Overwhelming thoughts…

Overwhelming thoughts means…. you are thinking.

This morning I awoke to a chat message from one of our Zohoholics where he indicated he was feeling overwhelmed by all of this. In the wake of that, I thought I would write a short piece on this topic. (Well, not too short. I miss writing). So, what are we doing here? None of this is meant to complicate your life. It’s not meant to overwhelm you. It might because we are moving so fast. Warp speed, Mr. Scott.

In fact, it was really all designed so that it would make your life easier. We have been given an ecosphere in which to work, and to organize us, and provide us with exceptional tools that maybe we did not have prior. Remember, this… all this is not our work. Our work is the time we spend with people. Our work is serving. Zoho and GTM and SMS and Google. These are just things. Just websites. None of this changes Humana, Anthem, Aetna, or Wellcare. Right?

Yes. There is a learning curve. I frequently joke about the fact that I make heads hurt. Has yours? It will.

It feels over-whelming. I feel completely overwhelmed myself right now…. trying to bring 15-20 people along with me. I sure had no idea what I was getting myself into when I told Timothy, “Hey. We should get these people on Zoho.”  Hahahahaha.

So how bout we both take a moment, sip some coffee, chill out. Put on some soft jazz and take a deep breath. It will be ok.

All we have here is a database application. That’s it. A place to store information.

All we have here is a Google calendar. An online meeting system. A way to send out text messages to the masses. A place to write better emails.

Each one of these tools, on their own is fairly learnable. Right? But you are being hit with several all at once. If you were not overwhelmed I would really think you were not getting it. We store our client data in Zoho. That’s it. We meet with clients through face-2-face, telephones, and through online meetings. We are virtual, baby!!!!!

You may never do an online meeting. You may do 100 in the next year. I will. These are just tools.

Client’s do not ever know we are doing all this. Right? None of this is even about what we do. It’s just a framework for HOW we do it. So, let’s talk for a moment about what you need. If you are feeling a little over whelmed, that’s ok.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

There are a thousand ways to do this work. A thousand tools to use to do it with. Here is what I have and use to do the job.

My Laptop – I have a laptop. Actually, I have 2, but really a laptop is the thing. I do not use a desktop computer for a few reasons. The obvious is it just cannot be lugged around. Right? So, I have a laptop. It’s an HP touchscreen. It’s fancy. It’s one of those that the screen folds back over and I can turn it into a tablet. Wow. Cool. Never done it. But, if I needed to, I could. So in a sense, this is a laptop and a tablet. I think I paid $400 for it. Gotta have a good laptop I think.

Some people like to use Apple. I love Apple as a company. I cannot understand why on earth business people would use a product that comes from a company that believes in a closed technology world. Everything they do works well within their technology, but lord help me, integrating the rest of the world in (which is 95% of the world I might add) is just difficult. Sure, Apple is stylish. It’s a status symbol. It’s the Mont Blanc pen. The Rolex watch, the “Benz”. But, it’s just a pain in the ass in a Microsoft world. I say stick with the IBM/Microsoft world. Not a fan of their’s either, but, they own or work with 95% of the world’s technology.

I also have a laptop because I WANT 2 MONITORS! You see, with a laptop, you can plug another monitor in, thereby giving you 2-3 times the visual space in which to work.When I meet with clients, I have just my laptop screen, and it feels sooooooooo small. But, when I am at home or my office, I have all this space in which to open 100 browser tabs!  No kidding, sometimes I really do. Heck, I might even have Zoho itself open in 20-30 or more tabs.  LOL

I also recommending purchasing at least 3 power cords for your laptop. I keep one at my office. One at home. One in my computer bag. That way I never have to plug power cords in and out from my home and office. I hate plugging in my laptop. It’s rough gettng behind my desk at the office to even find a plug. Only when I go to a client’s house do I need to plug in. Wierd, huh?

Zoho – So, I have my Zoho. It’s my trusted friend. All my knowledge and experience is in there. I can open that sucker up and see all the people I help. I can find any kind of information imaginable about any of my people. That’s all Zoho is. It’s my information source on my business. It’s my communication place. It’s where I spend most of my days. I do not turn it on just for a few minutes when I think of something to put into it. Some tidbit… no, my friend stays on 24 hours a day mostly. I never turn off my computers of course. That would be like unplugging my best friend. Why would you do that? My Zoho is always on whether I am at my desk or not. My laptop never turns off. I just fold it up and put it into sleep mode if I am traveling with it. It amazes people when I open it up and it is already one, maybe pointing to their case already. I am prepared.

That’s all Zoho is. Zoho is our trusted friend. It stores all our client information.

Then, there is Google. So much talk about how Google is invading our lives, stealing our secret information. It’s covert. It’s listening.

Maybe it is, but… it’s just sooooooooooo good.

All of us should for sure have a Google account. Whether we use GMail or not does not matter. But, we need a Google account. I think I have a Gmail account. I don’t think I ever used it though. But, we need a Google account so that we have their calendar. It’s not a requirement, but rather a strong recommendation. It’s just so darn good. It’s functional and it is pretty. AND, it ties in with Zoho and GoToMeeting so well.

Google Chrome. I do not know if you realize this or not, but Google Chrome is the #1 browser in the world. It used to be Internet Explorer. Do they still exist? Chrome is faster, more apps, and more reliable. There are reasons why anything makes it to the #1 spot in the world. It’s just best. Again, in the Apple universe, Chrome might not work as well. Just one more reason to not live in the Apple universe.

