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Selling to Gen Y 10 |

The best free resource 12

|

Lessons from leaders 40

ROUND TABLE

the

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MILLION DOLLAR ROUND TABLE | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015

HOW STAFF’S HAPPINESS AFFECTS YOUR BOTTOM LINE

NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA JUNE 14 – 17, 2015 WWW.MDRT.ORG / 2015AM JOIN US IN NEW
NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA JUNE 14 – 17, 2015 WWW.MDRT.ORG / 2015AM JOIN US IN NEW

NEW ORLEANS

LOUISIANA

NEW ORLEANS LOUISIANA JUNE 14 – 17, 2015 WWW.MDRT.ORG / 2015AM JOIN US IN NEW ORLEANS

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SESSIONS AND A PLACE TO MEET, SHARE IDEAS AND LEARN. REGISTRATION AND HOUSING OPENS FEBRUARY 2015
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32

32 looking FORWARD Thinking in the future tense If we provide what each of you is

looking FORWARD

32 looking FORWARD Thinking in the future tense If we provide what each of you is

Thinking in the future tense

If we provide what each of you is looking for, we can retain and attract members, strengthening MDRT as a whole.

T

he more things change, the more they stay the same.” This well-worn proverb makes the observation that

even in the midst of turbulent change, what is real and true stays the same. But change is no longer gradual; it is constant and accelerating. MDRT members understand change, manage it and thrive within it. Likewise, the MDRT Executive Committee, as stewards of MDRT, focus on “thinking in the future tense.” We understand that, as a membership association, we must adapt, change and constantly strive to be ahead of the curve in value creation in order to thrive. Our members demand this and, given our stature within the financial services industry, they should expect nothing less. The challenge is adapting, without disrupting, that which we most cherish. We accomplish this by remaining aware of member needs and, from that awareness, creating unique experiences that benefit large member segments. What is valuable to some members may not be valuable to others. Recognizing that our members draw from different wells within MDRT is a key to our future. We are no longer homogeneous in the way we practice our profession. We serve different markets, with different products, under varying regulatory and tax regimes. Some of us are exclusively commission-based insurance advisors, others fee-based holistic financial planners, and others investment advisors and portfolio managers. Yet it is entirely possible to bring us together, under the banner of MDRT, with platforms built on the tradition of sharing and mutual support, to deliver precisely what our members need most.

support, to deliver precisely what our members need most. We are still evolving. Our focus on

We are still evolving. Our focus on the changing and differing needs of our global membership is central to our strategic vision and planning effort. Thinking in the future tense requires an ongoing commitment to asking the questions: What next? Now what? For whom? It isn’t enough to execute a flawless meeting or deliver a polished publication. We must create unique experiences that are relevant, timely and meaningful to broad member segments. I’d like to think that, if they could see us now, the 32 individuals who created MDRT almost 90 years ago would be proud of the organization we have become. Someone once said to me that MDRT was just a production club with great meetings, but I disagree. Our association is much more than a meeting; we are more than a certificate of membership. We are, collectively, The Premier Association of Financial Professionals.

The Premier Association of Financial Professionals. Mark J. Hanna, CLU, ChFC MDRT Second Vice President

Mark J. Hanna, CLU, ChFC MDRT Second Vice President

contents

ROUND THE TABLE | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015 | VOL 43, ISSUE 1

PRACTICE

8

IDEAS

10

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Despite their carefree reputation, many Gen Y prospects have money and need your help.

12

AN EASY WAY TO INCREASE SALES Some members say Life Happens has doubled theirs — and it’s free for MDRT members.

14

TIPS & TECHNOLOGY

16

USING LINKEDIN FOR REFERRALS Social media can help expand your prospect list.

18

THE POWER OF GIVING Why you should be an advocate of charitable giving with your clients.

20

‘I’M NOT RETIRING’ Retirement may not be the best option for all producers, Levy told attendees.

20

PEOPLE

22

IDEAS

24

IS YOUR STAFF HAPPY? Keeping employees engaged is the key to employee happiness and productivity.

28

MORE GUIDANCE Members in China fight against long-held beliefs.

30

LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER Baxter builds strong bonds in business with her dad.

32

CONCIERGE PLANNING Isaac provides wealth management with goal tracking and reassurance for busy clients.

34

SOMEONE TO TRUST Williams’ niche is transitions, and he helps individuals define and meet new financial goals.

37

Q&A Alan Craig Kifer, CFP, LUTCF

24
24
WEB EXTRAS www.mdrt.org
WEB EXTRAS
www.mdrt.org

n MDRT PODCAST

Check out the first episode about strategies for your business at www.mdrt.org/podcast.

n WEB EXCLUSIVE

To read more about financial professionals in China, visit www.roundthetable.org.

n APPLY ONLINE

To apply for 2015 MDRT membership easily, visit onlinemembership.mdrt.org.

40 “I’ve found that when clients pay a fee, they value the service a lot

40

“I’ve found that when clients pay a fee, they value the service a lot more.”

— Brad Isaac, Page 32

INSIDE MDRT

38

IDEAS

40

TOP OF THE TABLE ANNUAL MEETING Member panels mixed with new speakers adds variety.

45

YOUR MEETING, YOUR PACE The Annual Meeting’s new schedule and sessions mean a highly customizable experience for attendees.

48

MDRT FOUNDATION: BUILDING A PRICELESS BOND By participating in service projects, Hruby feels he receives more than he gives.

50

QUALIFY AS A 2015 MEMBER Here is what you need to know to become or stay a member.

54

YOU’RE APPROVED! Use MDRT’s online application for immediate results.

34

IN EVERY ISSUE

1

LOOKING FORWARD

4

WELCOME

6

IN THE NEWS/ IN MEMORIAM

55

TRUE TALES

56

LOOKING BACK

Selling to Gen Y 10 | The best free resource 12 | Lessons from leaders
Selling to Gen Y 10 |
The best free resource 12
|
Lessons from leaders 40
ROUND TABLE
the
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MILLION DOLLAR ROUND TABLE | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015
HOW STAFF’S HAPPINESS
AFFECTS YOUR BOTTOM LINE

ON THE COVER

Advice on keeping employees engaged and happy, which means increased productivity and a more successful practice.

COVER DESIGN BY MICHAEL DORICH

WELCOME

WELCOME

Connecting in a constantly changing world

W hen MDRT was founded in 1927, the

premise was simple: If you have an

idea and I have an idea, when we

share them, we each walk away with two ideas. The 32 men who met that year spent two hours sharing ideas during a Thursday afternoon at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. They found so much benefit in the meeting they de- cided then and there to form this organization. As MDRT’s history was built on idea sharing, the exchange of how-to information is an im-

MDRT members share ideas around the table in December 2014.

portant part of the magazine you’re holding. In each issue, the Practice section is full of how-to information, such as “Using LinkedIn for refer- rals.” The People section features your fellow members’ success stories, such as “Someone to trust,” about a member who works with indi- viduals in periods of transition. Both sections provide takeaways you can adapt to fit your own practice. Our Ideas sections, found on Pages 8, 22 and 38 in this issue, feature sales and practice management ideas we collected from current committee members. Those who serve on committees sit side by side at the round table at MDRT headquarters and swap their best ideas, much like the original members did at the 1927 meeting. I’ve been in the room to witness this. I’ve seen two members — sometimes from completely different markets — connect over a new idea, walking away with a better way to meet pros- pects, run their practice or close the sale. Though tax laws, legislation and products have changed substantially during the last 88 years, the purpose of this organization hasn’t. MDRT is about connecting one great producer with another, benefiting both. Similarly, the pur- pose of this magazine is to provide a platform for sharing those ideas. Let us know if you have an idea you’d like to share on these pages.

Thank you for reading,

you’d like to share on these pages. Thank you for reading, Kathryn Furtaw Keuneke, CAE Editor

Kathryn Furtaw Keuneke, CAE Editor in Chief Editor@mdrt.org

10
10
16
16

BRYCE SANDERS

ADAM STEVEN

discusses the biggest concerns of millennial clients in “The ele- phant in the room.” As president of Perceptive Business Solutions, Inc. in New Hope, Pennsyl- vania, Sanders provides high-net-worth client acquisition training to the field. He is the author of “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.” Contact him through his website: www.per ceptivebusiness.com.

BLUMBERG, CFP,

CLU explains how to use LinkedIn to develop relationships with current clients and new prospects in “Using LinkedIn for referrals.” Blumberg is a four-year MDRT member from Houston, Texas and part of the 2015 mentoring committee. Contact him at ablumberg@ chartyourwealth.com.

18
18

JOHN D. AAKRE,

CLU explains how to incorporate charitable giving into clients’ financial planning in “The power of giving.” Aakre is an 18-year MDRT member from Olympia, Washington, with five Court of the Table qualifications. Contact him at john .aakre@thrivent.com.

ROUND TABLE

the
the

OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MILLION DOLLAR ROUND TABLE

EDITOR IN CHIEF: Kathryn Furtaw Keuneke, CAE

MANAGING EDITOR: Liz DeCarlo

CONTENT EDITOR: Michael DePilla

CONTENT SPECIALIST: Abby Puchner

CONTENT SPECIALIST: Scott Rogers

ART DIRECTOR: Brandon Lane

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER : Stephen P. Stahr, CAE

STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT DIRECTOR:

Pamela Brown, CMP, CAE

MEDIA RELATIONS COORDINATOR: Jennifer Schimka

MDRT Executive Committee

PRESIDENT: Caroline A. Banks, APFS IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT: Michelle L. Hoesly, CLU, ChFC FIRST VICE PRESIDENT: Brian D. Heckert, CLU, ChFC SECOND VICE PRESIDENT: Mark J. Hanna, CLU, ChFC SECRETARY: James Douglas Pittman, CLU, CFP

To contact editorial office:

MAIL: MDRT, 325 West Touhy Avenue, Park Ridge, Illinois 60068 USA

PHONE: +1 847.692.6378 Fax: +1 847.518.8921

EMAIL: editor@mdrt.org

WEBSITE: www.roundthetable.org

Share your HOW TO CONTRIBUTE: ideas n SUBMIT an article topic or idea n VOLUNTEER
Share your
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE:
ideas
n
SUBMIT an article topic or idea
n
VOLUNTEER to serve as a source in
your area of expertise
You’re the expert!

Share what you know in

Round the Table — an easy

way to reach out to other

MDRT members.

n

SHARE a professional accomplishment

Send your ideas to editor@mdrt.org

for possible use in Round the Table.

See what we’ve published recently by

visiting www.roundthetable.org.

Round the Table (ISSN-0161-7125) is published bimonthly by the Million Dollar Round Table, 325 West Touhy Avenue, Park Ridge, Illinois 60068 USA. Subscription rate is included in MDRT mem- bership dues: $20 for nonmembers in the United States, $30 for nonmembers outside the United States. Periodicals postage paid at Park Ridge, Illinois, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER, send address corrections to Round the Table, 325 West Touhy Avenue, Park Ridge, Illinois 60068 USA.

© 2015 Million Dollar Round Table. Round the Table is published for the use of Million Dollar Round Table members. All rights reserved. Round the Table is not to be used or loaned for any commercial purposes or other causes, nor is any portion of it to be reproduced without the express, prior written permission of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Round the Table is provided as an educational and informational service by the Million Dollar Round Table. The Million Dollar Round Table does not guarantee the accuracy of tax and legal information and is not liable for errors or omissions. You are urged to check with tax and legal professionals in your state, province or country. MDRT also suggests you consult local insurance and security regulations and compliance departments, pertaining to the use of any new sales material with clients.

MDRT®, Million Dollar Round Table®, Top of the Table®, Court of the Table®, MDRT Foundation®, The Premier Association of Financial Professionals®, ConneXion Zone® and Global Gift Fund® are all registered trademarks of the Million Dollar Round Table®.

Round the Table is printed in USA with soy-based inks on elemental chlorine-free paper.

the Million Dollar Round Table®. Round the Table is printed in USA with soy-based inks on

IN

the
the

NEWS

member news | awards | calendar | in memoriam

MDRT CALENDAR Mark your calendar to include these important dates: February 2 MDRT Annual Meeting
MDRT
CALENDAR
Mark your calendar
to include these
important dates:
February 2
MDRT Annual Meeting
registration and
housing open
March 1
Completed MDRT
membership application
must be submitted
online or mailed to
MDRT, postmarked on
or before this date,
to avoid $200
additional fee
April 18
MDRT Annual
Meeting early
registration deadline
June 14
MDRT Annual Meeting
begins in
New Orleans, Louisiana
Oct. 7
MDRT Top of the
Table Annual Meeting
begins in
Naples, Florida
Giving back Working on Alzheimer’s Education Kelly M. Savage , a registered advocate representative for
Giving back Working on Alzheimer’s Education Kelly M. Savage , a registered advocate representative for
Giving back Working on Alzheimer’s Education Kelly M. Savage , a registered advocate representative for

Giving back

Working on Alzheimer’s

Education

Kelly M. Savage, a registered

advocate

representative for Savage and Associates, spent her high school years running up and down the basketball court at Notre Dame Acade- my in Toledo, Ohio. So when the school needed to update its gym floor, Savage, a 21-year MDRT member, was ready to help. The gift to refinish the gym floor, which has both the school’s and her company’s name, was Savage’s way of showing her appreciation for both, Savage told the school’s alumni news. Savage has also served on the school’s Board of Trustees and the Athletic Advisory Committee.

