CHAPTER 14: FEEDBACK ON 2001 MDRT ANNUAL MEETING HELD AT ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA
The 2001 MDRT Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California, has to rank as one of the best ever meetings. This was my 10th attendance at an MDRT Annual Meeting. What an experience! It is amazing how MDRT are able to pull out all the stops to deliver a program of such inspiration, magnitude and splendour.
7,194 delegates attended what amounted to the largest ever MDRT attendance at an Annual Meeting up to that time. Of these, 2 500 were First-Time attendees – another record. Also, for the 1st time in MDRT history, non-American delegates were in the majority.
I shall briefly summarize a few of the Main Platform presentations:
Tony Gordon, presiding MDRT President shared with delegates how it took him 8 years to get to MDRT – he had a mediocre first few years. “Secrets” of Success: BGO = Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious. He received this profound piece of advice from an Italian friend Antonio, who restores buildings in Italy: “I never worry about business. I only worry about doing the job well. If I do the job well, I’ll never have to worry about business.”
Tony stated that our expertise and great strength is in management of relationships of trust. The more newspapers write about our business, the more we write business. We have the unique ability to create & maintain relationships. Clients don’t buy because they understand…they buy because they are understood. Find people who have money now or will have money in the future. The way we value ourselves is how much business we will write. Our success begins with the value we place on what we do. No one will place a higher value on us that we ourselves. Most important thing in life is not what we achieve in business but the love we give to our family and fellow man.
Andy Lord, incoming Top of the Table (TOT) Chair: Million Dollar Conference Question: “How do you get in front of new people?” Difference between TOT and MDRT = number of new qualified prospects seen each week. How do we get new people in the door? He shared 8 basic prospecting strategies, including, Cold Calling, Direct Mail, Referrals, Seminars, etc. He was doing 350-400 lives a year – hard work..exhausting. Realized BGO – Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious:
- “Rich people have more money than poor people”
- “Older people have more money than young people”
- “Rich insurance agents have more money than poor insurance agents”
- “TOT members have 6 x more appointments than MDRT members”
Andy only does seminars. We must pick a strategy that works for us…work hard and we will benefit.
Sales Idea: Sales process is left brain thinking. Decision is right brain. Moves client from left to right. Tony makes a cheque for $1Mil to IRS – slides across table: “Mr. Prospect & Mrs. Prospect, this is the cheque your children will have to write to IRS when you are gone.” Then he reaches out & takes cheque out of their hands. “I’ll make sure your children will NOT have to write out that cheque.” Life Insurance = greatest vehicle on planet to pass assets from one generation to another.
RECOMMENDED APPROACH TO FRIENDS AND CLOSE ASSOCIATES:
“I have no reason to expect you to do business with me because we are friends/belong to the same charitable organisation/etc. BUT I did’nt think you would respect me if I did’nt ask. Because of the nature of the business I’m in, I’d rather call on you three years too early than one day too late. Would you have any objection to getting together with me on a professional basis?”
There are prospects all around – make no assumptions.
Frank Miles - a professional variety comedian, with numerous TV & Las Vagas credits gave a great presentation. True courage , he came to realize, is not in facing death, true courage is facing life. He came onto the stage juggling knives – he siad one has to focus on the handles – not the blades. Was very afraid of people – would not even ask time.
Every fear has a handle. We don’t make mistakes…we spend mistakes…by learning.
There is no best choice. We don’t know how everything works out in end – up to higher power.
Was in hand-gliding accident. More afraid of living than dying. Hand glided without training … what the heck – flew & crashed… 2 hrs from hospital – died in emergency room - was revived by emergency room doctors. Reason brought back — uninsured. Doesn’t know why he was given a 2nd chance.
Frank got Brian Ashe to lie flat on his back on the stage. Took his watch….juggled bowling ball, the watch & ping pong ball. Dropped ball deliberately close to Brian once. Continued juggling. Perspective. Brian did not worry about his watch, etc. He got perspective.
On June 8, 1972 a photograph of a nine-year old fleeing a napalm strike in South Vietnam startled the editors of newspapers around around the world. It was prominently shown on the front pages, accompanied by a dramatic and unfolding historic story. That girl was Kim Phuc…who recounted her story from the Main Platform.
Her house was destroyed by a napalm bomb. Temperatures reached 800C. She was taken to hospital and left to die. Fortunately, her father got help and took her to the Burn Clinic in Hanoi (then Saigon). She was in excruciating pain all the time, often passing out and remained in hospital for 14 months, undergoing seventeen operations for 4th degree burns on half her body. She recounted that her biggest fear was never being loved or being able to have a baby. She really wanted to become doctor, but the authorities cut short her studies. She was monitored 24 hours per day and reached a low point in her life. Kim married in 1992. She later defected to Canada, with her two sons and her mum & dad in Toronto – all were at the MDRT Annual Meeting.
