Growing Through The Pandemic

Growing Through The Pandemic

There is no doubt that we are in an incredibly unique, “once in a lifetime (if not century)” environment as COVID-19 continues to ravage our country, causing nearly 200,000 deaths at the time of this writing. For several months now we have continued to adapt to seemingly endless changes to what is now euphemistically referred to as the “New Normal.”

As you may know, I like change. I embrace it and view it as opportunity in its purest sense. Because of this mindset, the last few months have presented me with the opportunity to work on my business rather than just in it. I have attended more Zoom conference calls than I can shake a stick at, but have also learned a great deal about new products, sales and operations processes, marketing techniques generally, digital marketing specifically, as well as taking advantage of the opportunity of investing time (as opposed to just spending it) on the creation and updating of our websites, marketing materials, and other proprietary intellectual property.

Sadly, I have had many professional associates lament about how frustrating and discouraging this time has been, and to those folks I can only say I am sorry, because I know that for some this has been a period of great growth and focused energy but only if they chose to make it so.

When I realized that this pandemic was going to be much larger and longer than originally portrayed by our nationally elected officials, I resolved that I was going to grow through it, and not simply go through it. I promised myself that I was going to be able to look back on this period and be able to quantify how I had invested my personal time as well as my professional time.

As a result, in addition to completing some major projects around the house, I also resolved to add relatives to my family tree by engaging in a regular rhythm of genealogy research, read countless books, write another book of my own in its entirety, and continuing to work on the other three that are in different stages of progress. I also resolved to write additional professional articles, the fifth of which is being published this month. I mention these accomplishments not to brag, but rather in the spirit of transparency and to report to my numerous accountability coaches. It has been time well invested.

Professionally, I have engaged in recruiting, training, and marketing efforts, and for the most part, aside from a total lack of travel, it has been business as usual because I chose to make it business as usual! Of course, only having to dress formally from the waist up for Zoom calls has been a summer treat.

Just as in the days following the tragedy of 9/11, people are recognizing that life can change in the blink of an eye. The stay at home orders and other issues that have precluded easy interstate travel have also raised the specter of long term care being/not being provided to loved ones by family members. These realizations have been the foundation of several personal sales that I have achieved as people respond to their own self-actuated call to action.

The economic upheaval and rollercoaster ride of the stock market has also raised awareness that not only are we physically vulnerable to the Coronavirus, but also financially vulnerable. Some of us have been approached by either prospects or complete strangers who are seeking out our expertise and assistance in constructing a plan that provides security and peace of mind against the scourge of long term care.

To this end nothing has changed. We have the expertise and technical acumen to assist people in creating a shield against the ravaging effects of long term care that ultimately safeguards themselves, their families, and their communities. To do this, however, we must get in front of these people. If they are not contacting us then it is incumbent upon us to continue our efforts to network and form strategic alliances and relationships; it is about being proactive and using available digital marketing strategies with which we can assist you to build your status as the Long Term Care Insurance Advocate in your marketplace.

I know that there are producers out there who are still mourning the passing of the company generated and provided direct mail lead—but those days are long gone. We have been in a new place for quite a while now, and the pandemic has served to solidify several new ways of doing business—not the least of which is the ability to offer our products and services virtually. Personally, while Uberconference, Join Me, and GoToMeeting have long been arrows in our quiver, I have no doubt that Zoom with all of its inherent flexibility has supplanted all of them as part of the New Normal.

From time to time I feel bad; not for myself, but rather for my grandkids who want to “experience first grade in person at school” (yes, my six year old granddaughter expressed it just that way) and for friends and family that are feeling trapped and isolated as summer quickly passed us by.

So that you too don’t fall into this trap I exhort you to do something! Do something that is going to provide you with a sense of accomplishment in the moment or for the day. It can be something as simple as finally getting around to organizing that file cabinet, cleaning out the desk, and making random calls to your existing clients. (I’ve done all these things too. The next project is the garage.) Reach out to those people you collected business cards from at the Chamber of Commerce or BNI meeting and simply have not “gotten around to calling.” You will be astounded at how good you will feel as a result of taking these small steps. The journey of one thousand miles starts with that first step!

Because we don’t know what the future holds or how long we will be battling the pandemic, resolve that you too are going to grow through it by setting some smart goals for yourself, your business, and your family, and make the balance of 2020 memorable for both growth and success.

Don Levin, JD, MPA, CLF, CSA, LTCP, CLTC, is chairman of the board of the National Long Term Care Network and the managing general agent of PNW Insurance Services, a national brokerage which offers long term care insurance, short term recovery care, life insurance and annuities to the general public across the country. The long term care planning specialists and staff of PNWIS are proud to offer comprehensive individualized planning solutions to their clients while also working through a strategic alliance of financial planners, estate planning and elder law attorneys, CPAs, and other businesses and organizations.

Levin has been in the long term care industry since 1999, during which time he has been an award-winning agent, district manager, regional sales manager, marketing director, associate general agent, general agent, and divisional vice president. Levin is also a former practicing Attorney-at-Law, court-appointed arbitrator and is a retired U.S. Army officer.

In addition to his various law and life and health insurance licenses, and the above designations, Levin has also earned Green Belt certification through GE’s Six Sigma program, and is a graduate of GAMA International’s Essentials of Leadership and Management. He has also taught Managing Goal Achievement®, Integrity Selling® and The Way to Wealth® to hundreds of leaders and salespeople over the past fifteen years. He previously possessed FINRA Series 7, 24, and 66 licenses.

Levin earned his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School, his MPA, from the University of Oklahoma, and his BA from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Defense Strategy Course, U.S. Army War College.

He is a published author of nine books in a wide range of genre.

Levin may be reached via telephone at (509) 348-0206. Email: dlevin@pnwis.com.