Simon John Gibson, Dip PFS,

Joel A. Shapiro, MSFS, CLU,

a 15-year member of MDRT, has been named a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK in recognition of his excep- tional support. Gibson, of Newmarket, England, began supporting the dementia research charity after his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “Fol- lowing my father’s diagno- sis, I am acutely aware of the need for more funding for research into this devastat- ing disease,” Gibson said. Gibson has raised more than $30,000, including a $10,000 grant from the MDRT Foun- dation in 2012.

a 46-year MDRT member from New York, New York, received The American College’s 2014 President’s Award. Shapiro has served on The American College Foundation Board of Di- rectors since 2005. He has been a dedicated volunteer, serving most recently as chairman of the Nominating Committee. During his many years of involvement, he has given time and resources to support the college’s mis- sion. The President’s Award highlights the importance of leadership and stewardship in advancement.

IN MEMORIAM

Lee B. Canfield, CLU, ChFC Chicago, Illinois Age: 89, MDRT: 54 years

Dominick V. Cianciotti, CLU, MSFS Northport, New York Age: 82, MDRT: 54 years

Richard J. Duvall Monroe, Michigan Age: 84, MDRT: 5 years

Alan L. Franklin, CLU, ChFC Lake Worth, Florida Age: 67, MDRT: 38 years

Joseph R. Schofield, CLU Cinnaminson, New Jersey Age: 82, MDRT: 41 years

Michael V. Sheehan, QFA Cork, Ireland Age: 65, MDRT: 17 years

Making a Innovative Circle of Breaking glass ceilings difference thinking Excellence Sherry K. Barton, CLU
Making a Innovative Circle of Breaking glass ceilings difference thinking Excellence Sherry K. Barton, CLU
Making a Innovative Circle of Breaking glass ceilings difference thinking Excellence Sherry K. Barton, CLU
Making a Innovative Circle of Breaking glass ceilings difference thinking Excellence Sherry K. Barton, CLU

Making a

Innovative

Circle of

Breaking glass ceilings

difference

thinking

Excellence

Sherry K. Barton, CLU, a 26-

Mark S. Gaunya, GBA, an

Leasha West, MSFS, ChFC,

Juli McNeely, a seven-year MDRT member from Spencer, Wisconsin, became the first female president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Ad- visors (NAIFA) in September 2014. McNeely served on NAIFA’s Committee on Asso- ciations for five years, was a trustee for two years, and has participated in many other committees and task forces. McNeely plans to focus on growing the organization’s membership.

year MDRT member from Oklahoma City, was re- cently chosen as one of the 2014 Journal Record’s “50 Women Making a Differ- ence” in Oklahoma. She was chosen for her dedication to family, commitment to her profession, and personal and professional contribu- tions to the community. As a three-time nominee, Barton was also one of seven wom- en inducted into the “Circle of Excellence.”

eight-year MDRT member from Methuen, Massachu- setts, has been named Most Innovative Broker by the Institute of Healthcare Con- sumerism (IHC). This award recognizes his contributions and leadership as an employ- ee benefits advisor. Gaunya is featured in IHC’s annual Healthcare Consumerism Superstars Awards issue, which highlights leaders in the health and employee benefits industry.

a one-year MDRT member from Portage, Michigan, was recognized for her achieve- ments by the Members of Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS). The Circle of Excellence designation recognizes WIFS members who achieve significant income levels in the insurance and financial services industry. This recognition is based on production from the previ- ous year.

Master certification earned

from the previ- ous year. Master certification earned Austin Hurley, FMP , building services super- visor

Austin Hurley, FMP, building services super- visor at MDRT headquarters in Park Ridge, Illinois, has earned his Master Certification in Mail Communications accreditation. Hurley, an MDRT employee for 30 years, is one of only 31 people in the U.S. to achieve this designation. Qualifying for the certification takes years of study and dedication. “Austin’s certification is an important milestone that exemplifies his commitment to excellence in his field,” said MDRT CEO Stephen P. Stahr, CAE . “His willingness to go

above and beyond is reflected in the out- standing service he provides to both mem- bers and staff.” “I’m very happy to receive this,” Hurley said. “This is something I’ve been working on since 2005.” Hurley was required to earn 10 management certificates, receive a rec- ommendation by the education committee and be certified by the MAILCOM Board of Directors. “It’s great how the Round Table supports and encourages lifelong learning,” Hurley said.

START PLANNING NOW When I meet with clients in the early stages of retirement planning

START PLANNING NOW

When I meet with clients in

the early stages of retirement

planning, I like to ask them

the following question: “If

someone gave you $10,000

to $50,000 to do something

fun within the next 10 years,

what would it be?” After

getting as much detail as

possible, I then ask, “Why

not make this a part of our

plan?”

Our final retirement accounts

might be segmented to:

1. Guaranteed long-term

monthly income

2. Guaranteed long-term

variable income

3. Monthly cash for the

next 48 months

4. Growth account to

replenish the cash

account

5. New sailboat (fun)

account

— John L. Gilfoil, CLU, CFP,

Springfield, Massachusetts,

21-year MDRT member

START HIGH

When discussing figures with a client , always frame the costs beforehand and “ski downhill.”

When discussing figures

with a client, always frame

the costs beforehand and

“ski downhill.” Have the

figure you wish to discuss,

but start by discussing a

higher figure or a high-

er-cost item beforehand,

so the figure you then

give is less than what they

have in their mind.

— David Braithwaite,

is less than what they have in their mind. — David Braithwaite, DipPFS , Sevenoaks, Kent,

DipPFS, Sevenoaks, Kent,

England, 6-year MDRT

member

DipPFS , Sevenoaks, Kent, England, 6-year MDRT member HELPING OTHERS Getting your clients involved in charity

HELPING OTHERS

Kent, England, 6-year MDRT member HELPING OTHERS Getting your clients involved in charity events can bene-

Getting your clients involved in charity events can bene-

fit everyone. We plan a community service project each

year and invite our clients, their friends and their fami-

lies. Examples have been Feed My Starving Children and

Humanitarian Service Project. All participants wear Favia

Group T-shirts while working. For those clients who can’t

join us, we ask for a donation to be made to the charity,

and we match it. We invite everyone out for dinner after

the volunteer session to enjoy time together in celebra-

tion of our work. If all goes well, you can get a vendor to

help offset costs! This is a great way to give back to the

community, socialize with your clients and their families,

and meet new prospects.

— Jo Ann Favia, CLU, ChFC,

Villa Park, Illinois, 25-year MDRT member “Without written, attainable goals, you will never know if
Villa Park, Illinois, 25-year MDRT member
“Without written,
attainable goals,
you will never know
if you have reached
them. Write it, track
it, achieve it!”
— John Benton Jr., CLTC,
Edison, New Jersey,
10-year MDRT member
— John Benton Jr., CLTC, Edison, New Jersey, 10-year MDRT member 8 ROUND the TABLE.ORG |

in

PRACTICE

in PRACTICE Selling to Gen Y 10 | Life Happens resources 12 | Tips & Technology

Selling to Gen Y 10 | Life Happens resources 12 | Tips & Technology 14 Using LinkedIn 16 | Charitable planning 18

14 Using LinkedIn 16 | Charitable planning 18 BOOMERANG KIDS 57% of Americans with adult children

BOOMERANG KIDS

57% of Americans with adult

children have at least 1 adult child living at home

— LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute,

2014

HELP WANTED

Only 13% of adults ages 18–29 have a financial advisor

— Northwestern Mutual Planning and

Progress study, 2014

IT COSTS HOW MUCH?

Those with no life insurance

think it’s 3 times more ex-

pensive than it actually is

— LIMRA and Life Happens, 2013

GEN X LAGS BEHIND

More millennials than Gen Xers have $2 million+ in assets

— Nielsen, 2014

PRACTICE

JOHN LUND/CORBIS

The elephant

in the room

Despite their carefree reputation, many Gen Y prospects have money and need your help.

BY BRYCE SANDERS

C an young people be good clients? Tradi- tionally, we look for wealthy, established people who have found their place in the

world. As we look for the 40-, 50- and 60-year- olds worried about retirement, are we ignoring the 80 million Americans we call Generation Y? Marketing firms love to segment the popu- lation. Generation Y is defined as people born between 1977 and 1995, aged 20 to 38. Ignoring a market of 80 million is like heading out to play 18 holes of golf and deciding to stop before the 14th hole. Do 20- and 30-year-olds have money? It de- pends on what they do for a living. They might be:

Technical experts — Engineers and scientists

make great money starting early in their careers. Credentialed professionals — In the 2013– 2014 academic year, U.S. colleges awarded 955,000 graduate and doctoral degrees. Uniformed services — Police officers and detec- tives in the U.S. number 780,000. About 345,000 people are employed as career firefighters. Medical personnel — Registered nursing is usually the most popular job for college grad- uates in major metropolitan areas, with almost 2.7 million across the U.S. and a median income greater than $66,000 a year.

Stereotyping is bad — segmentation is good

The Nielsen organization does great work. Orig- inally associated with rating the popularity of TV shows, they are a market research organi-

zation with impressive demographic research, often available free online. Nielsen owns Claritas, a market research

firm that has segmented the U.S. population into

58 segments based on personality. Let’s assume

Gen Y is represented by market segments ages

25 to 44. Out of 58 segments, seven define Gen Y:

n

n

n

n

n

n

n

Midlife Highlife

Financial Rookies

Online Living

Rural Roots

New Nests

Loan Rangers

City Strivers

The titles give a good idea what to expect in their profiles. Claritas also gives an idea about their asset and income levels, preferred invest- ment vehicles, hobbies, lifestyle and TV and read- ing habits. “You Are Where You Live” allows the user to enter a ZIP code and see the top five per- sonality types. If “Midlife Highlife” is the most successful Gen Y segment, researching where they live locally is a good start for your Gen Y marketing plan. Claritas sells more detailed levels of data; however, this free, introductory level is

quite useful. It’s easy to find. Go to Google and search: “Claritas you are where you live.”

What does Gen Y worry about?

Gen Y are stereotypically self-absorbed and en- joying life. But they have their worries, too. Here are three examples:

Underestimating the costs of raising a young family. As insurance professionals, we advise young parents that college is going to be a signif- icant expense. They often duck the issue or as- sume their parents will either ride to the rescue in 20 years or die beforehand and leave a sizable inheritance. They don’t see a need to save. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the cost of raising a child to age 17 at $245,340 — a number that doesn’t include college expenses. Gen Y can be pretty savvy about money. As their advisor, you can make a great case for establishing a college saving plan immediately. Give uncles and aunts who promise help down the road a place to put those funds today. In the meantime, Gen Y’s grandparents might be concerned about estate taxes. If they can gift $14,000 a year to several people tax free, this helps make it easy for them to contribute to future college costs.

Demonstrating fiscal responsibility to parents and grandparents. Gen Y often gets bad press. They are considered slackers or entitled. They want to be artists or musicians. They feel the world owes them a living. Meanwhile, their grandparents are thinking about their own mortality. Who is going to inherit? Certainly not those slackers. But your Gen Y’s are engineers, nurses, fire- men or otherwise-responsible professionals. They are getting started in the world. You can help with financial planning. They have young children to educate or student loans to pay down. Having a plan to address these issues and talking up their progress will impress the older generation. A Gen Y investor with money in the stock market will remind boomers of their own successes and/or missed opportunities. You can get them started by opening these ac- counts. Paying down significant college debt. Parents can’t solve every problem. Your Gen Y client might have taken out student loans. In December 2012, the average amount of stu- dent loan debt was $29,400, according to the Institute for College Access & Success’ Project on Student Debt. As their advisor, you might be their parents’ advisor, too. If their Gen Y child is employed locally and paying a hefty rent, parents might be agreeable to a return to the nest. It’s pretty common: 29 percent of Gen Y has returned home to live at some point after graduation. Astute parents see it as a way to help their child accelerate college loan payments or save for a down payment for their first house. It’s important for parents to establish ground rules. How long can they remain at home? Do they pay a nominal rent while saving the rest? Will they have household responsibilities? Where does insurance fit in? Everywhere. Young people have an advantage: Insurance is often cheap. They might have a young family and be saving for college. What if something un- expected happens to them? Insurance meets a need. Buying insurance is another way of show- ing fiscal responsibility to the older generation.

They bought it, too.

RT T
RT T

Gen Y are stereotypically self-absorbed and enjoying life. But they have their worries, too.

PRACTICE

An easy way to increase sales

Some members say Life Happens has doubled theirs — and it’s free for MDRT members.

