Gama Newsletter
September 2013
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Tracking for Success

By Ali Pahlavani, MBA
Director, New Business Development
Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network, Ottawa

A friend was telling me once how he lost more than 10 pounds in four weeks, not by going on a special diet, but simply by tracking everything he ate. He explained how keeping a “food diary” helped him by making him more conscious of what he was putting into his mouth as well as how much he was eating over the course of a day. There is nothing revolutionary in this method; in fact, according to a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, tracking your daily food intake can double your weight loss.

Tracking can also improve your team’s sales results. By following a simple tracking system, you are able to inspire your team to do what needs to be done to achieve their goals.

Any effective tracking system for independent advisors should integrate a number of key elements, including:


Objectives include income, sales and activity objectives. The income objective is established based on every individual's personal and lifestyle goals. The next step is to determine how much sales is needed to generate the desired income, and in turn how much activity is needed to support the sales objectives.

In addition to attitude, activities are the only measure advisors can control. The activity objectives are determined based on sales averages for each individual. In other words, you need to use the advisors' averages based on their past performance, to estimate how many prospecting attempts or fact-finding meetings they need to do, to achieve their sales objectives. If there is no historical data available for some advisors to demonstrate their averages, use the industry or your team's averages. Once the annual objectives are determined, the advisors can break them down into more tangible weekly or even daily objectives.


Ask the advisors, especially new advisors, to keep an “activity diary,” and to record all their activities and the time of each activity during the day. This simple task helps the advisors build good business habits and become more conscious about how they spend their time. If they know they are going to have to record the time spent on each activity, they might think twice before spending time on unproductive activities.

Using an “activity diary” enables the advisors to calculate the aggregate year-to-date time spent on each activity. Periodic review of these numbers can help determine if the advisors are spending enough time on productive activities and if any adjustments need to be made.


By recording all the sales and activity results and comparing them against the objectives on a weekly basis, the advisors can assess if they are on the right track to hit their annual targets. This will enable them to make the necessary adjustments so as to make up for any shortfalls that occur.

It is also helpful to keep track of cumulative year-to-date sales, activity and income results. By dividing income by the number of each activity, you can show the advisors how much, on average, they have made per activity. Most advisors find this information enlightening and motivating. For example, once the average income per prospecting attempt is determined, next time the advisors are going to make a prospecting attempt they know, regardless of the outcome, they are going to make, on average, that much money.

On the tracker, the advisors can also recognize positive business or personal events that happened during the week. This will help them focus on the positives. Moreover, they can identify, on an ongoing basis, areas in which they need to improve, and develop action plans to convert them to areas of strength. This “Continuous Improvement Process” will result in “incremental” or “breakthrough” improvements over time.

Following an effective tracking system will bring about a positive shift in your team’s results as a whole, and will help your average producers by giving them structure and motivation. John D. Rockefeller once said, “Good management consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” This simple tool will certainly work its magic, provided you work it closely and regularly.


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