She stated that forgiveness is an important step towards peace and quoted Luke 6.27-28 “Love your enemies.” She found it impossible to forgive – too much pain, scar and asked of herself, “How can I love? She asked God to help her forgive and finally she did. Prior to that she was filled with hatred and anger…God’s love solved that. She stated that while Napalm is very powerful, faith & forgiveness are much more so. At the 1996 Memorial she met the pilot who coordinated the bombings that nearly killed her and personally forgave him – we were shown a video of the touching encounter.
“My life should show you that forgiveness more powerful than any weapon of war.”
She forgave all people who caused her suffering. Will heal all those close to you, most importantly yourself.
Recently founded the Kim Foundation to help child victims of war around world.
Ronan Tynan, of Ireland, had both legs amputated: His story is an example of dogged perseverence in the face of insurmountable obstacles.
He came onto the Main Platform singing in spectacular fashion. He credits his success to the belief of others in him. He enjoyed the love of family & friends. His father kept encouraging him by repeating, “you’re great.” You will see in yourself what others see in you – an inner strength waiting to be harnassed. He looked at what he had instead of what he wanted. He cautioned that if we focus too much on what we want, we will feel very dissatisfied most of the time. He advised us to focus on building our physical, mental and spiritual strengths.
He dared to dream of riding in the Grand National – did not have horse large enough to carry his weight. She shared some important lessons:
- Don’t be slow in using & accepting encouragement – no idea of benefits.
- Focus on endless possibilities. He now revels in the fact that his physical challenges made him take risks.
- If we focus more on what we have in life, we will get so much more.
- Life is driven from the inside.
- If you focus on being happy, it seeps out and people gravitate towards you…inner peace.
- Concentrate on the task at hand – give it your best…100%.
Learned to dance while training for discus. Had not only the will to win, but will to prepare to win. Not just enough to prepare…must believe in your goal with heart & soul.
Between 1981 & 1984 Ronan amassed 18 gold medals and 14 world records in international Track and Field events. While studying at the National College of Physical Education, as a medical student, he began to take voice lessons—his natural talent shone through. In 1996 Ronan was invited to be part of the famous Pavarotti School. His rapid rise to prominence led Sony Music offering him a recording deal.
Bruce Etherington spoke on the topic “From Acorns to Oak trees.” Bruce was a Charter member of Top of the Table and qualified every single year of its existence. He states that the most important question you can ever ask clients is the Three-Year question:
“Mr Client, if we were sitting here 3 years from today – June 27, 2004 – what would have happened over the previous three years in your business & personal life for you to believe you achieved good/excellent progress?”
Bruce gets a 100% positive response – 98% closure rate. Response times range from 1 – 59 minutes. This question allows clients to find their passion.
Bruce drew an analogy with golf to make a powerful point. The average golfer, over 18 holes, uses the Driver 14% of time and the Putter 35-50% of time. However, most training time is spent on the driving range, NOT putting. This is wrong. The question is, “Where are you allocating most of your time in this business?”
Bruce closed his powerful presentation with an acronym: S W E A T.
- Sight – where are yours? Focus on four areas of life.
- Work – Put great effort in what you do.
- Enthusiasm – Comes from Greek “En Theos”- “The God Within.”
- Attitude – Attitude NOT aptitude determines your altitude
- Tenacity – Never, Never, Never…….Give Up.
The next speaker, Jim Rogers qualified for Top of the Table 20 consecutive years. He was very involved in Industry Associations, spending only two days in office, with three days contributing to industry.
His lessons to delegates:
- Ensure business activity has purpose/meaning.
- Develop a daily work routine – continually refine till 2nd nature
- Always use a meeting agenda
- Delegate. Do what you do best, delegate rest – what will market pay to have that done?
- Specialize – business is becoming more & more complex. Determine what part of business you have a passion for. Get assistance around this. Leading producers specialize in niche markets.
- Maintain a consistant professional image
- Be a professional advisor. Be on same side as client in solving his/her problem.
- Build trust
- Be transparent – complete disclosure, include alternative recommendation.
- Always say ‘thank you.’
Tony Christiansen was run over by a train at age 9, losing both his legs. He was rushed to hospital. He wanted to scratch his foot…none there. He came onto the stage in a wheelchair. Then proceeded to climb up a scaffolding and sat on piece of plank.
He learned to swim. After 5 months, he swam a mile. He then thought of participating in the Olympics and was introduced to the disabled sports movement. This became a reality whenhe was part of the 1980 Paralympics – in the final of the 100m breaststroke. He said it’s all about attitude. Many people are far worse off than he is.
He wanted to work. Applied to sign writing company, who initially did not want to hire him. Eventually he got in – then bought the company, owned it for 10 years, and sold it in 1999 for millions of dollars. He says we judge people – put them in boxes and label them ‘handicapped’. He advised us to:
- Share passion/beliefs.
- Believe success will come to everyone.
- One never fails – learn from experience.
- Be the best we can be.
- Its not what happens to you, its what you do about it.
- Life’s not easy nor fair.
- Don’t lose dreams – don’t let people take away dreams.
