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How to Impress Anyone in Business

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The more work I do with insurance reps, advisors, agents, brokers, and planners, the more amazed I am – and not in a good way. There are many smart, articulate, motivated, and personable producers who miss the basics of what it takes to be successful. This goes for brand-new reps as well as seasoned pros.

So here are some time-tested rules from Donald Trump’s book “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire” that will help you impress people. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the prospect, make the sale, or get hired – or at least not get “fired.”

? Be on time. Punctuality is essential. You should never tolerate late arrivals or missed deadlines, for yourself or from anyone else. If you’re on time (or even early), it’s a sign that the meeting and your prospect’s or client’s time is important to you.

? Do your homework. Wasting other people’s time because of poor planning and thoughtlessness will only leave a bad impression; in this day and age, there’s no excuse. Simply Google that prospect, client, or strategic partner, and you’ll be that much more prepared and confident. People will be flattered if you reference a deal you know they’ve done or a charity in which they’re involved.

? Remember people’s names and small details about them. Use both in conversation. People love to hear their names and their stories. This goes back to doing your homework (you can’t remember everything). President Clinton used to carry around index cards that highlighted specific details of important people he would meet or see again. Moments before he stepped out of his motorcade, he would scan the index cards to jog his memory.

? Be honest. Most people can smell a lie and will appreciate honesty, even if it’s not exactly what they want to hear. As long as you’re professional, respectful, and caring, that is.

? Let other people talk. Have you ever been cornered by someone at a meeting who does nothing but drone on and on about themselves? If not, maybe that person is you. Any business conversation should be two-sided; the more interested you are in them, the more interesting you will be to them.

? Be self-deprecating and disarming. Don’t be a bulldozer in business; save your hardest edge for when you need it most. As an insurance advisor, you have a duty to be responsible and compassionate toward other people. After all, it’s all about helping others – remember?

Some people think that billionaires (or top producers and future stars) don’t have to impress anyone, but most successful people still live by these rules. Your manners, like your money, need to be maintained at all times.

Michael Goldberg is a speaker, author, consultant and the founder of Building Blocks Consulting.For more information or to subscribe to Michael’s free online newsletter and blog The Building Blocks to Success please visit or