July 23, 2013

When I was younger, I always wanted to be a college basketball player. Watching my sons grow up, I wanted them to be college basketball players as well.  I played for Millikin University, Jake played for Indiana State, and Michael played for Illinois State. I have always been a fan of the game, and learned to appreciate the teaching of athletics. Most of my life I have followed sports and have grown to respect and admire star athletes who stand out from the others. You know the top names in athletics: Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Peyton Manning, Phil Michelson, and Larry Bird all come to mind. They stand out like diamonds against black velvet compared to the other top athletes in their various sports.

Selling insurance is not a sport, but it has many similarities. I believe an agent that can push himself or herself to make those extra calls will be more successful. Just like some athletes work at their game harder than the other players. I look at certain agents and wonder how they always seem to make every marketing trip year in and year out. The answer is not found in a chemistry lab - it's good ol' fashioned perseverance! It's the agent who can make themselves work when they would rather be doing something else. The agent who never allows a bad appointment to become a bad day.

I look at Brent Chanley from Southern Indiana. He just keeps business flowing year in and year out, and keeps his policyholders happy to the very best of his abilities. I have never been on an appointment with Brent, but my bet is his policyholders love him. Brent would be my Michael Jordan.

I think of Fred Ulayyet and I see a salesman that has overcome huge odds to be an icon in the insurance business and I think of Ali who shocked the world by beating the very best. For several reasons Fred could find excuses in his ability to be successful but instead he overcomes any adversity and makes record setting sales, he is totally amazing!

One of the stars of Northern Illinois is Carol Rankin. She is a lady with total class, and keeps her performance at a high level, where at a glance you might not see the flash and sparkle, but much like Peyton Manning in football, Carol will put up numbers that indicate she is one of the very best.

Roger Bland reminds me of Phil Michelson in that he has so much talent, that when he decides to make a run on sales - just like Phil in golf - the competition will get left in the dust. I listen to Roger and I have no doubt that if he called on me that guy would be my agent. When he is done with his prospect, they know they have bought the right thing from the right agent.

My legend, Larry Bird, who could have found several reasons why he should not have played college basketball, let alone be one of the best to ever play in the NBA, reminds me of Mark Nyman. Mark is a country boy like Larry Bird, but when he is in business mode there is no doubt he is there to win. Mark can sell Medicare Supplements, Annuities, and anything else he desires to sell. Just like Bird could rebound, pass and of course shoot…. Mark is the complete Larry Bird of insurance sales.

There are several other all-star agents I have had the honor of meeting with, and they deserve to be honored. What makes some agents stone-cold killers in sales, while others with just as much talent find themselves barely getting by? My conclusion is the ability to make themselves work harder than others. Just like some athletes always find a way to win, the top agents always find a way to sell.