- It’s not what I drive, it’s what drives me!
Tony is currently one of Australia’s leading inspirational/motivational speakers. He is a successful businessman and best selling author, a qualified lifeguard, Olympic Gold Medalist in shotput, discus & javelin and a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He is in constant demand as a keynote speaker. Tony leaves his audiences with insight of what can be achieved with determination, belief and a burning desire to succeed and accept the challenges of life.
Michael Gelb stated that Leonardo Da Vinci was history’s greatest genius. He shared 7 principles for thinking like Leonardo Da Vinci:
- Curiosita – curiosity
- Dimonstrazione – demonstration – question everything, become original thinker
- Sensasione – sensation. Cross reference senses. Be sharp.
- Sfumato – fumes, like ‘going up in smoke.’ Mysterious quality.
- Arte/Scienza – Art/Science. Study science of art, and art of science. Use left and right brain.
- Corporalita – balance body & mind. Learn to preserve own health. Avoid grievious bodily harm and keep mind cheerful. Get moderate exercise.
- Connessione – connection. As you search for truth & beauty, realize everything connects with everything else.
Businesses usually spend weeks setting up a vision/mission statement. Real Question: “How much time do YOU spend on your vision/mission and strategy for living them with passion?” Remember the most important connection is with a Higher Power. Spend lots of time writing down your vision/mission. This will be the greatest investment you can make in your life.
Ian Percy is rated as one of the Top 21 Speakers of the 20st Century. Speaks & consults to corporations around world, helping them to new levels of purpose & passion. JHe is the author of numerous best selling books, incl “The Seven Secrets to a life of Meaning.”
He states that 90-95% of people live, work & die not knowing why they were put on this earth. Life should be full of joy, purpose, meaning & leaving a legacy. Quest for meaning is the driving force, inner purpose. How do we find this meaning?He listed six things to achieve real purpose/meaning in life i.e. Stages of our inner journey:
- INNOCENCE: As a kid – everybody loves me. Mum feeds me today & tomorrow. In child’s eye, we, as parents, are God. How long does this innocence last? Till 1st break at school, when some child teased/beat up. Response: “Learn to look out for self.” Innocence begins to die.
- INDEPENDENCE: separate self. No one to trust. We find ways to distinguish ourself from everyone else. Then to find self.
- INSTITUTION: Four major: Family; School; Work; Religion. Someone can reward/punish behaviour. Tough times – school, work e.g. “You will do Maths”—“But I like music” “Sit down – do maths” Must fit in & not rock boat. Tension begins brewing.
- IRRITATION: Restless. Don’t know what’s wrong. “I don’t fit, I’m angry, irritated; I’m not doing the right thing; Why am I doing this? May be a successful businessman, worth millions”. Questions:“Now what?” “Why am I doing this?” Restlessness = divine source of energy = destiny calling you. What angers/frustrates you about world – don’t run away from it, run towards it. Nothing happens if you don’t get angry. We have lights because Edison was fed up with working in the dark. What are you angry about? I’m angry that 90-95% will never know why we are here. What angers you? E.g. a family left without means because you did not insure breadwinner? Business collapse? Someone disabled – no income? Change world.
- INSIGHT: Can reject what parents’ taught us – what do you want to do differently? What do you suggest? Irritation should always lead to insight.
- INTEGRATION: Feeling that life just makes sense – sense of alignment. Connection to all things.
You and I are somewhere in this sequence. Where are you? To find real meaning in life – look at what makes you restless. It virtually always has nothing to do with success/ income level/etc. There is a higher purpose for why you are here. ALWAYS REMEMBER, “You are never empty, you are never alone.”
Ian closed his presentation with a quote from Gary Zukov’s internationally acclaimed book, “The Seat of the Soul,” and I quote:
“When the deepest part of you becomes engaged in what you are doing, when your activities and actions become gratifying and purposeful, when what you do serves both yourself and others, when you do not tire within but seek the sweet satisfaction of your life and your work, you are doing what you were meant to be doing. The personality that is engaged in the work of the soul is buoyant. It is not burdened with negativity. It does not fear. It experiences purposefulness and meaning. It delights in its work and in others. It is fulfilled and fulfilling.”
I’d like to add another quote from the same book, the concluding paragraphs:
“Allow yourself to become aware of what you feel. Give yourself permission to choose the most positive behaviour in each moment. As you discharge negative energy consciously and set your intentions according to what your heart tells you, as you challenge and release your fears and choose to heal, you align your personality with your soul and move towards becoming a being of the Light, fully whole and empowered and inwardly secure. Humbleness, forgiveness, clarity and love, all the gifts of the spirit, take root and bloom, and you draw to yourself the Universe’s greatest gift: human beings with open hearts.
Rather than a soul in a body, become a body in a soul. Reach for your soul. Reach even farther. The impulse of creation and power authentic – the hourglass point between energy and matter: that is the seat of the soul. What does it mean to touch that place?
It is exciting to come of age spiritually.”