BY LIZ DECARLO

W hen Ryan Pinney makes a sales call,

he doesn’t use a sales pitch. Instead,

Pinney, a six-year MDRT mem-

ber, walks the prospect through Life Happens’ Human Life Value calculator. The calculator asks the prospect to answer six simple questions regarding their financial situation. Seconds later, it churns out a figure for how much life insur- ance they need. “We use math and science and show you the answer, and then ask, ‘What do you want to do about it?’” explained Pinney, of Roseville, California. “With six inputs, you can very easily get this number and figure out this person’s worth. If you do it together, you can say, ‘I’m not

telling you this number, it’s from this third-party nonprofit.’” Life Happens was formed in 1994 by seven leading insurance producer organizations, in- cluding MDRT. “They said, ‘we need a nonprofit to help educate consumers and clear up miscon- ceptions about this industry,’” said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, president and CEO of Life Happens and a 40-year member of MDRT, who was President in 2002. The organization provided resources to agents as well, everything from fliers to online calcu- lators, to establish a conversation starting point about life, disability or long-term care insur- ance. “We create resources for them to use that aren’t branded by any company,” Feldman said. “They’re neutral.” That neutrality, along with the online calcu- lators, has been a great help to Pinney. “I don’t have to be the one who said, ‘I made these num- bers,’” he said. In 2014, Life Happens’ resources became

he said. In 2014, Life Happens’ resources became Life Happens offers printouts of Real Life Stories
he said. In 2014, Life Happens’ resources became Life Happens offers printouts of Real Life Stories

Life Happens offers printouts of Real Life Stories producers can use.

completely digital, which means MDRT mem- bers can access them instantly. One of the more popular offerings on Life Happens’ website is the Real Life Stories sec- tion, which uses videos and fliers to highlight real families and businesses that have benefited from life, disability or long-term care — and the agents and advisors who helped put that plan- ning in place. The videos and fliers also show the family’s long-term financial struggles when a breadwin- ner died with little or no life insurance. “One of our greatest resources is our Real Life Stories and Life Lessons,” Feldman said. “Nobody’s going to buy insurance because someone quotes statistics. They’re going to buy it because they see a family like theirs going

through something like this.” Pinney agreed. “The videos work. It’s huge,” he said. Pinney also uses Life Happens’ prepackaged social media posts. “Throughout the year, Life Happens does several thousand posts. It’s a great tool to augment your own social media effort,” he said. “You can share and add your own commen- tary about it, and it’s from a nonprofit, so it’s a third-party endorsement.” Feldman said Life Happens’ library of pre- written Facebook and Twitter posts, stats and graphics give users a wide variety of ready-to-go tools. “They might even be savvy with social media but just don’t have the time, so they can just grab a half-dozen posts,” he said. The feedback from the digital and social me- dia aspects of Life Happens has been incredible, Feldman said. “The beauty of digital is that you’re able to measure your results. You get an automatic report card. “When we switched to digital, we shortened the Real Life Stories videos to 30-second and 60-second ads. We increased impressions by 1,800 percent. And, if you’re increasing your reach, you’re acting on your mission to educate the public.” During Life Insurance Awareness Month last year, Life Happens tracked the success of the new, shorter ads. “As part of our advertising

outreach, we had an independent survey con- ducted,” Feldman said. “We found that people were 57 percent more likely to consider buying life insurance after seeing Real Life Stories than those who hadn’t seen the video.” Unfortunately, Life Happens is the most underutilized service in the industry, said Van Mueller, LUTCF, a 26-year MDRT member from Brookfield, Wisconsin. Not only does it increase sales, but Mueller also thinks using Life Happens resources is a great way to train new agents. “It gives you empathy, energy and enthusi- asm. It reminds you of the reason you do this,” Mueller said. “What’s so neat about Life Happens is I don’t have to participate at all. Instead of me telling them something, if they watch someone else in a similar circumstance, I don’t have to tell them anything,” Mueller said. Pinney also thinks not enough MDRT mem- bers are taking advantage of Life Happens. “I feel like our industry is missing this great op- portunity to use these tools and the third-party aspect,” he said. “If we could get everybody in MDRT to go to the Life Happens website once a week and study what’s on there,” Mueller said, “I think we could

double our sales.”

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EASY, FREE SALES TOOLS

 

What you’ll find on www.lifehappens .org/industry:

Relevant statistics, graphics and other information that can be shared. Get links to all Life Happens social media properties. (www.lifehappens.org/ socialmedia) 4. Complete marketing resources:

links to all Life Happens social media properties. ( www.lifehappens.org/ socialmedia ) 4. Complete marketing resources:

Sign up for your free account and choose MDRT as your affiliated association.

1.

Calculators: Life insurance needs

(www.lifehappens.org/howmuch),

For Life Insurance Awareness Month (September), Disability Insurance Awareness Month (May) and the Insure Your Love campaign (February). (www.lifehappens.org/industry) 5. Weekly email: Sign up for a week- ly email that outlines new resources and up-to-date industry information.

disability insurance needs (www.lifehap pens.org/DIcalc) and human life value (www.lifehappens.org/humanlifevalue)

2.

Life Happens videos: Real Life

Stories, Life Lessons, Insurance 101. (www.lifehappens.org/videos)

3.

Prewritten social media posts:

TIPS & TECHNOLOGY life hacks | apps | time-savers Getting kids’ attention Tired of your

TIPS & TECHNOLOGY

life hacks | apps | time-savers

TIPS & TECHNOLOGY life hacks | apps | time-savers Getting kids’ attention Tired of your teen

Getting kids’ attention

Tired of your teen or tween ignoring your phone calls and text messages when they’re out and about? If you’re a parent, wondering if your child is in danger or just not responding can be very frustrating. No one felt more frustrated than Sharon Standifird. After having her own texts and calls rebuffed, she developed an app called Ignore No More! that allows parents to remotely lock kids’ phones until they call back. While the phone is locked, the child can’t text, surf the Web or play games. The app is easily downloaded onto a family’s phones. Then, if a parent wants to shut down a child’s phone, they just touch the app and type in the child’s name (the app works for multiple family mem- bers), enter a four-digit code and press “lock.” When the child picks up the phone, they see nothing but a blank screen. Kids are able to call an approved list of contacts who can unlock the phone, and they can dial 911 even when it’s locked. The app is available for $1.99 at www.ignorenomoreapp.com.

Make your TV work better

Google Chromecast is a pocket-size device that plugs into the HDMI port of the majority of flat-screen TVs, and is great for both business and family applications. Chromecast links to your WiFi network and lets you broadcast anything you can view in a Google Chrome browser from your laptop, tablet or phone without any wires. It can also broadcast apps such as Hulu and Netflix. From a business standpoint, there are many applications, such as being able to cast your presentation or PowerPoint onto your office TV or a client’s TV with no wires. Chromecast is available for $35 at www.google.com. Similar products include Amazon Firestick ($39) and Roku Streaming Stick ($49).

Brandon Green, CLTC, LUTCF, Katy, Texas, 5-year MDRT member

Brandon Green, CLTC, LUTCF , Katy, Texas, 5-year MDRT member Office on the go One of

Office on the go

One of the most significant pieces of

technology I have used is Mobile Assistant,

a mobile dictation service. After calling

a prearranged number, I can dictate for

as long as I wish. The dictation is then emailed to my team. My team cuts and pastes the email into my CRM and reviews my dictation for any specific notes or tasks that need to be implemented. I use it after every client appointment or interaction. With our compliance-focused industry, the copious notes from these dictations have been extremely valuable for any con- fusion, concerns or complaints. Also, the efficiency of using this service has significantly reduced wasted communi- cation between my staff and me. Mobile Assistant is available for $54.37 per month at www.mobileassistant.us.

Timothy Daniel Clairmont, CFP, MSFS, Lake Oswego, Oregon, 4-year MDRT member

Daniel Clairmont, CFP, MSFS , Lake Oswego, Oregon, 4-year MDRT member 14 ROUND the TABLE.ORG |
Daniel Clairmont, CFP, MSFS , Lake Oswego, Oregon, 4-year MDRT member 14 ROUND the TABLE.ORG |

Easy mobile messaging

Easy mobile messaging
Easy mobile messaging
Easy mobile messaging

If you’re a frequent international traveler, you might want to give WhatsApp Messenger a try. WhatsApp is a cross-platform text mes- saging alternative that allows you to exchange

messages without having to pay for a messaging service. The app is available for most phones and, because it uses the same Internet data plan you use for email and Web browsing, there is no cost to message. In addition to basic messaging, WhatsApp users can create groups, enabling users to send each other unlimited images, videos and audio media messages. WhatsApp is free for the first year and 99 cents per year after that. Download the app at www.whatsapp.com.

No more extra fees

If you’re a frequent traveler, you’re

familiar with overweight baggage fees.

One way to avoid them is to use a dig- ital luggage scale like the one made by Balanzza. The portable scale has

a heavy hook that wraps around the

handle of your suitcase. The automatic hold allows you to lift the luggage, set

it down on the floor and then read the

weight. If you’re over the limit, you can always move clothes and other items

from one bag to another before you arrive at the airport, reducing wait times and extra baggage fees. The Balanzza Digital Luggage Scale is available on www.amazon.com for less than $25, depending on the size of the scale.

for less than $25, depending on the size of the scale. A better view Laptops and
for less than $25, depending on the size of the scale. A better view Laptops and
for less than $25, depending on the size of the scale. A better view Laptops and

A better view

Laptops and tablets give you the oppor- tunity to use PowerPoint presentations, charts, spreadsheets, videos and other materials when meeting with a poten- tial client. However, when presenting to more than one person, you and your clients have to sit uncomfortably close to see the presentation on the screen. If the clients are uncomfortable or having difficulty seeing the screen during the presentation, their focus moves away from the concepts you are trying to explain.

The Brookstone Pocket Projector

helps solve this issue. Compared with the previous generation of projectors, it is small, lightweight and easy to trans-

port. The Brookstone Travel Case and

Tripod provide a tripod stand for the projector that’s easy to carry around. The powerful light and high-definition resolution provide sharp and focused images, even at a distance of 6 feet, and the projection on the wall can be as large as 8 feet by 6 feet. The setup can be done in the client’s office or home with the use of an HDMI-compatible cable, and any blank wall can be used. The light- weight, powerful lamp and great focus make this a powerful technology tool to use in the field. The projector is available for $299 and the travel case and tripod for $39.99 at www.brookstone.com.

Paresh B. Shah, Rego Park, New York,

7-year MDRT member

PRACTICE

Using LinkedIn for referrals

Social media can help expand your prospect list.

BY ADAM STEVEN BLUMBERG, CFP, CLU

L inkedIn can be such a powerful tool, giv-

ing us access to a multi-tiered network

of potential clients through our current

trusted relationships. With LinkedIn, we can use these relationships to tap into an extended network, reach more prospects and clients in a very targeted manner, and do it in a way that allows our clients to be a valuable part of the process. We have already learned of countless ways advisors are using the social networking site, and I’ve added another process that has helped me expand my client base. I don’t like asking clients for vague referrals

(who do you know that owns a family busi- ness?). Instead, I use LinkedIn to try to gain introductions to people who might make good prospects for me. Each Friday, I identify three of my clients or close contacts who I know trust me. I choose a new three each week and track them in a spreadsheet. I then look through their contacts and choose between five and eight people to whom I would like to be introduced. These are people who fit my profile for an ideal client, usually business owners or CFOs. Monday morning I allot some time to writing emails to my contacts, asking if they will please

SAMPLE EMAIL

to my contacts, asking if they will please SAMPLE EMAIL Richard, How are you? I hope

Richard, How are you? I hope things are going well with the business and your family. As you know, I’m always looking to meet en- trepreneurs like yourself. I noticed a few who are LinkedIn connections of yours, and was hoping you could make the introduction for me. I promise not to hurt your relationship with them, and I will not be pushy or bothersome. I am simply looking to make more connections. If you don’t feel comfortable introducing any of the contacts, I completely understand.

Here are the contacts I would like to know:

Robert Jones, President, TriStar Construction James Smith, Owner, Iron Manufacturing Gina McAndrews, Owner, McAndrews Underground

make the virtual introduction. I make sure they know it is all right to decline making the intro- duction if they don’t feel comfortable, and I try to take as much of the work out of their hands as possible. Within the email, I write language my contact can copy and paste into their own virtu- al introduction email. I also ask to be copied on the email. This technique can work for all target mar- kets. For example, if you focus on retirement planning and have a client or two who have re- cently retired from a particular company, search your LinkedIn expanded network for more employees of that company. You can then ask for introductions to those employees, and your contact will let them know you have experi- ence working with employees rolling over their retirement plan.

