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You Should Have Been There

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Trepidation often accompanies the start of something new and different, like a flutter at the beginning of an endeavor that stretches you in creative and meaningful ways.

So, I have to admit I had a slight bit of trepidation regarding the very first Life Insurance Sales Mastery Forum, the joint conference put on last week in Orlando by The National Underwriter Company and Harry P. Hoopis. Would all the hard work and planning of so many people be a winner?

The answer, Im happy to say, is yes, the conference was a rousing success.

The idea behind the Sales Mastery Forum was twofold. First, the importance of life insurance sales needs to be bolstered in the producer community; and second, life insurance sales are tough and producers need a place to find motivation, encouragement and inspiration.

Its true that these can be found at Million Dollar Round Table meetings. But with MDRT producers accounting for only about 6% of agents, what about the other 94%? Where can they go to get the nourishment to take it to the next level?

I can only touch on the highlights of the Sales Mastery Forum here, but youll get the idea.

The parade of speakers at the general sessions started with Reginald Rabjohns, a former president of the MDRT, whose talk was entitled “Do You Believe in Magic?”

(By the way, after hearing Regs talk it occurred to me, why doesnt the Life & Health Insurance Foundation for Education contract to use The Rascals song Do You Believe in Magic? as the theme song for promoting life insurance? It was a big hit and very recognizable to many boomers that the industry would like to reach.)

In any case, Reg got the audience involved and looking at themselves, by saying that “people who are somewhat successful are often the least likely to become the most successful. They are too often satisfied with what they have.”

Then he contrasted two groups of producers: one making about $100,000 a year (many of the people in the audience), the other making $1 million a year (Top of the Table members, for example). After hearing him enumerate the differences in temperament and habits of the two groups, the lower income folks not only had a much clearer idea of what they needed to do to revolutionize their practices, but also a much more tangible feeling that it could be within their grasp.

Guy Rice Doud, who was honored in 1986 by President Reagan as Teacher of the Year, pumped everyone up with his talk about being a “molder of dreams.”

Doud has honed his presentation to a fine pitch and through a combination of personal experience, humor and homespun wisdom really socked his message home. That message? Basically, he told the agents, youre teachers. As a teacher, he says his philosophy of teaching is based on the golden rule: Teach others like you would like to be taught. In other words, think about the kind of agent youd like to have and that is the kind of agent you should want to be.

Dave Woods, CEO of both LIFE and NAIFA, was on hand to talk about LIFEs mission and Real Life Stories, which like nothing else bring home the difference life insuranceand the people who sell itcan make.

Incidentally, seeing Dave again showed me and others that true leadership means leading by example. As someone mentioned about Dave, he is at the age when he could be enjoying a very nice retirement and yet hes accepted the awesome challenges of leading LIFE and turning around NAIFA. True believers can do amazing things.

The entire conference was studded with moments of inspiration and gems of enlightenment for the 600+ attendees. Judging from some of the feedback I got, this was just what these agents needed to send them back into the market revitalized and refreshed.


Steve Piontek


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, September 23, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.