Success Interview - John Greene From Northwestern Mutual

John Greene is a Financial Representative for the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. John provides full service financial planning for his clients, which include successful people from all walks of life. John hired me in June of 2003 to help him improve his business and increase his sales. I interviewed John in May of 2004, and asked him about his experiences working with Northwestern Mutual.

Tell me a little about what you do as a sales professional at Northwestern Mutual.

I build relationships and help individuals and business owners align their actions with their intentions.  This involves a three-step process, which begins with an initial meeting where I help my prospective clients identify their most important financial goals.  The second step involves recommendations in the form of a Personal Planning Analysis that I prepare to help illustrate what actions need to be taken in order for the prospective client’s financial goals to be met. The third and final step is meeting with my clients on an annual basis.  I understand that circumstances change over time, which makes it extremely important for me to make sure that my clients are on track to achieve their financial goals.

In the last year, you have had a 370% increase in your new clients and a 172% increase in policies sold, what do you attribute your success to?

Wanting to be the best at what I do.  Initially my expectations were low.  By not thinking big I consistently underachieved.  Believing that I can be successful is where the transformation began.  Next, with your help, I set goals that were lofty, yet achievable.  I then held myself accountable to these goals did whatever needed to be done to achieve them.

What is the biggest obstacle that you have overcome in the last year?

Believing that I can be successful in my business.  I got off to a slow start and I didn’t know how to get out of the rut of being a below average producer.  I would have occasional good months, but I couldn’t maintain any consistency.  With your help I started looking at everyday as a new opportunity to get better and positioned myself to achieve my goals.  No mater how good or bad yesterday was, I know that I need to be productive today.

What advice do you have for someone that is looking to significantly improve his or her sales?

Set goals that mean something to you.  In most sales careers you have minimums or goals that your company sets.  Many times the only thing that connects you to those goals is maintaining your current job or current level of pay.  Don’t get me wrong that’s important, but I look at that as defensive selling.  You’re doing just enough to maintain your job or maintain your level of pay.  If you want to improve your sales you first have to identify why increasing sales is important to you.  How will the increase in sales improve your business or lifestyle?  Once you associate something positive with your increase in sales you can determine how much you must increase production to effectively improve your business or lifestyle.

How has coaching helped you in achieving the success you have in the past year?

Initially you helped me work through the distractions that where taking my attentions away from my business.  Up until then I had no shot at being successful.  You also helped me identify what I wanted out of this career and what lifestyle I wanted this career to provide me with.  The next step was setting goals and having someone hold me accountable to achieve those goals.  Our weekly meetings allowed me to break my goals down on a daily and weekly basis.  This allowed me to track my progress on a daily basis, which has helped me tremendously over the past year. My overall coaching experience has been beneficial and I look forward continuing to grow with your help and support.

You can reach John Greene on the web at