Helping Talented Agents Close More Sales


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Ulysses S. Grant & Responsibility

I recently finished a book about the Civil War. Ulysses Grant, a West Point graduate who resigned from the army in 1854, stood out to me. For seven years after his resignation until the start of the Civil War, his family lived in poverty.


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Hershey Chocolates

We have all heard of Hershey Chocolates, but few know the story of its founder, Milton S. Hershey.

Hershey was apprenticed to a candy maker but decided to leave to start his own store in Philadelphia, which failed after a few years. From there, he went to Denver and learned to make caramel, and after that, moved to Chicago, New Orleans, and New York, opening and closing one candy store after another.

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At a presentation I recently attended, the speaker invited a woman from the audience to come up on stage. He said, “We're going to role play that we are out on a date.” The speaker went on to say, "It's great to be with you, and I'm in love with you. Do you want to live on the beach or in the city? What should we name our children?"

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Prior to COVID, my wife and I walked into a Starbucks on a Saturday night around 9:00 pm. They had such a busy day; they were sold out of the drinks we wanted.

It made me think, why do customers go to Starbucks? What makes them different from competitors like Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's McCafé, and the zillion others?

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Boston Beer Company - Samuel Adams Beer

Jim Koch was a consultant with Boston Consulting Group making great money.

He liked being a consultant but didn’t love it, and he knew he didn’t want to be a consultant for the rest of his life. Koch realized that the rest of your life starts tomorrow.

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Mark Cuban - The Best Advice He Ever Received

Shark Tank is one of my favorite TV shows. One of my favorite sharks is Mark Cuban. Cuban is a self-made billionaire who owns the Dallas Mavericks. His estimated net worth is over $4 billion.

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Bunker Hill

Don't count your chickens until they're hatched.

I have always wanted to visit Bunker Hill (the battle took place on what is now known as Breed’s Hill). There are 294 steps to the top of the monument. You get a great workout and a great view of Boston.


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Kentucky Fried Chicken and Sales

Sales and KFC, what's Ken thinking now? He must love KFC. The answer is no. I've only been in a KFC once in the last 15 years.

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Wake Up Call

There’s a story about a lion and gazelle. It applies perfectly to what we do, especially those of us who sell insurance.

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Are Sales Contingent on the Attitude of the Salesperson or the Prospect

W. Clement Stone was a successful entrepreneur and a great salesperson. Starting with $100 in 1920, he built Combined Insurance into a billion-dollar company by the late 1970s. Stone believed that sales were determined by the attitude of the salesperson, not the prospect.
What do you think – do you agree or disagree?

I have to admit, for several years, I struggled with that question.

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The Power Of A Definite Purpose

Dr. Gunsaulus was Pastor of a small church by the Chicago Stockyards in the 1890s.

He had an idea to start a new kind of school — a technical school. Students would be in the classroom half the day, and the other half would be with businesses applying what they had learned.

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Lessons From Brooks Brothers

A couple of years ago, I walked into a Brooks Brothers Outlet Store. It is the only Brooks Brothers in Nebraska. I was thinking about a new suit but only looking at that point.

The manager, Gino, greeted me. I told him that I was thinking about a suit. He asked me a series of questions: What did I do? How often did I wear a suit? What colors do I like? He had me try on a couple of suits and made sure that I looked great in them. As he asked me about shirts and ties to go with the suits, he was already putting together several combinations that complemented the suits I liked.

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Handling Objections - "I Want To Think It Over"

Have you ever heard the objection, "I want to think it over"? If you ever sold anything, I can guarantee you've heard that objection.

How do you respond when a prospect says, “I want to think it over?”

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Shakespeare and Life

Do you accept responsibility for your life and actions? Or do you blame others?

I was thinking of Shakespeare and his famous quote from Julius Caesar, "The fault is not in our stars, dear Brutus, but in ourselves."

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Is Your World Right?

A minister was trying to prepare a sermon, and his son was driving him crazy.

Then he had an idea. He picked up a magazine and found a map of the world. He tore it out and cut it into little pieces.

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The Strangest Secret

The Strangest Secret was recorded by Earl Nightingale in 1956. It was the first spoken record (remember vinyl?) to sell a million copies.

When I started in the insurance business, it was part of the training program, and it had a tremendous impact on a generation of salespeople in many industries.

