Have you ever been kicked in the cajones? Either literally or figuratively, we have all been kicked in that most sensitive place from time-to-time. …
In late October of 2014 I received a call from my supervisor, at 6:30 a.m. while I was working out….. (By the way, getting a call from your boss before 7:00 am is NEVER good news…) He started by saying, “Guess what we need to talk about?” When I told him I had no idea, he said, “Upper management is very concerned about your blog and podcast.” His main purpose was to let me know that we had to attend a conference call that afternoon with HR. (Again, not great news… I have yet to be invited to a conference call with HR where good news was shared…)
When the appointed time came, the very nice HR specialist and my boss told me, in no uncertain terms, that the company was not happy with me and my blog/podcast. They felt that I was teaching competitors how to sell Voluntary Benefits. (Technically true as I don’t ask or care what company my subscribers work for. Success Is Voluntary is “carrier agnostic.”) They also told me that they hated the fact that SIV was “carrier agnostic.” They felt that as a corporate employee of their company that I should not acknowledge the competition or the things they did right. They pointed out the fact that I had featured a picture of a sales team from their main competitor listening to the Success Is Voluntary Podcast as part of their Monday Morning Meeting (Brandon Smith ROCKS!!!)
Later that day I received a “Final Notice” stating that continuing the blog/podcast would result in termination.
To say I was stunned would be a major understatement. Since I started SIV, my motives have been very pure. I just wanted to share my hard learned wisdom that I have been able to glean from almost 20 years worth of mistakes and experience. Proverbs says, “To whom much is give, much is required.” No one understand more than I do that I have been given more than I could have ever imagined. If I had settled for my wildest dreams, when I first started my sales career in 1998, I would have sold myself short. To say that I have been blessed is like saying that I am fond of cheese cake.
My motivation for starting Success Is Voluntary has always been (and remains) to help Voluntary Benefits sales people protect more people. I love the fact that in our industry, we get paid in direct proportion to the number of people we help.
Due to the Affordable Care Act and where it may end up under the current administration, coupled with the erosion of traditional Major Medical insurance, the VB industry is growing very rapidly. Unfortunately many carriers are quite frankly unable to keep up with the training demands that this is causing. It is my hope that by hanging out together as a community, we can help each other. Let’s face it, there is enough business out there for all of us and we need each other to do well. The more people that purchase Voluntary Benefits, the easier it is for us to sell Voluntary Benefits!
I’m not sure why some company’s senior management team can’t wrap their heads around this reality. Sure, I get not wanting to “give aid and comfort to the enemy” but we must not view the competition as the enemy. I have seen an unprecedented move by many carriers to band together and form strategic alliances especially in specific niches/products where they aren’t direct competitors. It is time for this spirit of cooperation to spread! Alas, some people and/or organizations can’t or won’t evolve into the 21st century.
I believe that there is not a single article, quote, or podcast on the Success Is Voluntary website that could possibly damage any carrier. The opposite is true. It has been very beneficial for thousands of agents. Our email subscriber list contains over 6000+ agents representing 18 carriers (that I know of.) I also know that my former employer and their agents benefited greatly from Success Is Voluntary thus impacting their financial well-being . In less than a year they were able to attract and recruit multiple people away from competitors due to the connection the recruit had with me through the blog and podcast. In 2014, the recruits I know of, directly contributed over $1,500,000 in new sales premium. That sounds like a nice win-win to me! Yet there I was, having to sit in silence under threat of termination.
For multiple reasons I decided to resign my corporate job November 29, 2017. The shackles have come off and I no longer have to be silent. I can’t wait to bring you, my faithful reader, the latest tips, tricks and techniques in the world of Voluntary Benefits selling. You deserve my very best effort! Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed I let you down by not standing up for you sooner. I hope you will forgive my absence and know that I can’t wait to get back at it..
This is what you can expect from SIV. I am committed to bring you:
◆ A new blog post every Monday to set the tone for your week.
◆ A new Podcast every week every Wednesday to bring you ideas from some of the brightest people on the planet.
◆ A quick newsletter on Fridays containing hyperlinks to the best things I have read, watched or listen to that week as it pertains to sales, leadership, and personal productivity.
◆ You will also find guest posts by some of the people I admire most..
Could you do me a HUGE favor? I would be forever thankful to you if you would forward this post to every sales person you know.
That’s it for today. I have to get to work for you. As America’s first man in space Alan Shepard famously said, (after multiple serious delays) “Why don’t you fix your little problem,” Shepard snapped, “and light this candle.” Well I’ve fixed my “little problem.” Consider the candle lit!
P.S. I almost forgot to mention that I am now available for coaching/mentoring programs. I really have missed working with many of you. It was always the highlight of my day! If this of interest to you, CLICK HERE to schedule a 30 minute free coaching session.
P.S.S. Keep a lookout for my new mastermind program. It won’t be for everyone. In fact, if you are interested you will have to apply. I want to make sure that the people joining this small community are absolutely dedicated to their own success and willing to encourage others.