10 W. Clement Stone Quotes You’ll Want to Bookmark

Most insurance agents know the name of W. Clement Stone. The legendary insurance salesman made a name for himself by parlaying a mere $100 in savings “into an insurance empire that financed millions of dollars of contributions to the campaigns of Richard M. Nixon and hundreds of millions to charities,” the New York Times noted in its 2002 obituary. Clement died at the age of 100 but not before turning his mother’s small insurance agency — she the manager, he the salesman — into a force within the industry. At just 17 years old, he built the Combined Insurance Company of America (a company providing accident and health insurance coverage) and in a little more than a decade, he had over 1,000 agents selling insurance for him across the United States. Along the way he left us some great bits of wisdom. Here are our 10 favorites.


10. Every great man, every successful man, no matter what the field of endeavor, has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.

A personal favorite, this reminds us that failure is not a sign you should give up. It’s an opportunity to correct the ship and find your path.


9. Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it’s right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.

This quote reminds us that some things are not worth the short-term gains they may bring. Don’t take shortcuts. Do things the right way, and you’ll never have to look over your shoulder.


8. Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.

(Of course, you do want to put thought into your actions, but until you do, those thoughts are pretty worthless.)


7. Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep trying.

A reminder here that success is not a stopping point. Like a garden, there must be upkeep.


6. There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. 

This and the next quote from Clement are something that every insurance agent needs to hear.


5. Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman — not the attitude of the prospect.

Attitude can literally make or break your business. While it can be difficult to keep a positive attitude when whatever you’re trying doesn’t work, slow down before you lose your cool. You may just find that a negative attitude has crept up on you and poisoned the proverbial well.


4. You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?

This quote can be extrapolated into the decision-making process when it comes to deciding between an established agency or going your own path. What brings out the best in you, personally and professionally? Gravitate towards it.


3. Everyone who achieves success in a great venture, solves each problem as they came to it. They helped themselves. And they were helped through powers known and unknown to them at the time they set out on their voyage. They keep going regardless of the obstacles they met.

Persistency. You will lose along the way. How will you respond?


2. Big doors swing on little hinges.

Love this quote because it shows that you can still accomplish great things even if you think you’re “not big enough” to compete. This is especially true in the 21st Century where technology has given us the tools to reach as many as a major company would at minimal cost.


1. To every disadvantage there is a corresponding advantage.

Last but not least, this quote well represents the reality that losses are only losses if you learn nothing from them. Before you spiral down the staircase of defeat, pause and reflect. What are some lessons you can learn? Today’s lessons are tomorrow’s victories.


In Summary

As you continue on your path as an insurance agent, try to remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Men like W. Clement Stone have given us a century of wisdom that is as relevant today as it’s ever been.

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