The Value of Study Groups in Selling
In my career in selling one of the greatest benefits was my membership of the million-dollar round table.
The MDRT as we refer to it, is the elite sales organisation for the insurance industry.
It was started in America over 75 years ago as a study group by a small number of insurance salesman who were good at their jobs but who wanted to get better.
They believed that by coming together periodically to share their expertise with their peers they could help each other develope their own skills.
Over the years the MDRT has grown into a global organisation, which still has its base in America but now has over 22,000 members in 59 countries around the world These members are all in various aspects of insurance sales and comprise the top 3% of the insurance sales people in their respective countries.
Each year members get together for an annual conference. Over 7000 men and women from all over the world attend the conference which is held at one of the major cities in America.
The conference itself is a great event each year and brings together not only the sharing of ideas and motivation from the best sales people in the business but it also brings to the platform the finest of people from all walks of life to share with members their success stories
I attended to my first conference which took place in Hawaii 29 years ago.
The impact of that first meeting had on me changed my life and I have attended the conference every year since.
I soon learned that the way to get most out of the conference was to participate in helping the organisation of the meeting, in that way I got to meet all the past leaders of the organisation and the principal speakers at the meetings.
One such person was named Ben Feldman.
His reputation was that of a giant in the industry, although he operated within a small community in a town in America his production ran into millions of dollars per annum.
He was one of the biggest insurance producers of all time.
When I learned that he was to be the principal speaker on the main platform of the conference I was excited, I wanted to see and meet this phenomena.
Because of the difference in his volume of production compared to mine I made assumptions about the kind of person he would be in terms of his physique personality and other personal qualities which I believed would be vastly superior to my own.
I waited with bated breath for my first sight of the man and the pearls of wisdom that he was going to share with us.
When the chairman of the conference ended the introduction of the speaker the curtains opened and Ben Feldman walked out on to centre stage.
When I say walked it was more of a slow shuffle he seemed to have a slight impediment to one of his legs.
I also noticed he was much smaller in physique than I had expected and when he began to speak he was very quietly spoken and he had a lisp.
He went on to teach us his method of selling, and it became obvious that success was based on dedicated service and the simple illustrations of how insurance would help his clients overcome their problems and achieve their financial goals.
The man and his presentation inspired me with the belief that I could do a lot better than I was doing
He made me feel ,through his own belief in the value of his product and in the simple way that he delivered it, that there was no unbridgeable gap between what he was doing and what I could do,
From that day on I decided to structure my sales presentation to be simple and dramatic and to deliver it to as many people as possible.
Every year I attend the conference and listen to my peers as they share their insights and experience and I have never failed to come away from the meeting exhilarated with the new knowledge and understanding not only of a better way to sell but also of a better way to live.
The moral of this is that selling can be lonely and difficult work.
Getting together in a group with your peers where you share your ideas and motive each other will be of great benefit to the members who are teaching and to the members who are listening.
You attend a meeting with one new idea to share with the other members, one or two of the other members have an idea to share with you.
You leave the meeting not only with your own idea but also with two or three new ones.
Every one is a winner.
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