Dec 30 2006, 08:49 PM
Being out in the field, in shopping malls, supermarkets and warehouse stores, I am frequently prospecting for people to join in the financial services business that I am in. People make business move, and so there is a strong emphasis on recruiting new people with a passion to break out of the dead-end job they’re in, but who are also motivated to achieve for themselves and their families.
This past week has been increasingly frustrating though, as nearly every person that I have spoken to has handed me back my business card and said “no thanks”. It’s alarming, the number of near-minimum wage workers who are so indoctrinated in the school of thought that “this is it for me—this is all I can expect to do with my life” and who aren’t even of the mindset to consider stepping out of the mold and persuing their future financial goals in a big way.
When I get my card handed back to me, I think, “this person is really stuck—they don’t get it and it’s sad that when they’re 65, they’ll probably still be working at a similar job”. Maybe one of those people will recall the day I handed them my business card and offered them an opportunity to change their life forever, and maybe they might be wondering if they had not been so stubborn and closed-minded, would they be relaxing on their own yacht now, instead of working a cash register and realizing that they will be doing so until they drop dead.
It’s a challenge to break though such mindsets, when you have at best, maybe 15 seconds to make your pitch in a busy environment like a retail store. I’ve been with Primerica now for 8-1/2 months, and have been actively recruiting since July. That involved speaking with my friends, and talking to anyone that I come in contact with in business and at social events. We have solutions that many folks can use to their advantage, yet I have difficulty understanding why these folks are so unwilling to take a step that can put them on a path to being debt-free.
One cashier lady I spoke with this evening said she was too poor for financial services. So I mentioned the business opportunity side of it and her response was that she works all the time at this checkout stand and has no time to do anything else. It becomes clear to me that such people are stuck in their familiar “comfort zone” and fear the unexpected, or the falsely-expected as part of changing the path they’re on. The pain of living in that rattrap aparment just isn’t quite bad enough to make a change and they don’t quite hate their job enough to summon the resolve to do something about it. This is the complacency trap that middle America is entrenched in. It’s tragic for two reasons: it makes my job of finding motivated people who believe that they can have a better life outside of a dead-end job much more difficult, and it has the obvious result that the majority of Americans are going to be trapped in the circle of poverty, as taxes, energy costs and inflation far outstrip their 2% annual wage increases.
What do do about these people? Only a Dale Carnegie may know the answer…