his passion for sports and financial literacy and participates in numerous community-building activities throughout Chicagoland. Gandy joined NAIFA’s monthly membership NAIFA Live meeting as the keynote speaker and discussed 10 steps to doubling your practice.
- Take Inventory. How do you keep track of your ratios? Knowing your sales ratios and what it takes to take someone from “Zero to Hero” will undoubtedly help in determining what is or is not working with your approach. Gandy also expresses how taking inventory of “how many calls you make, inventory of how many people want to meet with you, inventory of how much you do on a day-to-day basis is essential for success.”
If you don’t know your stats or sales ratios, Gandy encourages you to go back over the last 30 days and ask the following questions:
- What is the ratio of strangers? How many people who you do not know have been willing to sit down with you and buy from you versus strangers who have not?
- What is the timeline between the beginning of that process and the end of that process?
- Put in Extraordinary Effort. What you've done to get here won't get you to where you want to go. You should be the first person in the office. “People should be confused about who runs the office,” says Gandy. He explains further: “the people who get into the office early are usually the most successful ones because they have the keys to let everyone else in, making them leaders by nature.” If you want extraordinary results you have to put in an extraordinary effort and be willing to make sacrifices like coming into work early or even working on the weekends. He emphasizes, “You cannot put in ordinary effort and expect extraordinary results.”
- You Have to Let Go to Grow. Gandy’s rule of thumb is to fire yourself every 90 days. If you're doing a certain task and you’re doing it well for 90 days, fire yourself and hire someone else to do it. By delegating certain tasks to others, you will free up your time to focus on what is most important. Gandy states, “so often we're taught in this business that we're so good, we're so smart, we're so talented, and no one can do the things we do the way that we do it, right? No one can put together that proposal the way we do it and no one can talk to that underwriter the way we do. This is false. We have to be willing to let go to grow.”
- Focus on Your Number One Job. When you were hired, what was the job you were hired to do? You will often hear people say how they were “hired to sell insurance or hired to make investments and grow their agency.” Gandy disagrees with this notion; “I believe there are two things that financial advisors or insurance professionals were hired to do. We were hired to see people and fight the good fight. We often find ourselves doing all the other things that are not in alignment with that.”
- Be Absolute in Your Process. The way in which you approach all your clients should be absolute, or the same. Gandy expresses how a common problem he sees with advisors is that they think they need to treat their high-net worth clients differently. Gandy explains how advisors often ask him, “what do I say?” to the clients who have a higher net worth. The answer is simple, the exact same thing you would say to each and every client. Everyone should be treated fair and start with a blank slate -- just because a client has a higher net worth does not mean their financial goals are significantly different. If you treat all your clients the same, Gandy believes you won’t have to think about what to say because it will be second nature. Create an absolute process for working with clients and never compromise it for anyone.
- Relentlessly Pursue Your Target. As a financial professional, you want to determine who your ideal client is and pursue them relentlessly. Once you determine your ideal client, you’ll want to reach out and support the clubs and associations that they may be a part of. Why? “Because birds of a feather flock together... and if you are not relentless someone else, somewhere else, will be,” Gandy states. For example, Gandy explains how he currently has a significant portion of clientele that are physicians. So, he will often target residency programs and physicians’ associations and relentlessly pursue their members. He states, “If you put in the time, energy, effort, and you build a relationship” with a particular demographic they will ultimately become your client. He goes on further, “over a period of time, you want to plant seeds and water them with the goal of having them grow into new clients in the future.”
- Choose New Clients Carefully. Be particular about who you bring on board as new clients. Your goal is to grow and be successful as a financial professional, but taking on the wrong type of client can actually have the opposite effect and put you at a loss both financially and with lost time. Gandy explains, “So often we take on difficult or the wrong types of clientele simply for the money, but once the money is spent you find yourself servicing someone and spending time with someone that you don’t enjoy” or is ultimately a stressor to you, your business as a whole, and your goals. Gandy recounts how in his first few years of business, he would take on troublesome clients simply for the money and how he would ultimately end up spending more money over time to rid himself of those clients.
- Commitment, Not Convenient Interest. The need for instant gratification enables us to stray from our most important goal. Patience is key in this industry. You must constantly be planting seeds, watering them, and waiting. Gandy promises that “if you practice all the right behaviors and stay on course, you will be able to achieve your goals.” He explains the importance of “committing to your goals not just expressing interests.” Why? Because the difference between committing to something versus being interested in something is one key word, convenience. Those who are unable to stay focused and commit to their goals are only expressing interest, not commitment. We cannot pursue and focus on our goals when it's most convenient for us. We have to be willing to go out of our way and make sacrifices to do what’s necessary to reach our potential and achieve our goals.
- Tell Everyone Your Goals. Verbally expressing your goals to those around you will help you hold yourself accountable, because “if you say it out loud you won’t want to go back on your word,” says Gandy. His suggestion is to create a “bench” of people, either colleagues or friends, and tell them about your goals so that they can support you and help to hold you accountable. He also suggests making the screen saver on your phone a picture of your goals so that you’re reminded constantly and cannot hide from it.
- A Win is a One-Time Event, Excellence is a Continuous Pursuit. Goal chasing and the pursuit of success is never over. You should never become complacent after reaching a certain level of success. Gandy states how many financial professionals will fall into a “sophomore slump,” referring to those who become comfortable after having a successful first year or first few years in the industry and think they have made it and no longer try. Gandy states, “I encourage you to win, and once you win, celebrate that win, and ultimately put it down and focus on something else. Don’t read the press clippings and look at the accolades on your walls as a sign that you’ve made it.”
NAIFA Live is a members' only benefit. Each month, members from across the country gather together virtually (and in person where allowed) to learn from a top speaker in the industry. NAIFA Live is just one of the many perks of belonging to the #1 professional association for producers.