by John Paul Carinci
(Staten Island, NY)
by John Paul Carinci
(1998 article appeared in Kinder Files magazine)
Although it has been over twenty years, I can still remember my first year in the Insurance Business. It was the same year that I had the immense pleasure of meeting an extremely inspiring man named, Bob Richards.
My life Insurance career started with Chubb Colonial Life, on January 10, 1977. At age 21, I was by far the youngest Agent of my District office. The Insurance business was difficult for me in my first year. But somehow I made enough sales, on a pro-rata basis, to be invited to the company Sales Convention in May of 1977.
The company spring sales convention was held at Host Farm Pa. Although I had not been with the company from the start of the qualification period, I was still thrilled to be allowed to qualify, based on only my few months of sales production.
The most exciting part of the Sales Convention, for me, was the meeting, that featured the special guest speaker; Bob Richards. Bob Richards was the Olympic champion track star, from the 1950's, whose picture graced the front of the Wheaties cereal box for 14 years. Bob, amazingly, won two Olympic Gold Medals, and one Olympic Silver Medal, in the Pole Vault competition.
I can vividly remember, sitting in a large auditorium with the many other Agents, and Home Office personnel, waiting for the famous Bob Richards to speak.
As Bob Richards walked onto, and moved to center stage, he picked up a microphone and said; "Good Morning"! And with that, he abruptly put the microphone down on the floor, and moved it to the far side of the stage.
Despite the size of this large auditorium, this dynamic, energized, motivational speaker did not need a microphone. Without it, his voice easily boomed over and filled the entire room. I can not remember exactly, what he spoke about, but when his session was over, I was super charged with his electrified enthusiasm. So much so, that I just had to go up to this man, and shake his hand.
I waited on line for approximately ten minutes to speak to Bob Richards. After I thanked him for his fine seminar, we spoke briefly. Mr. Richards asked me what my position with Chubb Colonial life was, I answered, "oh I am just an Agent." With that Bob Richards said, "you must never, ever say that you are just an Agent, John, you are very important to this Company. John I want you to read a book as soon as you go home, all right?" "Of course Mr. Richards," was my response.
Bob Richards asked me to purchase, and read a book entitled; "Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude." It was a positive self-help book, written by Napolean Hill, and W. Clement Stone. The book is published by; Prentice Hall in 1960.
I was only 21 years old at the time, and not very successful. I was still very unsure whether the Insurance business would be a long term career for me.
Of course, the moment I got home, I ran out to the local book store and purchased "Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude." And a strange thing happened. I just couldn't put this book down. Chapter after chapter, revealed intriguing, and inspiring stories, of rags to riches, and failures that became tremendous successes. These actual stories and insights, into the personal encounters of various individuals, that magically transformed their lives into successes, was just what a 21 year old struggling salesman needed.
The rest is history. My attitude improved tremendously. My confidence was lifted to new heights. I realized for the first time, that I was not merely selling policies, but I was helping families by guaranteeing their financial future, and the future of their children.
I slowly and systematically became a self confident power house. Where nothing, nor no one, could put out the fire of enthusiasm that was burning inside of me.
Never looking back, and only moving ahead. Not caring at all about money, although I was earning more, and more, every passing week. My sales was pushing me right to the top of the Production Sales Report. Even though I had no interest in Sales Reports, and I was only concerned with helping more families to protect their future. I had managed to help myself, by helping others. It didn't even feel like work, to me, at this point.
From an Agent, I was promoted to a Sales Manager, in charge of a staff of Agents. Then from a Sales Manager, I was promoted to the District Manager. And at age 27, I now was the youngest District Manager ever, for Chubb Colonial Life, and running the entire Agency. As a District Manager, our Agency was always near the top of the company's sales charts of leading Agencies.
The personal insights of those great men, such as Henry Ford, Edison, Einstein, Fuller, and Milo C. Jones, of Jones Pork Sausages, encouraged and inspired me. It convinced me that I can be anything I truly desired. And even if I failed at something, I can transform any failure into a positive success, through a powerful concept I learned called; "Inspirational Dissatisfaction."
After 11 years of working my way up, and increasing my income substantially. The Company decided to close all their Career Agency offices. It was a business decision, directed at getting out of the Career agent part of the business.
Chubb Colonial fired all the District Managers, and Agents. They took back my company leased car, and gave us all our walking papers.
I could have easily followed most of the other Managers and Agents, and go to work for another major Insurance company, such as Prudential, or Metropolitan. But after giving 110% to Chubb Colonial. After passing up numerous Management job offers along the way, to stay with Chubb Life. Only to be terminated along with everyone else. I vowed never to let that happen again.
In 1987, after being terminated as District Manager. After losing all my Agents and General Agents, and finally left with no producers at all, and no office, I vowed to start over, once again.
My goal, my burning desire was to start my very own Agency. Somewhere where no one could ever fire me. Where I made the rules, and I picked the products and companies I chose to deal with.
It was a difficult journey, this new Agency. I was starting again from no income at all. For the first time in years, I had to start selling again for myself, after years of management. But I was consumed, once again I was fully committed, with this burning desire, for ultimate success.
Twenty four hours a day my mind was in a marketing phase. Either thoughts of marketing to prospects, new brokers, or prospective Insurance companies.
In my mind, there was no way that I could fail, the only question was how fast would I achieve all of my goals. Failure never entered my mind. Although the first year was very lean. With paid as earned commissions, it takes over a year to receive the full commissions, after a case is written.
Now over a decade later, as I look back, our Agency is doing extremely well. Each year we have increased the sales over the year before, by convincing percentages. Even though the particular products and companies have dramatically changed, due to industry changes. We to, just keep realigning, our marketing plan. Always with that same basic goal in mind. We must increase sales over the previous year, and we must share the wealth in the process.
It is not only the Agency that must reap the rewards, but we must also reward the Brokers that help us Achieve our goals. Always keeping in mind, that it is the Brokers that keeps our Agency in business.
We must cater to the broker, and we as an Agency must be different. After all, the Broker can place their business elsewhere. We must continually give them a reason to want to do their business with us.
Whether it be an advance commission, or maybe bending the commission percentage rules on a particular case. We must strive to, and stay unique and aggressive. Anyone can be the same. But if we can shock a Broker, by doing something wonderful and rewarding for them. Then they will very naturally encourage fellow Brokers, we don't know, to start using us. It really is that simple.
We must always attract new Brokers, because if we don't, just merely attrition alone will shrink our sale force. No matter how good we are, some Brokers dissolve back into the regular work place, for many different reasons. So I realized years ago, never to put all our eggs into one basket.
Talking with Bob Richards for three minutes, many years ago, is something I will never forget. It is truly amazing, how one person can change someone else's life, with just a little encouragement. Just change their attitude of mind, and you can change their entire life. We all have the ability to be much greater than we are. All we need is for someone to press the correct series of buttons.
Would I have been a success, without that magical meeting with Bob Richards, and absorbing the Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude book? I don't know. But I do know this, after learning about attitudes, after reading encounter, after encounter, of people changing their attitude and becoming extremely successful. After learning that; "one could alter their life, by altering their attitude of mind." It made it that much easier to become positive, to stay positive, and stay focused. Through all the ups and downs that life inevitably throws our way.
Thank you Bob Richards, for touching my life. I wonder just how many others you have touched. And how many of those, who have been touched, have in turn touched others.
I too will try to touch and encourage others in my life. As I feel that I have become a; "Success Through A Positive Mentor."
John Paul Carinci
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