Next steps

As we all know, just getting the introduction is not enough. We need to follow up and track our efforts. Once the email is sent to the contact, I reply to all, thanking my contact who made the intro- duction for both the message and the trust. I then ask the prospect when we can meet

for coffee. Usually, at this point, the prospect is

a little worried about getting “sold” something,

so I assure him/her that I simply enjoy meeting entrepreneurs and learning about the business. Since the contact who introduced us is still on the email chain, the prospect seems more likely to agree to a coffee meeting. When I meet with the prospect, I use all of the other words of wisdom, questions and tech- niques I’ve learned from MDRT members in an effort to turn that prospect into a client. As I am browsing my contacts, choosing their contacts, meeting with prospects and doing some business, I try to track the introductions and the resulting fees and commissions. The tracking can be done with a simple spreadsheet including the name of my original contact, the date of the email messages and any dates of appointments. I also add any business complet- ed so I know which contacts and clients have helped me grow my business. With the help of LinkedIn, I have expanded

my ability to reach out to potential clients while also working closely with current clients. Try

it and see how easy it is to use social media to

boost your sales — it won’t cost you anything but

a little time, and the payoff can be great.

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To make things a little easier, please feel free to copy and paste the

following into an introductory email.

<NAME>, I am writing to introduce you to a friend of mine, Adam Blumberg. Adam is a wealth manager and financial planner focusing on family business owners. He also is very connected in the city and to others in your field. I don’t know if you will need his services, but I think you two should know each other. We can even set up a coffee meeting for the three of us.

Thanks so much for your help, Richard. I really appreciate it.

Next time we grab coffee, it’s on me.

Best regards,

Adam

it. Next time we grab coffee, it’s on me. Best regards, Adam JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015 | ROUND
it. Next time we grab coffee, it’s on me. Best regards, Adam JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015 | ROUND

AGE FOTOSTOCK/ARIEL SKELLEY

PRACTICE

AGE FOTOSTOCK/ARIEL SKELLEY PRACTICE The power of giving Why you should be an advocate of charitable

The power of giving

Why you should be an advocate of charitable giving with your clients.

BY JOHN D. AAKRE, CLU

Gather like-minded prospects and friends at the home of a member who has already done charita- ble planning.

W hen I was hired into this career, my boss asked me what I liked most about my previous work in higher

education. I responded that I enjoyed the rela- tionships we built with so many people at the university and our shared values of giving back. When my wife and I made the career move to the financial services profession, we wanted to choose a company that shared our belief that a member’s values and financial decisions are con- nected — and we found that at Thrivent Finan- cial. Thrivent’s purpose is to serve members and society by guiding both to be wise with money and live generously. Thrivent is a membership organization, so we don’t call our members “cli- ents.” We function on the belief that our mem- bers are a critical part of what we’re building. All of us in MDRT know life insurance is a critical piece of a financial strategy, providing pro-

tection to families, as well as the ability to leave a legacy through charitable organizations. Many people have charitable causes they value and be- lieve in, and they spend time and money helping those organizations carry out their mission. These charities make a difference in the lives of our members and in the local community. Because of this core belief, my wife and I have made helping our members achieve their charita- ble goals one of the centerpieces of our financial practice.

Why would this make sense for your practice? Would you like to have clients so loyal they would never look to another advisor? Would you like to have clients who volunteer to work side by side with you to support a common cause you believe in passionately? Would you like to see the ex- citement in clients’ eyes when you move beyond

talking simply about retirement income to the larger question of what kind of legacy they can leave to the charities they care deeply about? Clients who are connected to you through charitable planning are extremely loyal because you help them live out their values. And, more importantly for my wife and me, they are among the most interesting, engaging and fun people to spend time with. Why not spend your time with people you truly enjoy?

Positioning your practice People who volunteer in leadership roles in their community to support charitable causes are excellent prospects for our services. They are well-connected, successful and have the financial resources to need our services. However, to work successfully in the charitable market, you need to “walk the walk” and be prepared to volunteer and give your own time and resources in a significant way. It only works if you truly work side by side with your clients. I volunteer on several charitable boards in our community and, as a result, I have met many current and prospective members. Many of these members value the assistance I can give them in charitable planning, which ultimately will help the institutions where we volunteer together. This planning also involves their larger estate plan, insurance protection and retirement funds. A recent referral to a new member with more than $2 million to invest came as the result of multiple referrals from fellow volunteers at nonprofits where I have been involved. When the member inquired about how I knew my referrers, she was impressed with the many charitable con- nections I had built among friends she respected. This led to conversations about her own charita- ble plans, which we are now exploring together.

Fact finding for charitable interest During initial fact finding, I intentionally ask members about their interests outside of their work, including hobbies and charitable activities. When I find that charitable work is an important factor for them, I probe deeper to discover if they have made any plans in their estate to continue

the giving they are doing now. For many mem- bers this is a new subject but one that interests them greatly. I often ask, “Will the charities you support now miss you when you are gone?” The answer is usually yes. This opens the door to a discussion about charitable planning.

Best practice idea One of the best ways I’ve found to open doors with clients in the charitable marketplace is to gather like-minded prospects and friends at the home of a member who has already done char- itable planning. I usually invite about 15 to 20 couples who I believe would appreciate learning more about charitable planning. Among the in- vitees are at least five individuals and/or couples who have made a charitable gift and are willing to take about three to five minutes to explain how and why they did it. In addition, I also invite the executive director of a community foundation to be present to lead what we call “charitable conversations.” This is a low-key way to introduce others to the idea of charitable planning. Real-life stories are the best way to open the door to new charitable planning members. The formal program time lasts no more than 15 to 20 minutes. Allowing for some social time after the presentation is crucial because it gives members the opportunity to visit with each other and ask questions of those who shared their personal stories.

The power of your personal story There is a special power in sharing your personal giving story with members. In our case, I men- tion that my wife and I have asked the question “How much is enough?” when deciding about gifts to our children and family. We have decided to divide our estate into thirds: one third each to my adult daughter and son and one third to char- ity. We have set up a donor-advised charitable gift fund in our names, which will receive those assets when we are both gone. Sharing the story of our personal charitable plan in client conversations has encouraged many members to consider passing on the example of

“giving back” to their children as well.

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PRACTICE

PANEL

MODERATOR:

Clay Gillespie, CFP, CIM, 13-year MDRT member from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

PANELISTS:

Malcolm Charles Baxter, 11-year MDRT member from Tring, England

Katy Baxter, 8-year MDRT member from Tring, England

David H. Levy, CLU, ChFC, 15-year MDRT member from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Leon L. Levy, CLU, RHU, 42-year MDRT member from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2014

‘I’m not retiring’

Retirement may not be the best option for all producers, Levy told attendees.

BY SCOTT ROGERS

At the 2014 MDRT Top of the Table Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, members took to the Main Platform stage, sharing their thoughts on issues facing the industry in panel discussions. One panel discussion, titled “Generations of Success,” featured father and son Leon and David Levy talking with father/daugh- ter team Malcolm and Katy Baxter. This discussion was moderated by Clay Gillespie and focused on the concrete details of succession planning. How did they handle the transition? How did they plan it? When does the senior advisor think he may retire? It was this latter question that took the panel aback. Malcolm Baxter answered the question first.

DO YOU PLAN ON RETIRING?

H is response was simply, “Yes,

I think I do. Although I’m

enjoying it a bit at the moment,

so we’ll see. How is it going to happen? I just don’t go into work one morning? I

don’t know.” The audience laughed at this re- sponse, but within the laughter was a shared sentiment. Most producers don’t know what “retirement” means for them. Stepping away from the clients you’ve spent your professional life growing with is not an easy thing to do, after all. Neither is knowing what to

(from left to right) Leon Levy, David Levy, Katy Baxter, Malcolm Baxter

do with yourself when the thing you’ve loved doing for most of your professional life comes to an end. Maybe retirement just isn’t the right answer for everyone. Gillespie then turned to Leon Levy. “What about you?” “Well, I’ll tell you what I’m retiring — I’m re- tiring my old clothes. I’m going out and buying a new wardrobe,” Levy responded. “I love to get dressed up every morning. I lay my clothes out at night. I know what I’m going to wear the following day. I love getting dressed and going to the office. I love the atmo- sphere of what we have. I have an office that has a skyline. “You get to a point and an age when you can get on the phone and have some fun. I don’t want to use the word ‘age.’ At my experience level, you get on the phone and have some fun. At the same time, you’ve outlived a lot of other people, and you become the doctor, you be- come the lawyer, you become the person they call. ‘Help me get something done,’ they say. That’s part of my job, too. “I tell everyone I’m in my third job. I would have liked to have been a doctor. The second I would have been a rabbi. Now in this third job,

I do a little bit of both. “I’ll give you another thought process in case you haven’t done it yet. How many of you in this audience have bought your own cemetery plot? One hand, two hands. Guys, you want

You want to talk about retirement? Talk about eternity.

to have some fun? Go buy a cemetery plot. We made it a family function. We went out shopping for a cemetery plot. Remember that normally someone else is making that decision for you. Where I come from, it’s usually in 24 hours. Someone is making that decision. You want to do some advance estate planning on yourself? Find out where you’re going to spend eternity. “You want to talk about retirement? Talk about eternity. We did that. I hate to tell you what it cost me. And it’s still in the process, but this decision was made by my sons and their wives — the whole family. If you want to come around, I think I’ve got room for you too.

“I’m not retiring.”

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PONDERING ON PAPER Whenever I meet a new client , I always use this illustration.

PONDERING ON PAPER

Whenever I meet a new client, I always use this illustration. I

have a piece of paper with a big circle drawn in the middle.

I draw a stick person in the middle of the circle and write

the prospect’s name on it. I ask about his monthly expenses

and write each expense around the circle, e.g., mortgage,

transportation, education, grocery and food. After all of his

expenses are indicated, I add them up and write the figure on

the top of the paper very prominently.

I fold the paper in half horizontally and then in half vertical-

ly. While tearing off the corner of the paper, I say, “Mr. Pros-

pect, suppose tonight as you were going home, something

happened to you so that tomorrow, when your loved ones

wake up, you are no longer in the picture.” I open up the fold-

ed paper with all the expenses written on it and a big, gaping

hole right in the middle where he used to be. I keep very quiet

and let him imagine what would happen to his loved ones if

he is no longer around to provide for them.

I have just graphically shown him that should anything hap-

pen to him, his loved ones would be in big financial trouble.

It is very difficult to imagine not being around for your loved

ones, so I literally take him out of the picture so he does not

need to imagine it anymore. More often than not, that leads to

a very serious discussion of how he can still provide even if he

is no longer around.

— Manuel Dy Chuaunsu Jr., Manila, Philippines, 7-year MDRT

member

22 22

Hire an assistant as soon as you can, then learn to delegate. It is not a cost; it is an investment in your business. This made a major difference in my career.

— H. Larry Fortenberry,

CLU, ChFC,

Jackson, Mississippi,

38-year MDRT member

ROUND theTABLE.ORG | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015

ROUND theTABLE.ORG | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

When meeting a prospect for the first time, I ask the

question: “If we were to engage each other, in 12 months’

time, what things would have to happen, and how would

you need to feel about your finances and our relationship,

for you to consider it a success?” I picked up this ques-

tion at an MDRT event, and it gives me great insight into

what a client is truly looking for.

— Gino Saggiomo, CFP, Fortitude Valley, Queensland,

Australia, 7-year MDRT member

DEMONSTRATION THAT WORKS Design your stationery name out 25 times. I to meet your needs
DEMONSTRATION THAT WORKS
Design your stationery
name out 25 times. I
to meet your needs and
have note cards I use
reflect who you are. In
for handwritten com-
meetings, I have plain
munications. People
paper printed with our
still like handwritten
logo on the bottom so
notes and tend to keep
I can draw pictures to
them.
illustrate points. If the
— Nan M. Zimdars, CFP,
client wants to take it
CLU, Madison,
with them, my name,
Wisconsin, 32-year
JOE SMITH
logo and disclosures
MDRT member
are all there. If you use
Post-its when you mail
forms to clients, have
your name on them.
Pads of Post-its are
great to give out as
well. One pad puts your

ourPEOPLE Why you need a happy staff 24 | Exploring China 28 Family business 30

PEOPLE

our PEOPLE Why you need a happy staff 24 | Exploring China 28 Family business 30

Why you need a happy staff 24 | Exploring China 28 Family business 30 | At your service 32 | Guiding change 34

business 30 | At your service 32 | Guiding change 34 CHINA China is home to

CHINA

China is home to the largest population in the world, with more than

1.3 billion people.

GOING UP

The average retirement age in the U.S. is now 61, up from 57 in the early 1990s.

— Gallup, 2013

HIGHER PROFITS

Businesses with high levels of employee engagement

report 22% higher productivity than

businesses with lower engagement.

— Gallup, 2013

NAVIGATING TRANSITION

“Keeping a team of people motivated is the biggest challenge.”

— Katy Baxter speaking at the 2014 Top of the Table Annual Meeting on succession planning

Is your staff happy? Keeping employees engaged is the key to employee happiness and productivity.

Is your staff

happy?

Keeping employees engaged is the key to employee happiness and productivity.

BY SCOTT ROGERS

K eeping employees happy is an essential part of running a successful business. This probably goes without saying, or at least you probably think it should. But

you’d be surprised how many organiza- tions neglect this fundamental tenet. According to an October 2013 Gallup poll of American workers, 63 percent of employees say they feel “not engaged” by their jobs. This number is staggering. An unengaged em- ployee leads to a bored and unhappy employee, which in turn creates an unproductive employee. Creating an engaging environment full of happy and motivated employees should be the goal for any business. The businesses owned by MDRT members are no exception. So, how do the best in the profession keep their employees engaged? We talked to a few to find out.

