This month marked the passing, at age 97, of Mehdi Fakharzadeh. Here’s a lightly updated version of a blog article that Sandy Schussel wrote about him about six years ago. The original version ran on a ThinkAdvisor sister publication website, LifeHealthPro, on Dec. 13, 2013.
Mehdi was one of the most successful insurance sales agents in history.
In his 90s, he was still taking on and servicing clients.
He achieved his success despite starting out with a severely limited grasp of the English language and American customs. He made it to the top of his industry and became famous throughout the world — with a following in over 40 countries. A Chinese admirer changed his own first name to Mehdi, and at least one other inspired insurance agent gave that name to his son.
At an Insurance Pro Shop workshop several years ago, I had the honor of being asked to speak alongside Mehdi and the renowned publicist, Wally Cato, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 74. Here are some of the lessons I learned from Master Mehdi that day:
1. Doing the right thing for your clients results in more business and referrals.
Mehdi did not attribute his success to any skill of his own — he believed it was his karmic reward for giving what he could to everyone he came into contact with. His belief in this regard, and how it humbled him, shined through him as he spoke.
2. Love what you do.
Mehdi told his audience that selling insurance was his hobby. He was 92 at the time and was proud to say that he was still getting up at 4 a.m., eager to start his work day — and didn’t stop until his wife called him to tell him to come home for dinner.
3. Be prepared to give them what they ask for, but always show them what you believe they should have.
Mehdi talked about how he increased the size of his sales, and helped clients at the same time, by presenting insurance policies at signing time for amounts greater than what he had previously discussed with them.
“They always try to buy less than they should,” he told his audience. “I present to them what they really should have, and often, they agree when they see it.”