“Goals Aren’t Enough, You Need Goals Plus Deadlines”

10 Ben Feldman Quotes Every Insurance Agent Should Know

Ben Feldman — the insurance salesman, of course, not the actor — was born in 1912 and died in 1993. In his 81 years, he left behind a treasure trove of information that continues to benefit the modern insurance agent. During his career — which spanned around half a century — the Ohio native sold more than $1.8 billion in insurance policies for New York Life. He did it with these basic principles that every insurance agent — Life and otherwise — should know.


1. Life Insurance is the only tool that takes pennies and guarantees dollars.

Why Know It? This quote exemplifies the long-term benefits of a Life Insurance policy, but it’s also a principle that can be applied to any sector — homeowners especially!


2. Dont sell Life Insurance. Sell what Life Insurance can do.

Why Know It? A simple but effective breakdown of salesmanship, this quote reminds us to forget features and instead think of how the features make the client’s life easier.


3. Doing something costs something. Doing nothing costs something. And, quite often, doing nothing costs a lot more!

Why Know It? Because in insurance, you’re either building a business or getting left behind by competitors. There is no stationary position.


4. I rarely use the telephone because he may not want to see me. I have a better chance of seeing the man I want to see if I do go. Besides, switchboard girls and secretaries have become very good. They’ve learned to take you apart. ‘Who? Why? What for? What company?’ You don’t always get by. I seldom call on the phone. I’d rather go.

Why Know It? The technology may be a bit outdated in this quote, but the point is right on the mark. And that point is to try and build real relationships with customers so that their focus is on value and not price.


5. Goals aren’t enough. You need goals plus deadlines: goals big enough to get excited about and deadline to make you run. One isn’t much good without the other, but together they can be tremendous.

Why Know It? There is a certain degree of autonomy in the world of insurance. But with a boss not breathing down your neck every moment of the day, the need to succeed becomes more pressing. You have to motivate yourself to hit goals and bring in business. Deadlines and goals working in unison are the best way to do that.


6. You havent done anything wrong. You just havent done anything, and thats whats wrong.

Why Know It? Because in this profession, complacency kills.


7. The key to a sale in an interview, and the key to an interview is a disturbing question.

Why Know It? You have to get your prospect thinking about a life without insurance, and often times, there are just no ways to make that look appealing, particularly when the client needs insurance and doesn’t have it — as is often the case with a prospect.


8. If I dont buy it, I cant sell it.

Why Know It? Because the salesman, who believes in what he is selling, will be able to overcome most every obstacle that an insurance lead might put in their way.


9. The biggest asset you have is your earning capacity, and that depends entirely on your attitude.

Why Know It? Many insurance agents have folded under the pressure of unforeseen circumstances. It’s the agent, who can go with the flow and maintain control of his attitude that rises above inevitable adversities.


10. I do not sell Life Insurance. I sell money. I sell dollars for pennies apiece. My dollars cost 3 cents per dollar per year.

Why Know It? Customers have to see insurance as a no-brainer. This math gets them to do just that, and it’s 100% true.


In Summary

Insurance agents often have to stand on the shoulders of giants to get where they want to be, and there is none more giant than Ben Feldman. Which of these quotes resonated the most with you?

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