Why Do Agents and Advisors Become Industry Speakers?

Discussion in 'General Insurance Agent Discussions' started by DHK, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. DHK
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    DHK Well-Known Member

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    Okay, most of you know that I listen to a lot of agents that speak on our industry, read a lot of books, and take as much in as makes sense.

    My question is this: WHY do agents and advisors speak at MDRT or for insurance company or industry gatherings?

    First, MDRT doesn't pay you unless you're outside the industry. It's a great accolade to put on your list of 'speaking credentials', but that's about it... oh and about $1,000.

    How to Become a Million Dollar Roundtable Speaker MDRT

    Second, I can totally see it if you're SELLING SOMETHING (books, tapes, coaching, selling systems, etc.). John Savage wrote books, but it's not like he charged a fortune for them. So did Ben Feldman. Van Mueller has produced low cost newsletters of articles and CD training... but it's not like it's a major business for him (I would think). But if you sell them by the 1000's... it can be very lucrative. Tom Hegna has lots of tools that he sells to agents as well as will speak as a guest speaker for agents who do seminars.

    Third, I could see it if you're RECRUITING people. Speaking at MDRT or other venues could elevate you if you're recruiting agents.

    Fourth, I can't imagine that clients would care if you're an industry authority by speaking at MDRT or writing industry-specific columns for publications (that are going the way of the Dodo).

    Fifth, for the amount of time it takes to put together an organized presentation to speak to agents, wouldn't that same skilled agent make just as much or more money just continuing to sell and do what they do?


    Now, I post on this forum because it helps to keep me sharp as I think about people's posts and how I would answer them.

    But any ideas on why agents would speak at MDRT, other industry conferences (like NAIFA), or insurance companies unless they have a vested interest in selling something else?

    What is their motivation? Is it just for the honor and privilege to speak? I'm just not sure I 'get it' - other than for the ulterior business motives.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  2. Justin Bilyj
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    Justin Bilyj Well-Known Member

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    Some people would do it because they felt it was an honor, maybe I'm just jaded...
     
  3. rousemark
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    rousemark Well-Known Member

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    1) Prestige
    2) Desire to serve
    3) Profit
     
  4. DHK
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    DHK Well-Known Member

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    I can agree with that. I also wouldn't mind teaching - maybe be a speaker for a local YAT group and spend a couple hours every month or so?

    But when I hear that Van Mueller spends MONTHS around the country/world speaking to agents... it makes me wonder how much he is being paid or what his other reasons are for doing it?

    It's not like he needs the money. I'm sure he's doing 7-figures a year just on his production. I suppose it's the desire of 16 years of failure before learning how to really "do" this business is part of the root reason of why he shares how he does what he does.

    I know Wayne Cotton was speaking and publishing as well as being a financial advisor... and both were doing very well! He essentially had two part-time businesses with great profitability.

    I bet there must be some substantial speaking fees out to be earned out there. Maybe not at the tune that certain past presidential candidates charged certain wall street firms... but probably substantial nonetheless.
     
  5. yelchevelle
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    yelchevelle Member

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    Not speaking from any kind of experience or knowledge, but I could see how a top producer would do it for the leverage or favor if they were speaking for a company. Companies are always tweaking their "products". I could see how your input with the home office might have a little more weight when you are basically their poster child.

    I have no idea what the benefit of doing this for the industry organizations, but maybe you think that it is good for the industry as a whole. 99.9% of the people that are in the crowd listening at these meetings will never repeat the actions of the people speaking on any kind of regular basis, so there is no real fear that they are going to take any business from them.

    The only other thing I can see them getting from the presentations would be layup joint work with other agents​ that don't know how to close a big case. I could see how that could be"easy" money for bigger producers.
     
  6. DHK
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    DHK Well-Known Member

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    I understand that's how Mehdi Fakharzadeh does a lot of his production these days - joint work with other agents across the country with business & estate planning. He's still a TOP producer... and still working in his 90's!!

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    Industry association speaking may be the prelude to insurance company speaking, since you'll have agents, managers, and others at companies who may want you to speak to their agents.

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    I also understand that some (many) agents bought a policy from Ben Feldman so he could be their agent and watch him sell a policy to them!
     
  7. Justin Bilyj
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    Justin Bilyj Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Louis, if you're not selling, you're serving. Sometimes you have to give back...
     
  8. ktmorgan
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    ktmorgan Well-Known Member

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    I saw David Mcknight, among others in Toronto at Forum 400. I believe he was doing it then to publicize his POZ books and system. Otherwise I would think that most do it as an honor to speak to your peers in the industry. I know that I would. The prestige factor of making it the level of speaking to the "best-of-the-best" in your peer group is enormous.

    The biggest problem that plagues most Insurance/Financial Advisors/Planners is cloak of obscurity. We all have to fight through the cacophony of noise to get our signal outbound to the consumer. Of course that's why we have websites, we advertise, we do PPC/Google Adwords, we do Banner Adds, we do Social Media, have Digital Marketing campaigns, Seminars etc... Speaking at events is just another way to get the consumer, albeit indirectly. Just my dos centavos.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  9. VolAgent
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    VolAgent Well-Known Member

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    The random or infrequent speaking, probably just giving back. For someone who is consistently doing it and doing a lot of it, I am almost certain there is something in it for them.

    If a speaker is advocating a company or system that isn't his own, he is almost certainly getting paid to do so. He may be very subtle about it, but odds are there is money involved.

    Also, who is to say agents aren't reaching out to the speaker later and paying for consulting and coaching?

    Perhaps there really are agents willing to speak frequently for nothing more than a reimbursement of expenses, but I suspect they are in the minority.
     
  10. InsCommentary
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    InsCommentary Well-Known Member

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    I do a seminar called "Presentation Skills for the 'Unprofessional' Speaker." It's tips, tricks and techniques for people who don't make their living speaking but "public" speaking is part of their work product or a sideline avocation. The information can be useful for anything from sales presentations to speaking to the local Civitan club.

    I've been speaking "professionally" for close to 40 years, sometimes for a fee and other times for expenses only. That doesn't count the number of presentations I've done pro bono. I've spoken at the annual CPCU convention for many years...it's one way I give back to the Society and the industry. They do not pay honorariums nor cover expenses unless you're a keynoter (that's a speaker that has a book!).

    Here are some quotes from my seminar:

    “A good speech is the single most cost-effective marketing and public relations tool any organization can have.” - Joan Detz, How to Write & Give a Speech

    “Nothing I have learned about sales psychology, killer closes, or whatever has increased my effectiveness in selling as much as the fundamental steps I learned for preparing and delivering a speech.” - Wilson Harrel, sales consultant, speaker and author

    “The ability to speak is a shortcut to distinction. It puts a man in the limelight, raises him head and shoulders above the crowd, and the man who can speak acceptably is usually given credit for an ability all out of proportion to what he really possesses.” - Lowell Thomas (from “Speaking in Public” by Gill E. Wagner) www.linkedin.com/in/gillwagner

    When I do this for agent groups, I ask them how many of them can make 50 cold calls in less than 30 minutes. If you can speak compellingly to potential customers for 20 minutes at a luncheon, the potential revenue can be significant. Your performance and your track record as an in-demand speaker give you great credibility.
     
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