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Life Health > Life Insurance

6 lessons from a master

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Mehdi Fakharzadeh is one of the most successful insurance agents in history. At 92, he is still taking on and servicing clients.

Fakharzadeh achieved his remarkable success despite beginning his career with a severely limited grasp of the English language and American customs. Now, at the top of his industry, he is famous throughout the world with a following in more than 40 countries. A Chinese insurance agent and admirer of Fakharzadeh changed his first name to Mehdi, while another chose that name for his son.

At an Insurance Pro Shop seminar a few years ago, I had the honor of being asked to speak alongside Fakharzadeh. Here are some of the lessons I learned that day:

  1. Do the right thing. It will result in more business and referrals. Fakharzadeh does not attribute his success to his skills. Rather, he believes it is his karmic reward for giving his all to everyone he meets. His belief in doing the right thing and his humility shine through as he speaks.
  2. Love what you do. Fakharzadeh told his audience that selling insurance is his “hobby.” He is up at 4 a.m., eager to start his day, and doesn’t stop until his wife calls him to tell him to come home for dinner.
  3. Give them what they want. Be prepared to give prospects what they ask for, but always show them what you believe they should have. Fakharzadeh increases the size of his sales — and helps clients at the same time — by presenting insurance policies at signing for greater amounts. “They always try to buy less than they should,” he said. “I present to them what they really should have, and often they agree when they see it.”
  4. Make them clients first. “What do you do when a client doesn’t want what you believe is right for him?” a workshop attendee asked. “I give him what he does want, of course,” said Fakharzadeh. But he continued, “I wait two or three years [until we have a good relationship and my client trusts me] and then I show him a chart that has on the left side what he bought and on the right side what I believed was right for him. I ask him which plan looks better now…and he always points to the one on the right.” None of this can happen, Fakharzadeh told his audience, unless the person in question becomes a client first.
  5. Never give up. A consistent theme in everything Fakharzadeh spoke about was his persistence. “Whenever there is a problem,” he said, “I sit down and create a solution. There’s always a solution.”
  6. Talk “nonsense.” That’s what Fakharzadeh calls his delightful way of engaging people in conversation. “If I’m going up in an elevator and I push 4, and the other man pushes 8, I say, ‘You must be twice as good as me.’ When he asks me why, I tell him 8 is twice as good as 4.” Fakharzadeh explained that it makes people feel good when you’re having fun.

As further proof that Fakharzadeh walks his talk, he invited me to spend an afternoon at his office to pick his brain, bought us lunch at his favorite Chinese restaurant — and asked for nothing in return.

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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet. For more information, go to


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