AGE FOTOSTOCK/ERIK ISAKSON

John W. McTigue, CLU, a 31-year MDRT member from Chicago, Illinois, runs Northwest- ern Mutual’s McTigue Financial Group. The group is staffed by 172 financial representatives and 115 associate financial representatives — all independent contractors — while also employ- ing 38 direct members of staff. McTigue’s business was notably named the seventh-best place to work in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2014, extending their streak to six consecutive years on this list. “In our business, you need support in both your personal and professional lives,” McTigue said. “To be honored in this way validates our vision to be the best at what we do, and to pro- vide a supportive environment where all of our people can thrive.” He said creating an environment that can succeed and be honored like his begins at the earliest step of putting a team together — the hiring process.

So, who do I hire?

McTigue depends on referrals to attract staff. “Whether it’s a financial representative or member of staff, we see most of our candidates come from internal referral sources,” he said. “It speaks volumes to the culture we have built. “We are looking for individuals who share our values of accountability, integrity and growth. They need to be goal-oriented, have an incredi- ble work ethic, strong relationship skills and the desire to help others.” Colin R. Parkin, Dip FA, CeMap, a 36-year MDRT member from Lincoln, England, uses personality tests in the interview process to determine the best fit. He uses Occupational Personality Questionnaires, or OPQ32, which help an employer see what an individual’s pre- ferred behavioral style at work is, along with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which measures psychological preferences in how people per- ceive the world and make decisions. “This is an integral part of the process and an invaluable tool, depending on the kind of position we are looking for,” Parkin said. “We find the My- ers-Briggs tremendously helpful, as it allows us to fit the best employees into the roles that comple- ment each other’s working practices.” Likewise, David Batchelor, Dip PFS, CFP, a 17-year MDRT member from Thame, England, uses the Kolbe assessment systems, which mea-

>>

CORBIS

sure what methods employees use to get things done. The goal with this test is to simply under- stand what thoughts and behaviors applicants use as they go about their everyday work. Batchelor notes that he finds it essential to stay out of the hiring practice. Instead, he allows a professional on staff to carry out the hiring process. Batchelor also makes it a point to create the job role, then look for the person, as opposed to finding someone you think would be great for your business, then struggling with figuring out where to place them. This, he said, can lead to poor productivity and a lengthy learning curve. Once your ideal staff is in place, the next step is to figure out what you need to do to get the most out of them.

How do I keep them engaged?

There is no universal right way to foster em- ployee engagement, as most of it depends on the personalities of your staff. What types of rewards or recognition do they respond best to? The previously mentioned personality tests can be a great tool for figuring this out.

“A lot of the time we think that people will be happy with video machines and basketball hoops in their office. But people are the happiest when they feel appreciated and valued.”

Batchelor uses a unique system in which he provides his employees shares in the business. After five years of employment, employees re- ceive an amount of shares taken from a set 30 percent of the business. After an employee has been there for 10 years, their shares dou- ble, and the same happens again if they stay for another five. He cites this initiative as one of the reasons his employees are so engaged in the business. Out of his 15 members of staff, four have stayed there for 10 years or more, while two have been there five years. This method has helped his employees see themselves as owners in the busi- ness, thereby directly tying their production to the success of the business and, essentially, the value of their ownership in the business. As the business grows, so does their wallet. Batchelor also notes that he thinks “the first thing to do is to overpay everybody,” and imme- diately letting them know how you think they are worth more to you than any other business from the get-go. He also takes his staff on a week-long trip once a year and has implemented a points system leading to a shopping reward for his em- ployees. Employees receive a point for a referral, two points for the referral turning into business and three points for bringing in regular clients. Once the business reaches a certain amount of points, his employees are treated to a shopping dash where they are all given 500 pounds with direction to only spend the money on gifts for themselves. McTigue provides similar motivating events for his employees, from renting museums in Chicago for employees and their families to hosting office Olympics and mini-golf events. McTigue notes that these initiatives are ulti- mately pointless if the way employers treat their employees is lacking, especially when it comes to respect. “A lot of the time we think that people will be happy with video machines and basketball hoops in their office,” McTigue said. “But people are the happiest when they feel appreciated and valued. We show in both thoughts and actions that we believe in them more than they believe in themselves.” McTigue places a large emphasis on retaining employees, noting how important it is to the health of the business. “We place a strong em-

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phasis on growing others by growing ourselves,” he said. “There is training, mentoring, guidance and support that doesn’t just span the first 30 or 60 days, it’s ongoing. We want people to know they are part of a team and they will be support- ed throughout their career journey.”

What if it just isn’t working?

There are multiple options of action to consid- er if a member of your staff just isn’t working out or is failing to respond to your engagement techniques. Simon John Gibson, Dip PFS, a 15-year MDRT member from Newmarket, En- gland, notes this is an issue everyone runs into, and members should take a proactive stance on figuring out the cause. “I don’t believe there’s anyone among us who’s never made a mistake when we’ve hired somebody,” he said. “You have to make sure those situations are managed, and you can either manage people out of the business, or you can manage them to a position where they can im- prove. You can turn it around. There are people who perhaps need to be taken in a different direction, maybe even being given a different role in the business.” Sometimes, despite your best efforts, an em- ployee may not be the best fit for your business, regardless of their position. Gregory B. Gagne, ChFC, a 15-year MDRT member from Exeter, New Hampshire, shared a story of a longtime employee who was becoming increasingly disruptive to the rest of his staff. After undergoing coaching seminars, he decided that the best course of action would be to simply let the employee go. Surprisingly, Gagne said, this led to an uptick in business and the greatest success he has ever had. “It may make sense, if your gut’s telling you that this is where it’s going, to get it over with sooner rather than later. The opportunities will present themselves as soon as you do it,” Gagne said.

will present themselves as soon as you do it,” Gagne said. MDRT PODCAST In the first

MDRT PODCAST In the first episode of the MDRT Podcast, Simon John Gibson, Gregory B. Gagne and Clay Gillespie share their thoughts on staffing their businesses, among other ideas on how they run their businesses. To hear more from them, please visit www.mdrt.org/podcast.

Firing an employee is never easy and should be handled with care, but could be for the best. “It’s a difficult decision but, typically, it’s better for everybody,” said Clay Gillespie, CFP, CIM, a 13-year member from Vancouver, British Colum- bia, Canada.

Why is employee engagement so important?

There are numerous benefits to keeping your staff engaged, some you may not even consider when thinking about this matter. Batchelor said having an engaged staff has helped promote his business. “Our staff cares more,” he said, pointing to the various ways he’s incentivized them to go the extra mile and bring in more prospects. A practice with even the most charismatic and knowledgeable producer in charge can only go so far. The employees who answer your phones or type up notes on meetings need to feel engaged and invested. That extra some- thing you get from an engaged employee will help shape your clients’ perceptions of you in a positive way. Perhaps most importantly, coming up with ways to engage your employees allows you some control over the way the people you see most often are treated. “The neatest thing to me is we can create a world that doesn’t have to be like the real world,” McTigue said. “We can, and do, treat people with respect. This is a special place we have created, and people want to be a part of it. And even more so, it’s a true testament of the

people who make up our firm.”

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a true testament of the people who make up our firm.” RT T HAVE AN IDEA

HAVE AN IDEA ON STAFFING you’d like to share? Email them to editor@mdrt.org and we might share them on www.roundthetable.org.

PEOPLE

China
China

for their retirement. Around 47 percent of the population falls within the working demographic of 25 to 54 years old, according to the CIA World Factbook. With China continuing its emergence as a world power and adopting more and more West- ern cultural habits, this wall of avoiding address- ing death is starting to crumble. This has created opportunities for producers. Tan Xiao Hong, a seven-year MDRT member from Shenzhen, China, and Wu Zheng Yu, an eight-year MDRT member from Beijing, China, have worked hard to change these perceptions over the past few years. “When I entered the business 10 years ago, the acceptance level of insurance was very low among the public,” Yu said. “Many people did not know much about insurance, and they had objections to the product. Today, as more and more people have higher levels of education and earn more money, the awareness for insurance in the public has significantly increased. They are more willing to accept insurance and recognize its benefits and values. The current issue is not what is insurance, but instead, how to allocate insurance and protection.” This change in perception was largely brought on by the state. “The premier of the State Council

More guidance

Members in China fight against long-held beliefs.

BY SCOTT ROGERS

Y ou don’t talk about death in China. For a variety of reasons, a stigma surrounds the topic. In fact, it is considered offen-

sive to even mention death during most social occasions. The reluctance to discuss this stage of life has led to understandable troubles for producers in the country. How do you sell life insurance when you can’t mention the inevitabil- ity of death? Luckily, larger cultural trends are changing. China is the world’s most populated country, with more than 1.3 billion citizens, many of whom are beginning the process of planning

citizens, many of whom are beginning the process of planning Beijing, China “When I entered the
Beijing, China
Beijing, China

“When I entered the business 10 years ago, the acceptance level of insur- ance was very low among the public.”

— Wu Zheng Yu

Shenzhen, China

organized and hosted a national meeting, stressing that the development of the insurance sector is the pillar of the other industries,” Hong said. “The government is supportive of the life insurance business. China’s new leadership teams give more support to commercial insurance and provide more guidance through legislations and policies.” Furthermore, the cultural view on death began to shift once China’s communist party gained control of the state. Traditionally, China was a country rooted in Confucian principles, which largely disregarded death as something not worth thinking about, saying that since it is unknowable by nature, you should instead focus on improv- ing life. The communist ideology that took hold of China, on the other hand, stressed there was nothing after death, which temporarily covered this stigma. Ultimately, the longer-held anxiety about death won out. China’s economic growth has naturally con- tributed to the growth of the insurance market. For the past 30 years, China has been the fast- est-growing economy in the world, and though it has somewhat slowed in recent years, the average income of the public has still increased exponentially during this time period. Accord- ing to the World Bank, 500 million people have been brought out of poverty since 1978 thanks to economic reforms. This brings plenty of op- portunities for producers, along with plenty of challenges. “There are higher-net-worth people than in previous years. This makes my target market larger,” Yu said. “Despite that, I still need more time to educate them on their knowledge of finance and asset allocation.” Jennifer Chen, MDRT’s membership devel-

opment coordinator, recently visited members in China to learn about issues they are facing. “Members are focusing on building up profes- sionalism to differentiate themselves from others and reach to the next production level,” Chen said. “That’s a major focus in the market now.” Chen notes they are doing this by focusing on continuing their education in a variety of differ- ent areas, from taking classes on tax law to earn- ing their Executive Master of Business Adminis- tration degree and certified financial professional designation. Members are also more frequently attending industry conferences, along with tak- ing practical classes on how to dress properly for different situations and how to become a more persuasive presenter, she said. For Yu and Hong, seeking professionalism has never been an issue. “I became an insurance agent because I wanted to make a living and have a better life,” Hong said. “After 13 years in the profession, I understood that our work is very important. I often share with my colleagues and clients that, as insurance agents, we learn how to become a better person through our business.” Likewise, Yu related that he felt a personal pull to become an agent. “People around me all need- ed service and support in this field. Through this profession, I can offer great help to my friends and family members,” he said. Yu has taken this spirit and applied it to his business. “Love, value and appreciation are the philosophy of my team.” he said. “Love refers to loving ourselves, our family, clients and the people around us, and to always spread and ac- cept love. We explore our own values, prove how

worthy we are and give back to the society.”

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how worthy we are and give back to the society.” RT T “We learn how to

“We learn how to become a better person through our business.”

— Tan Xiao Hong

CONTACTS:

Tan Xiao Hong

tanxiaohong1@

pa18.com

Wu Zheng Yu

8601000907@

metlife.com.cn

PEOPLE

Like father, like daughter

Baxter builds strong bonds in business with her dad.

BY LIZ DECARLO

Katy Baxter and her father Malcolm Baxter speak at the Top of the Table Annual Meeting.

K aty Baxter was an artist with her sights set on owning her own graphic arts business. But then she decided

to take a year off before attending university to help her dad and his partner get their new finan- cial services company off the ground. That was 26 years ago. Baxter has never left the agency, located in Tring, Hertfordshire, En- gland. She started out helping with the paper- work. “To call me an office manager would be quite grand,” she said. “We were working out of my parents’ house.” As the business grew and Baxter learned more about the profession, she realized she wanted to set art aside and become a financial advisor at her dad’s company instead. “I had a great education, but it was very ar- tistic, and I imagined that was where my career was going to go. I think I was motivated by owning my own business, my own graphic arts

business,” said Baxter, an eight-year member of MDRT. Baxter, who also enjoyed pottery, often had her arms buried in clay while in school. Now she has a desk buried with paperwork. But she doesn’t regret the change in career goals. “In reality, not many people make sensible money out of it, do they?” she reflected on her former artistic goals. “I’m relieved I didn’t go down that route.” As she became more engaged in her dad’s business, Baxter had another revelation. “I think it was owning the business that was the motivat- ing thing for me, so this allowed me to fulfill this desire of starting a company,” she said. “The art turned out not to be the deal.” Her father, Malcolm Charles Baxter, an 11-year MDRT member, had been in the financial services profession for 10 years before he and Malcolm Lindley started Baxter & Lindley

10 years before he and Malcolm Lindley started Baxter & Lindley 30 ROUND the TABLE.ORG |

Financial Services. Katy Baxter found the per- fect mentor in her dad. “My father is exceptionally good. He’s a successful advisor, and his clients absolutely adore him,” Baxter said. “He was an amazing mentor and he still is. We’re very different in many ways, but the combo of the two of us is very strong.”