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Would a High School Student Understand Your Presentation?

Ben Feldman is considered to be the greatest life insurance salesman ever. It wasn’t until I was writing my book, Sales Lessons from the Masters, that I began to understand the significance of his packages in his success.

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Lessons From Rocky Balboa

The Rocky series is one of the most successful franchises in movie history, and it has been one of my personal favorites. Just ask my sons, who I drug to the theater on Christmas Day to watch Rocky Balboa.

Very few people know the story behind Rocky. Sylvester Stallone wanted to be an actor and make movies. He experienced rejection after rejection. They told him he was too ugly, and the only parts he could hope to get were playing a thug.

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Are You An Inverse Paranoid?

When I was writing Sales Lessons from the Masters, I interviewed Bob Boyajian. Bob worked with W. Clement Stone for over 30 years.

In our discussion, Bob mentioned that Stone saw himself as inverse paranoid. Instead of seeing the world plotting to do him evil, Stone believed the world was plotting to do him good.

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Advice for Beginners and Experts

Joe Gandolfo, who personally sold a billion dollars of life insurance in 1974, said the secret of success in selling life insurance is to see lots of people.

By seeing lots of people, getting the "nos and "yes's," you are sharpening your sales skills. Each no gets you closer to yes.

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Are You Amish?

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Advisors Super Conference and hear Dan Kennedy.

Dan is one of the highest-paid marketing consultants in the U.S. He has written the No BS series of more than 25 books.

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Do you want to increase your sales? What are you willing to do to make it happen?

For several years, I have been part of a marketing group, and one of our members was recently interviewed on a conference call. He buys cars from consumers and sells them to dealers at the auto auction. He sells 250 cars a week, while his competitors sell only 3 or 4.  How does he do it?

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The Best Investment Ever!

What’s the best investment? It’s not stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. The most important investment is YOU!

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Are You Pushy?

Recently, someone told me I was pushy.

She called me pushy because she was supposed to transfer a car title months ago and had never done it, and had regularly followed up with her.

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Polo Lessons

Tony Robbins tells a story about the first time he played polo. In polo, you ride a horse and hit a ball with a mallet.

Robbins didn't want to play polo, but he had a relentless friend, and he finally agreed to play.  He was on the polo field at 5:00 AM and hadn’t been on a horse since he was nine. Suddenly, the other players were thundering by on their horses and he was hooked! What started as a horrible experience for him turned into something he loved.

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Do You Hate Technology?

I am not a techie. Like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with technology, and it has provided my sons with some great opportunities to give old Dad a tough time.

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2019 was the 60th anniversary of Berry Gordy’s founding of the Motown record label. 

During the 1960s and 1970s, Motown was one of the most successful recording companies in the world, with artists including Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, and Martha and the Vandellas.

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Paul J. Meyer

Paul J. Meyer, was the founder of Success Motivation Institute and multi-millionaire in the insurance business. He built one of the largest insurance agencies in the early 1960s.

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Time To Make Donuts

You are probably wondering… Time to make donuts. Donuts???? 

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Wisdom Of The Ages

There was a Persian king who called his advisors together. He told them, “I want you to put together the wisdom of the ages for the common man.”

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Forget Everything Else About Selling

The thought occurred to me, we could forget everything about product details and selling skills in general if we remember to go into each sale asking our self-two questions.

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Are You Doing What You Know?

My roles include both being a coach and sales trainer. The key to being a great trainer and coach is getting people to do what they already know but aren’t doing consistently.

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What Do Good Sales People And Good Actors Have In Common?

They rehearse! Good actors rehearse their part. Good sales people rehearse (practice) their presentation.

W. Clement Stone understood this and believed this was an important factor in the success of his sales force. His representatives would continually practice their presentation on each other.

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Why Do Salespeople Fail?

I recently came across a study on the reasons salespeople fail:

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100-Year-Old Secret of Success

See the People!

You have to make calls. There is no easy way. With technology, you may not see the people in person. Your sales may be online using video, test or over the phone. However, the fact remains, you have to make calls. 

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Why Am I Here?

My name is Ken Smith. I have over 40 years of sales experience in the insurance industry and recently joined Messer Financial.

Five years ago, I wrote the book, “Sales Lessons from the Masters.” In this book, I share timeless sales principles from four of the greatest salespeople ever in the insurance industry.

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