But, if you do. That’s ok. I think you need to think about your business as your business and your personal life as your personal life. I see so many of you using one email account for business and personal. I see everyone trying to merge it all together. I personally do not do that. My experience is that the more I do that, the more I feel like I am always at work. I hate working from home. I feel like I am always in my office. That’s how I end up working 70 hour weeks. I just always work. Keep the hot side hot and the cold side cold (my thanks to McDonalds). Have a business email (“sally@coolinsurancegroup.com” or “Tom@tomsthebomb.com”) Why in God’s name would people use anything @yahoo.com, or @gmail.com, or @hotmail.com? I never got that. Everyone should own their name. I have todd@toddoldfield.com. That is my personal email )one of four). Having the right email address defines who you are  to your clients. Would you ever choose “farmman@hotmail.com”? Hope not. It says you are a farmer. Nothing against farmers, mind you. Got love them for what they do. They feed the world.

GoToMeeting. It’s reliable. It’s solid. It’s enjoyable. It does what it is suppose to do. You might be shocked to know that it is 4:10AM and I have it one right this moment. Just incase some other Zohoholic is up an needs to ask for my help. I leave it on a LOT. So, here I sit right now drinking my coffee, telling you this story, and my GTM is on. How do I use it in my business life though with my clients? Sparcely. I might do 2-3 GTM sessions with clients a week or a month. It’s just a tool. Don’t freak out. It, like Zoho, and Google, and everything just takes a little learning curve.

Remember, this is all new to you. Did you shoot 78 the first time you played a round of golf? The first time you painted a room, did it go well? Were all the lines straight? How bout the first client appointment you ever had. Are your client appointments today smoother and more polished than that first one?  Of course. Why? Because you are over the learning curve and you are solid. You will be a professional with all this stuff by the time AEP is over this year. We have almost 4 months to prepare. We are in no hurry here. We are at the first few steps down a long path.

So, GoToMeeting. It’s just a tool to meet with people. It’s the best. In fact, I would suggest to you that all these things are the best at what they do. Zoho is for sure the best CRM. Google calendar is the best calendar. Laptops are the best tool for doing your work (although tablets can do just about as much. Not quite, but almost. Plugging an external monitor in a tablet is not easy. Can be done though.) If you use a laptop to work, get yourself an external monitor. Your life will change. You will feel like you have the most outragious luxury in your life. It’s like a California King matress…. so much room. You are the king of your land.

Back to GTM. Will you use it a ton? No. Probably not. I am estimating maybe 20% of the time can you use it. You will begin to think, “I need to meet with Sally. Lord, she is in Paducah. I really don’t want to drive to Paducah. I wonder if Sally could do a GTM?” I ask that all the time. I am so lazy. I do not want to drive 8 hours today to see a client. There has to be a better way. That’s where GTM comes in. From the CIG side of things, they hope we will write three deals a month using GTM. That would pay for the cost for us all to have it. Can we write three deals a month with GTM, all of us combined? Sure. GTM is just a tool.

All these things fit together. They integrate.

Then we have our broker profiles. We have our authoring. This is just marketing. We want a great profile. Some of us like to write on healthcare insurance related topics. CIG is a venue for that.

But, again, I am off topic. Just think “Zoho+Google+GTM” That’s it. That’s the ticket.

Again, this is but a first step. You were not meant to grasp all this, this fast. It should hurt a little. In 4 months, it will be nothing. We will have tons of training and GTM sessions between now and then.

So, I invite you to chill out, put on the music, grab a fresh cup of coffee…. and take a deep breath. It will be ok.

 

TODD’s SHOPPING LIST

  • IBM Compatible Laptop – 8GB RAM, Biggest monitor possible, Fastest clock speed possible – $350
  • External Monitor – Biggest you can afford – $200.
  • Zoho – FREE to you.
  • Google Calendar – FREE to you.
  • 2-3 extra power cords for your laptop – $45 total online.
  • Google Chrome as a browser – Free to you.
  • GoToMeeting – FREE to you.
  • A good email address. Buy your name. Go to Godaddy.com and purchase your name @.com. Do you really want someone else to own it? It cost like $14 a year. Then forward your name to either a website you create or your broker profile on CoolInsuranceGroup.com
  • Twilio (You have not heard of that one yet) – SMS Text messaging from Zoho. FREE to you.
  • Internet Connection at Home – Fastest you can afford. I think you should be up to 50 MBPS at the least. That might run you $40 a month at home.
  • CISCO IP Phone – at home. Did you know you can have an extension at the office that forwards to your cellphone? Or you could even purchase a phone for your home that IS your extension at the office. This is what I do. My phone at home is where I do all my business calls. It has a sister phone at the office. Extension 1001 on my phone service. All calls are recorded going in and out of that phone. I think I spend about $45 a month for the phone service and recording of all my calls. LOVE IT BABY!
  • Android Phone – Again, I do not like Apple. I do not want to ever deal again in my life with the Appletunes.  It’s a place young people go to download music. I am all about business. Wish I still had my Blackberry. It was the best. Built for business. But, Android is what I have now. Great business tool. Zoho, GTM, Google… all have apps right for that phone.

That’s what I would do. Not I have spouted off a lot in this article. This was not to call anyone out. I am not saying that I have all the answers. I am just a guy. What I do works. Is there a better way? I do not know. If you have a better way, please share it with me. I am always looking for a better way to do things.

Todd

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