Balancing work and family isn’t easy when work is family, but Baxter has managed to find a way. The agency quickly moved into office space instead of staying in the family home, which helped create a separation. The only problem is that both daughter and dad are so passionate about their work they could talk about it 24 hours a day. “We’re frequently told off by my mum, my husband and Alex [her 15-year-old son]. They will put a stop to it. So that’s how we balance

it — we’re frequently told off,” Baxter said with

a laugh. Baxter & Lindley is located in the town where

Katy Baxter has lived since she was 12, and she focuses on working with local clients, making

it a point to have them come in to see her at

her office. That wasn’t the case when she first started. “When my dad and Malcolm Lindley started the business, they’d been at a firm that gave advice to medical and dental clients in many places, and they carried that through,” Baxter said. “When I started cold calling, it was to peo- ple in the medical profession, but it very quickly became obvious that I would see the children of my father’s medical professional clients.” As Baxter developed in her role, she saw a different path, one that was fee-based versus commission-based. This didn’t go down particu- larly well with her father and co-director at the time, although they ultimately agreed to make the change.

“There were times perhaps when we did have different views, but I think it may have been me just maturing in my role in the business and needing to be myself with two older advisors.” Ultimately, the change to a fee-oriented busi- ness put the company ahead of the curve, since the United Kingdom went to a mandatory fee-

based model in 2013. Now, almost 20 years into her career, which focuses mainly on wealth and estate planning, Baxter finds herself offering more than just financial advice. “I tend to give very holistic financial planning advice,” she said. “It’s about counseling people where they are in their lives.” As Baxter finds some of her earlier clients hitting retirement age, she is encouraged by their successes. “Just the other day I had a client say to me, ‘I wouldn’t know where to start, Katy, but because of you I can retire early,’” she said. “I just love that.”

“My father is exceptionally good. He’s a successful advisor, and his clients absolutely adore him.”

In spite of the success of the business, Baxter is determined to continue to place her family and the local community as her priorities. She travels with her husband, Stuart, and son, Alex. Right now, Alex is taking important exams for school, so Baxter wants to make sure she’s giving him enough support as he moves through the exam process. “I try not to be a workaholic because that’s not very popular with the family.” Baxter connects with the local community through her support of an emergency night shelter charity and a nonprofit organization that helps people get out of debt. As Chair of the MDRT UK, she is also busy with the responsi- bilities of that role. “We have a one-day meet- ing in February, and I’m very blessed to have an amazing committee working with me who are extremely helpful because that is a very time-consuming thing.” Baxter has also found that her journey into business with her father has been just as much of a blessing. They give seminars together on wealth and estate planning. This year they spoke at the Top of the Table Annual Meeting about succession planning and family-owned businesses. “On the whole, it’s been an amazing experi-

ence,” Baxter said.

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it’s been an amazing experi- ence,” Baxter said. RT T CONTACT: Katy Baxter katymdrt@baxterlindley .co.uk

CONTACT:

Katy Baxter katymdrt@baxterlindley .co.uk

PEOPLE

PEOPLE Concierge planning Isaac provides wealth management with goal tracking and reassurance for busy clients. BY

Concierge

planning

Isaac provides wealth management with goal tracking and reassurance for busy clients.

BY ELIZABETH FUHRMAN

B rad Isaac, ADFS, owner of Finstyle Planning Solutions, in Abbotsford, Vic- toria, Australia, developed his compa-

ny’s name by combining the words “financial” and “lifestyle.” He spends a lot of time speak- ing with clients about their lifestyle goals and dreams, which becomes a large part of their financial planning process. It’s not about selling products, the six-year MDRT member said, but more about how Finstyle can help clients achieve their dreams of paying off their house, buying a new car, putting children through school or anything else. “They are protecting themselves in the event of any unfortunate things that can happen in life,” Isaac said. He began Finstyle five years ago, following the global financial crisis. Isaac left a partnership with four others to set up a new firm that would sup- port his existing clients’ goals and his preferred method of providing advice. Finstyle offers what Isaac calls “concierge ser- vice” to his clients and operates as a holistic finan- cial planning practice. He explained that most of Finstyle’s clients are too busy dealing with day-to- day issues to concentrate on wealth creation and management, which is where the firm flourishes. “They want to make sure that if anything happens to them or their family, they are going to be financially secure, but they also want someone they can bounce ideas off of,” Isaac said. “And they want someone who can regularly review how they are tracking every quarter, whether it be cash flow, budgeting, tracking their retirement goals and just to make sure they are allocating funds in the right area.” Isaac places a strong emphasis on wealth protection, as well as wealth creation. Forty to 50 percent of the business he writes is life insurance. “Stealing another MDRT friend’s quote:

‘Through investments, we look after clients if they live too long, if they die too soon or if they get sick along the way,’” he said. “That’s been an easy way to explain what I do for people.” Finstyle looks after about 200 clients, the majority meeting Isaac’s definition of wealth ac- cumulators between 30 and 40 years old. These people are typically moms and dads wanting to

build investments, reduce taxes, put their kids through school, pay off mortgages and make sure they are protected if anything happens. The average annual family income for Finstyle’s clients is about $200,000 to $300,000. “They are making good money, but I say to them: ‘It’s not about how much you earn; it’s about how much you save,’” Isaac said. “We’ve got clients that turn over $1 million a year, and I’ve got other clients that are only turning over $80,000 a year. There is a lot you can do with everyone.” As such, Finstyle also works with younger wealth accumulators — young adults starting their careers — who generally come to the firm through multigenerational planning. On the other side, 20 to 30 percent of Finstyle’s clients are retired, so the firm does retirement planning, as well. Finstyle’s youngest client is 18 years old and its oldest is 78. Isaac acknowledges the firm is picky about who it takes, as it operates with a fee-for-service model and charges an annual fee. Not all clients are comfortable with paying fees, Isaac said. “One of the things I wanted when we set up Finstyle was to have transparency in our business,” he said. “There is a lot of noise in the media all of the time about hidden commissions and how financial planners only get people into products because of fees and commissions. If there happens to be commissions associated with the work we do, then that offsets their fee for the year. So we still do receive commissions, but they go toward what my clients pay per annum.” “I’ve found over the years that when clients pay a fee, they value the service a lot more,” he said. While Finstyle does some marketing through social media to relay its lifestyle image, the com- pany mainly takes referrals from existing clients. “I’ve found the more I see my top 20 percent, the more likely we are to receive referrals from their friends and family,” Isaac said. “We see our top 20 to 30 percent of clients once a quarter — they know we care.” Isaac said he is always on the phone, as well, and for 16 years has made it a point to be the first person of the day to call his clients on their birthdays. Finstyle’s clients also know Isaac will ensure the right outcome for them, regardless

of whether it is profitable to his business. For example, last year Finstyle took an insurance company to court on behalf of one of its clients who had become a quadriplegic and ended up getting a $2.2 million payout for the client. From the work Finstyle did with that client, the word spread, and the business received many referrals. “I believe when you are out there doing the right thing for your clients, putting their interests before yours, seeing people, talking

“They are making good money, but I say to them: ‘It’s not about how much you earn; it’s about how much you save.’”

to people about their goals and helping them achieve their goals, the good work you do will just spread and people will talk about you,” Isaac said. “They become advocates for your business, as well as clients.” To aid clients, Isaac employs two full-time staff members — one who focuses on compli- ance issues and another who handles client services. Another part-time staffer helps with administrative work. Finstyle also uses mort- gage brokers, lawyers, accountants and estate planning specialists. In addition, Finstyle uses a research group for property investments. “These guys are there to ensure that I can do what I do best and what I get my energy from — my unique ability in the business — which is see- ing my clients and serving my clients,” Isaac said. Isaac has also made it a point to work with coaches and continue his education, and MDRT has factored heavily in his different committee and event involvement. “To be able to bring back to Australia a bit of view from the world stage is pretty import- ant, and clients understand that, too,” he said. “When you’ve got clients talking about MDRT to you, it’s a bit weird because I’ve obviously

spoken about it so much.”

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because I’ve obviously spoken about it so much.” RT T CONTACT: Brad Isaac brad@finstyle.com.au Elizabeth Fuhrman

CONTACT:

Brad Isaac

brad@finstyle.com.au

Elizabeth Fuhrman is a freelance writer and editor.

PEOPLE

Someone to trust

Williams’ niche is transitions, and he helps individuals define and meet new financial goals.

BY ELIZABETH FUHRMAN

I 2005, after a near-fatal car accident with

n

snow plow, six-year MDRT member Antoine Troy Williams, AAMS, CDFA,

a

began to look at his practice and at what he was doing for people in a whole different light. While he had been in the industry since 1999, it was no longer enough to sell someone the appropriate life insurance policy or investment. “My job was to make sure they were fully prepared for the worst-case scenario, as well as the best-case scenario,” said Williams, of Antoine

Williams & Associates Financial Services in Shel- burne, Vermont. “That, I would say, set me aside and made me who I am now.” Williams now owns a sole proprietorship, which he operates as a holistic financial planning firm. He and one employee, a client services manager, manage more than $80 million in advisory and brokerage assets and work with 183 households. “We help a select group of individuals going through a transition due to death, divorce, inher-

“This is a group of people who are really looking for somebody to trust.” AGE
“This is a group
of people
who are
really looking
for somebody
to trust.”
AGE FOTOSTOCK/GAIL ARMSTRONG

itance or retirement make smart decisions with their money that are in line with their values and their goals,” Williams said. “We do this by using a consulting process to identify where our clients are now, where they want to go and any gaps for getting there. Then, we work with a network of professional advisors, such as accountants and attorneys, to help our clients make informed decisions to increase the probability of them achieving their goals.” Williams’ town of Shelburne consists of fewer than 10,000 people, and his county is about 150,000 people. Most of his clients, he said, are just regular individuals and couples between ages 55 and 70. His clients’ incomes span a wide range since many people are first coming to him through a transition. For example, someone who has never invested before might have inherited $1 million. “This is a group of people who are really look- ing for somebody to trust or someone to work with them through a traumatic process, such as divorce, death or loss of a job,” Williams said. About half of Williams’ clients are women, many of whom have gone through a divorce. This led Williams to become a certified divorce finan- cial analyst and join the Association of Divorce Financial Planners and the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. “I can really understand not just the numbers, but understand the process and understand what people are going through,” he said. A unique quality of many of his clients is disin- terest in the markets and/or insurance products — they are really looking for a person to trust and to delegate many decisions to. “These are people who needed more than someone to just pick a stock for them or to sell them a life insurance policy,” Williams said. “They needed a long-term partner who is going to educate them and help them work toward their goals in worlds they are not familiar with.” Williams didn’t develop this transitions niche without help. He coordinates with a group of strategic partners, including accountants and trust attorneys, who from time to time have clients with a need for a financial advisor. These relationships developed from his consistent work throughout his career.

“Luckily enough for me, I’ve taken care of my community of clients extremely well,” Williams said. Williams believes the key to his success is look- ing after his clients but also being very proactive. “Our clients get called on every birthday or if there is a death or any change, such as getting a raise or changing a job,” he said. “Our clients are acknowledged for things we find. We’re acknowl- edging that our clients are people and not just dollar figures or account numbers.” Because of this investment in his clients, they have become Williams’ source for most of his referrals. “In our practice, our best clients are our cur- rent clients, and that’s how we run our business:

We do all we can to take care of our clients,” he said. “As we do that, I continually grow our busi- ness with the appropriate kinds of clients.” He also handles his workload by delegating the things he doesn’t need to handle, and he has built a practice that is truly efficient. For exam- ple, the client service manager ensures proactive appointments are scheduled and that the office runs efficiently. Subsequently, Williams really analyzes his processes so his clients have a con- sistent experience. In addition, the majority of the money he manages on the investment side is managed by other institutions. “I like to think there are a lot of people that can manage money when we’re talking about that side of the business, but my job is to get to know my clients so well that I can anticipate and/or make recommendations that are ap- propriate and timely and to do it consistently,” Williams said. Above everything else, Williams’ clients know he cares, and they know he will do whatever he can in his power to aid in achieving their goals. He calls his business a lifestyle business because it isn’t just about making money and working, but building a practice that allows him to drop off his kids at school, get home at a decent hour and take off when it is appropriate. “All of my recommendations to my clients are

in line with this, as well,” he said.

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RT T

Elizabeth Fuhrman is a freelance writer and editor.

RT T Elizabeth Fuhrman is a freelance writer and editor. CONTACT: Antoine Williams antoine@antoinewil

CONTACT:

Antoine Williams

antoine@antoinewil

liamsandassoc.com

MDRT MDRT STORE STORE

Focused Focused on on Your Your Success Success

VisitVisit mdrtstore.orgmdrtstore.org toto findfind youryour nextnext greatgreat idea.idea.
VisitVisit mdrtstore.orgmdrtstore.org toto findfind youryour nextnext greatgreat idea.idea.

Shop educational products and MDRT branded merchandise online.

educational products and MDRT branded merchandise online. Books Meeting Presentations Insignia Collection Multimedia

Books

Meeting Presentations

Insignia Collection

and MDRT branded merchandise online. Books Meeting Presentations Insignia Collection Multimedia Member Plaques Video Club

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PEOPLE

Q &

PEOPLE Q & A Alan Craig Kifer, CFP, LUTCF Location: Scottsdale, Arizona Membership stats: 10-year MDRT

A

Alan Craig Kifer, CFP, LUTCF

PEOPLE Q & A Alan Craig Kifer, CFP, LUTCF Location: Scottsdale, Arizona Membership stats: 10-year MDRT

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona Membership stats: 10-year MDRT member, 10 Top of the Table qualifications MDRT involvement: Industry Relations Committee member

MDRT involvement: Industry Relations Committee member “Short-term memory lapses lead many to take irrational,

“Short-term memory lapses lead many to take irrational, risky measures.”

How do you describe your practice?

I help families succeed at retirement planning.

This means ensuring their assets are protected,

ensuring they have income security for the rest

of their lives and assuring those they love have

peace of mind. My highest priority is to help

them live their purpose.

What is your target market?

I serve three distinct generational types. First,

folks already retired, known collectively as Henry

Fords (80+) and Bob Hope-ers (65–80). There are 60 million of them. Second is baby boomers

(50–65). They’re 100 million strong. Third, Gen

X (35–50). These are the 45 million hard-work-

ing, middle-class Americans.

What is your best marketing tip? Don’t forget your roots! If we forget where we came from, we’ll never know where we’re going. We shoulder the huge responsibility of teaching people how to be better stewards of the assets they’re blessed with now and in the future.

What do you find most fascinating about our profession? How it takes cycles of uncertainty and stress about the future before people turn back the page to the secret of life insurance and annuities. Short-term memory lapses lead many to take irrational, risky measures to overcome feelings of inadequacy about their personal financial situation.

How do you stay motivated month to month? Surround yourself with others who have the same moral compass. When you truly feel like part of an extended family, it is an unbelievable inspiration.

What is the main benefit of attending an MDRT meeting? Insurance and financial professionals can con- tinue to learn the tools and techniques necessary to guide the families they serve. MDRT meetings allow you to engage openly with like-minded professionals from around the world.

What tips would you give to new advisors? The secret to a successful career is hard work! There is no shortcut. When serving in the Air Force, I didn’t go from flight school directly to Top Gun instructor. There was a path that need- ed to be taken.

What are your interests outside of business? Playing chess; reading on a sandy, sunny beach; riding bikes with my wife; playing games at Chuck E. Cheese’s with my 4-year-old grandson; being challenged at racquetball with my young- est son; deep-sea fishing with my children. Most memorable are my daily morning walks hand-in- hand with my wife.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I leave where I’ll be in 10 years in God’s hands. However, just in case his plan is for me to be around that long, I share the following: I will be ever so slightly older, I will have had 120 months of goals and priorities, 522 weeks of bite-size challenges, 2,922 days of unique opportunities, 5.2 million minutes of time to use wisely in becoming better and 325 million breaths of life to live the purpose God has helped me choose — doing what I do to serve

others.

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Contact Alan Kifer at alan@life-services.net.

DISASTER BY CANCER One out of two men and one out of 2.5 women in

DISASTER BY CANCER

One out of two men and one out of 2.5 women in Japan have

cancer in their lifetime. Japan has a very good social security

program and national health insurance program, so people

may feel as if they don’t need extra money for treatment. But

they do. The type of treatment you can receive from the Na-

tional Health Insurance is determined by a “guideline” which

encompasses traditional therapy. Advanced treatment, such

as heavy particle radiotherapy or proton therapy, are effective

with fewer side effects — but are not included. If you choose

to take these treatments, it could cost you a fortune.

I have come across several cases in my career. One was a

teenage girl with cancer in her leg whose physician recom-

mended standard treatment, which was to amputate her leg.

A second opinion from a specialist recommended advanced

treatment that saved her leg. In another case, a man had a tu-

mor near the base of his tongue. The physician explained the

standard treatment was to remove his tongue, as well as half

of his face. Advanced treatment could have saved his tongue

and face, but he could not afford the expensive medical fees.

Having a fund to fight the disease can definitely change the

quality of life of my clients. That is why I strongly recommend

“Three Dread Disease Insurance” (similar to critical illness

plan) to all of my clients.

— Junji Yamaguchi, Tokyo, Japan, 13-year MDRT member

At the end of every client meeting, ask: “What do I need to do to
At the end of every client meeting,
ask: “What do I need to do to earn
your referrals?”
— Judy Byle-Jones, CLU, CH.F.C.,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
31-year MDRT member
CH.F.C., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 31-year MDRT member RETIRING HAPPY Retirement lifestyle planning is planning for

RETIRING HAPPY

Ontario, Canada, 31-year MDRT member RETIRING HAPPY Retirement lifestyle planning is planning for a balanced

Retirement lifestyle planning is planning for a balanced

life. Retirement should be the best years of our life. Start

with a vision. Add some plans for activities. Be prepared

to have enough money to sustain your lifestyle. Plan what

you want to do with your time. Finally, add a dash of

good attitude. Retire happy.

— Cristine Tan, Manila, Philippines, 2-year MDRT member

DELIGHTFUL DINNERS While having vendor-sponsored dinners at a lovely restaurant is not new, I make
DELIGHTFUL DINNERS
While having vendor-sponsored dinners at a lovely
restaurant is not new, I make sure I place clients and
prospects together at a table where a connection
can be made or they have similar interests, like
travel, golf or dancing. We have place cards made,
and I call the clients that morning to tell them about
some of the people who will be at their table and
their connection. This reduces no-shows and makes
the dinner conversation lively.
— Karin Tyson, CLU, CFP,
Houston, Texas, 15-year MDRT member

insideMDRT Top of the Table wrap-up 40 | Annual Meeting update 45 | MDRT Foundation

MDRT

inside MDRT Top of the Table wrap-up 40 | Annual Meeting update 45 | MDRT Foundation

Top of the Table wrap-up 40 | Annual Meeting update 45 | MDRT Foundation 48 Production and application 50

45 | MDRT Foundation 48 Production and application 50 POWER OF YOUTH The youngest current m

POWER OF YOUTH

The youngest current

members of Court of the Table are a 22-year-old woman in Thailand and a 20-year-old man in Indonesia.

ONLINE SUCCESS

12,113 members used MDRT’s online application in 2014, the first year it was available.

PAST WISDOM

One of the sales techniques shared at the first MDRT meeting in 1927 was,

“Promise to buy a rural fellow a fine new pair of pants if he’ll sign up.”

HELPING OTHERS

Since 1959, the MDRT Foundation has awarded more than $29 million in grants to charitable organizations worldwide.

INSIDE MDRT

Ian Green interviewing Condoleezza Rice.
Ian Green interviewing
Condoleezza Rice.

Top of the Table Annual Meeting

Member panels mixed with new speakers adds variety.

BY SCOTT ROGERS

Dudum
Dudum

M embers and renowned speakers shared the Main Platform stage at the recent Top of the Table Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Programming segments were divided between panel discussions among members and the regular Main Platform format. Running from September 17 to 20, the meeting provided MDRT’s top producers with inspirational messages on leadership, and strong takeaways that attend- ees could implement into their businesses immediately. “As we stand here in San Francisco, we are in the epicenter of strategic thinking,” Top of the Table Divisional Vice President, Jason J. Dudum, LUTCF, a 10-year MDRT member from Lafayette, Califor- nia, told attendees. Follow along across the next several pages for a recap of the event, broken down by individual speakers and panel discussions.

Speakers

Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state, shared her views with attendees on the state of national affairs. She discussed the September 11, 2001, attacks and the terrorists who carried them out, along with the economic crisis of 2008. She noted how these two events have changed the way people think of how their governments interact with them, from security to keeping financial institutions viable. Touching on the ongoing turbulence in the Middle East, Rice noted how unfair it was for most of the Western world to become fed up with newly liberated countries in that region, stating that their systems of government were “coming completely apart,” and cautioning that it will take patience and years for these areas to stabilize completely. After a wide-ranging discussion on foreign affairs concluded, 16-year MDRT member Ian Green, from London, England, joined Rice on stage to pose members’ questions. Rice told at- tendees that if she could do anything in the world, it would be to “empower women worldwide.” Dick Vitale always wanted to be a basketball coach. Stepping down from the Main Platform stage to walk among the rows of seated mem- bers, Vitale shared his experiences growing up in New Jersey and working his way up through the basketball coaching ranks. It wasn’t an easy process — he told attendees that early on, “I got more rejections than the Harvard dean of busi- ness gives out!”

Vitale

Sullenberger

Eventually getting his shot as a high school head coach, Vitale made his way up to the college ranks, coaching the little-known University of Detroit to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tour- nament, and ultimately reaching the professional level as the head coach for the Detroit Pistons. After being unceremoniously fired following just a season and a half coaching the Pistons — which Vitale noted his heart simply wasn’t in — he entered into broadcasting in what he thought

would be a stopgap in his coaching career. Against his best-laid plans, he ultimately fell in love with his new job, he said. Since then, Vitale has become one of the most prominent sports personalities in the world and has used this standing to actively support charities, including the foundation of his close friend and former basketball coach, the late James T. Valvano. He implored members to check out this charity, the

V Foundation, and to give back to any institution

they feel is important. Most importantly, Vitale inspired members with his abounding positive energy, telling them, “When you think you’re mediocre, you’ll be mediocre. When you think you’re special, you’ll be special.” Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III, burst into the public consciousness when he successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River following a plane malfunction. Sullenberger recounted this experience to attendees, using

flight audio from the cockpit to tell his story. At- tendees couldn’t help but laugh at the recording

of Sullenberger’s demeanor as he prepared to

land the plane on water, calmly answering the flight controller’s question of if he would be able

to make it to a nearby airport with a simple, “We

can’t do it; we’re going to be in the Hudson.”

After sharing this harrowing experience,

>>

After sharing this harrowing experience, >> JIMMY V : To read an excerpt from James Valvano’s

JIMMY V: To read an excerpt from James Valvano’s classic 1987 Main Platform presentation, check out the January/February 2014 issue of Round the Table. To purchase the full presentation in audio or video formats, please visit www.mdrtstore.org.

INSIDE MDRT

Sullenberger discussed his life and what he’s learned about being a strong leader, and recapped how his parents and grandparents always expected him to strive for excellence. Sullenberger advised attendees to, “Live your life in such a way that your values are inherent.” He closed with a quote from a friend, telling attendees, “When leaders treat followers with respect, followers respond with trust.” W. Luther Pierce IV, CLU, told attendees, “We are in the ‘and then what?’ business.” The 31-year MDRT member from Greensboro, North Carolina, talked about the cases that have really stuck with him over the course of his career. Going through his briefcase, Pierce pulled out one case after another, commenting on their significance and what each taught him. To Pierce, these cases represent the progression of his career, and through each one, his belief in the im- portance of life insurance was further strengthened. “I take financial dreams and turn them into financial realities,” he said. The founder of charity: water, Scott Harrison, played a moving video showing just how difficult life can be for millions of people around the world who lack clean water. Starting his career as a nightclub promoter, Harrison explained how after several years in this profession he was “emotionally bankrupt.” “I wanted my life to look exactly the opposite of everything I was doing,” he said. This led Harrison to quit his job and visit Africa in an attempt to find some purpose. This is where he first encountered the clean water crisis, leading to the founding of charity: water in an attempt to “reinvent charity” by remaining com- pletely transparent to all donors. Harrison noted that since its founding in 2006, 4.4 million people have been given clean water, but another 800 million still need help. He asked for the help of MDRT members and was presented with a $30,000 check. Mark Sanborn discussed principles of leadership with attendees and how to continue to reach a high level of success. “The truth is transferable; change the questions to change your life,” he told attendees, urging members to fulfill their potential. Throughout his presentation, Sanborn struck on how members can enhance the value of their services by enhancing the value of themselves. “Once a day, find someone or something you can do something extraordinary for,” he said. “Little things make a big difference.”

PANELS

LESSONS FROM LEADERS

Moderator

Philip E. Harriman, CLU, ChFC 32-year MDRT member from Falmouth, Maine

Panelists

Ralph Antolino Jr., JD, CLU 33-year MDRT member from Columbus, Ohio

Van Mueller, LUTCF 26-year MDRT member from Brookfield, Wisconsin

Michael L. Weintraub, CLU 39-year MDRT member from Walnut Creek, California

Moderated by 2007 MDRT President Harriman, this panel discussion touched on how these members started in the business and where they see the field moving in the future. “I want to be like my dad,”

Lessons From Leaders

Antolino said, noting how his father was an insurance sales- man for his entire life and always treated the profession with such dignity. Mueller said his practice is built on “getting about as many people as I can, and asking them — not telling them — what products they’d like,” while also mentioning that soon he will have to become more fluent in social media. Weintraub said he foresees revolutions in the field, where large companies like Google and Amazon will begin selling life insurance and going after the middle market, but that this will create more opportunities for MDRT members with high- net-worth clients. Harriman summarized what he learned from the conversations, saying that the panelists were “three icons of

our business that went from selling products to earning the right to give advice.”

them that growth is a long- term process.

GENERATIONS

SALES STRATEGIES NOW

OF SUCCESS

Moderator

Panelists

Clay Gillespie, CFP, CIM 13-year MDRT member from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Alphonso B. Franco, RHU, RCIS 20-year MDRT member from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Panelists

Randy L. Scritchfield, CFP, LUTCF 30-year MDRT member from Damascus, Maryland

Malcolm Charles Baxter 11-year MDRT member from Tring, England

Howard E. Sharfman 19-year MDRT member from Chicago, Illinois

Katy Baxter 8-year MDRT member from Tring, England

Donald P. Speakman, MSFS, CFP 36-year MDRT member from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

David H. Levy, CLU, ChFC 15-year MDRT member from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

This presentation did not have a moderator, but instead featured the panelists taking turns walking to the stage and giving some of their best ideas for how to bring in sales. Scritchfield advised attendees to keep in mind that, when dealing with afflu- ent clients, you have to find the individual they delegate their finances to. “How do rich people handle their finances? They don’t,” he said. Speakman noted how he installed a chart on his desk that outlines how the econ- omy has gone up and down over the years. If his clients are feeling nervous about the value of their funds in the market, he said, he’ll simply point to the chart to remind

Leon L. Levy, CLU, RHU 42-year MDRT member from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Two generations of producers shared the stage during this presentation, discussing what it has been like for them to transition the business down to the younger advisor, who also happens to be their child. David Levy shared that one of the biggest challenges a transitioning business can face is getting employees to buy into the new generation’s leadership, but noted that, once accomplished, the sky’s the limit. “We’ve developed plans for if the grandkids want to enter the business,” he said, showing how positive this experience can be for

Markets Matter everyone involved. To learn about whether or not these advisors plan on ever
Markets Matter
everyone involved.
To learn about whether or
not these advisors plan on
ever retiring, turn to Page
20, and for more about Katy
Baxter, turn to Page 30.
MARKETS MATTER
Moderator
Simon John Gibson, Dip PFS
15-year MDRT member from
Newmarket, England
ing his “contestants” to the
stage, Gibson asked each to
describe the markets where
they focus.
Tolani mentioned how he
works in 53 different terri-
tories, often working with a
multitude of specialists to
meet each client’s needs.
McLeod has chosen to
delegate most of his work,
Panelists
he said, instead investing his
time in working directly with
his clients. “When you make
Sanjay Tolani
12-year MDRT member from
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
connection, people believe
you,” he explained.
Paterson and Varas dis-
a
Dale McLeod, RFC
23-year MDRT member from
Maraval, Trinidad and Tobago
cussed how regulations have
impacted their businesses, with
Paterson explaining the media
is
often leading the regula-
tors to build “bad headlines
Susan Catherine Paterson, FChFP
11-year MDRT member from
Loganholme, Queensland, Australia
in
Australia,” but that the
Micheline Varas, RHU
13-year MDRT member from
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
This presentation, hosted by
Gibson, took on a game show
format. Humorously introduc-
“media doesn’t always portray
the right story.” Varas noted
increased regulations have
made working with specialists
different, and they must often
use agreements with other ad-
visors. “It’s our responsibility to
remain as transparent as pos-
sible,” she said, and cautioned
attendees to do the same.
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NOW AVAILABLE 2014 Top of the Table Meeting Presentations GAIN A NEW Perspective featured presenters
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INSIDE MDRT

Your meeting, your pace

The Annual Meeting’s new schedule and sessions mean a highly customizable experience for attendees.

BY ABBY PUCHNER

T he MDRT Annual Meeting

is evolving.” In late 2014, MDRT

members began seeing this teaser for

the 2015 MDRT Annual Meeting, taking place June 14 to 17 in New Orleans, Louisiana. What it meant for members is, after two years of record-setting attendance, the Executive Committee seized the opportunity to consid- er new ways to optimize and update MDRT’s largest meeting of the year. The goal became to reflect a more progressive learning style — con- tinuing to encourage members to take advantage of its opportunities for personal and professional growth. So MDRT’s Program Development Com- mittee (PDC) and Executive Committee sat down to brainstorm. They surveyed members, combing through past meetings to determine what worked and what didn’t resonate with past attendees. The early discussions included adding an extra day to the meeting and com- pletely reimagining Main Platform. Both ideas were eventually scrapped, but everyone agreed the programming format could benefit from re- tooling, according to PDC Focus Sessions Chair Edward C. Skelly, CLU, ChFC. “A lot of members wanted a more interactive educational experience,” the 21-year member from Ashburn, Virginia said. “The challenge going in for us was to keep the best parts of past meetings while using new concepts to make their Annual Meeting experience as valuable and innovative as it can possibly be.” This year, attendees have the chance to expe- rience the result: four additional types of session formats, resulting in a reworked schedule from

years past with more participant-based content to maximize interactivity. Too many educational presentations, Skelly said, don’t offer the engage- ment the audience needs to maintain those ideas once the session ends — particularly when they’re still recovering from a long flight, finding time to connect with friends and sightsee, or trying to navigate the meeting as a first-time attendee. What might be a great takeaway idea on its own can still get lost by the time the meeting ends.

Schedule at a glance

Traditionally, Annual Meeting attendees spent their mornings in Main Platform presenta- tions, a series of motivational, entertaining and inspirational messages designed to energize attendees for the rest of the meeting. In the

>>

ConneXion Zone

INSIDE MDRT

Main Platform
Main Platform

SCHEDULE

HIGHLIGHTS

Monday morning

n Main Platform

Monday afternoon

n

n

Special Sessions

MDRT Speaks

Tuesday (all day)

n

n

n

Special Sessions

Focus Sessions

no Main Platform

Wednesday morning

n

n

Cornerstone

Presentations

Echo Sessions

Wednesday afternoon

n

n

Focus Sessions

Main Platform

afternoon, they transitioned to Focus Sessions, which comprise industry education components led by member and nonmember experts. More technical in nature, these presentations include a more niche perspective that captures MDRT’s seven educational pillars: Wealth Management, Protection Planning and Products, Whole Per- son, Sales Ideas, Marketing, Top of the Table and language-specific content. In between these sessions, attendees could browse the MDRT Store, make a donation at the MDRT Foundation Booth, sit in on informal round-table discussions or drop by Special Ses- sions, longer and more specialized sessions on topics not covered in the Focus Sessions. The 2015 Annual Meeting still includes each of these sessions and exhibits, but will debut

three new ones, giving attendees more room to tailor their experience and glean more informa-

tion than ever before — no matter their profes-

sional experience or their past involvement with MDRT. The following highlights the scheduling changes in 2015:

New sessions

Cornerstone Presentations — Taking place Wednesday morning, Cornerstone Presentations

give audience members the chance to choose from a number of Main Platform-quality ses-

sions on practice management, sales strategies, technology, and health and wellness. Imme-

diately following each presentation is a Focus

Session to further explore the related topics. MDRT offers Cornerstone Presentations in several languages.

Echo Sessions — Featuring MDRT native-lan- guage speakers trained in the “echoing process,” these language-specific sessions are designed for attendees to meet and discuss the presenta- tions taking place during the Annual Meeting on Monday and Tuesday. Structured to focus on reviewing and digesting key takeaways, Echo Sessions provide attendees additional context for fitting what they’ve just learned into their local markets. These gatherings take place con- currently with the Cornerstone Presentations and serve to solidify members’ understanding of the tips and principles introduced.

MDRT Speaks — This general session takes place

Monday afternoon in the Main Platform hall and includes a series of creative and innovative busi- ness concepts delivered by MDRT members in

a variety of presentation formats. A faster-paced session, MDRT Speaks is designed to provide quick productivity and business practice tips.

Recurring sessions and highlights

Aside from Main Platform, Focus Sessions and Special Sessions, MDRT will again set up the ConneXion Zone. In its third year, this space fuses speakers and exhibitors via more than 120 sessions. Speaker Zones, the Big Idea Theater, the Great Conversations area and the Technology Zone are some of ways attendees can learn from fellow members, check out the latest technolo- gy, hear what is happening in the industry from

leading exhibitors, or view video clips of popular speakers from the Annual Meeting archives. The popular Idea Exchanges also return to the Annual Meeting in 2015, giving attendees

a chance at the microphone to share their best

sales tips, marketing methodology and practice management ideas. Headed up by a moderator, Idea Exchanges offer the audience the utmost level of interactivity and give voice to members in a more non-traditional, pared-down setting. “We’re truly excited about the changes in the programming this year,” Skelly said. “On behalf of the PDC, I think the inclusion of these more interactive sessions means more opportunities for development in the MDRT membership than ever.”

Featured speakers

The year prior to the Annual Meeting is a busy time for the PDC — and when facing a schedul- ing adjustment like the one in 2015, the respon- sibility of selecting engaging, expert speakers becomes a very real challenge, according to Focus Session Captain Kimberly A. Harding, CLU, a nine-year member from Woburn, Massa- chusetts. “We’re really committed to driving content this year,” she said. “As we face a changing industry and embrace a new generation of advi- sors, we want to establish MDRT as a resource early on.”

The market is alive and well for clients to protect their income regardless of whether they have disability insurance coverage. Corey Lee Anderson, a three-year MDRT member from Min- neapolis, Minnesota, addresses how easy it is to supplement existing (if they have any) coverage to make it complete protection instead of the flawed plan many clients have in “Protecting the ‘Dash’ instead of the ‘Period.’” The plan doesn’t matter until it matters — and then it is all that matters, according to Anderson. A frequent industry speaker, he has more than 15 years experience in disability insurance. We all want our children to be generous when they grow up, but do we lead by example and share those acts with our children, family and friends? In this Whole Per- son session, 30-year MDRT member Robert N. Garneau, CLU, ChFC, of Bedford, New Hampshire, pulls together examples of MDRT members touching lives via random acts of kindness that truly made a differ- ence. The Whole Person concept teaches that living a balanced life can help show your chil- dren how to become outstanding individuals. By taking action when you get home, Garneau said, you touch lives in ways you could not have imagined.

said, you touch lives in ways you could not have imagined. It’s no secret people tend
said, you touch lives in ways you could not have imagined. It’s no secret people tend
said, you touch lives in ways you could not have imagined. It’s no secret people tend

It’s no secret people tend to do business with peo- ple they like, according to Joseph A. Trovato. You can be the best financial advisor in the world, but if no one knows or trusts you, you will be a very good, but lonely financial planner with lots of time on your hands. Using a play on the TV show “Seinfeld,” where “nothing” really means everything, the 12-year MDRT member from Bakersfield, California, explains how and why to do successful client events — also illus- trating why traditional mission statements don’t work and how he achieved Court of the Table status in just two years. Reclaim and reinvest hours of time from your week doing what matters — developing deeper relationships with clients and high-net-worth prospects. Author of the acclaimed “The Fast Forward MBA in Selling,” Joy Baldridge’s 25 tips incorpo- rate words, phrases and questions sure to help you close more sales and significantly impact your year. Thousands have taken advantage of her “Listening Challenge” to discover how to make minor chang- es in their selling styles to achieve results. Generation X is a group of young executives and commu- nity leaders. They obsess over serious issues yet are reluctant to discuss them, according to longtime financial advisor Bryce Sanders, who provides a spotlight on this generation of 30- to 50-year- olds — including the wrong solutions they often embrace. A frequent Round the Table and Finan- cial Times contributor (see his article on Page 10), Sanders discusses how to tactfully bring up sensitive subjects with this market and put them

bring up sensitive subjects with this market and put them at ease. RT T VIEW THE
bring up sensitive subjects with this market and put them at ease. RT T VIEW THE
at ease. RT T VIEW THE DETAILED SCHEDULE for the 2015 MDRT Annual Meeting at
at ease.
RT T
VIEW THE DETAILED SCHEDULE
for the 2015 MDRT Annual Meeting at

www.mdrt.org/2015am.

INSIDE MDRT | MDRT FOUNDATION

Building a priceless bond

By participating in service projects, Hruby feels he receives more than he gives.

BY FIONA ODUMOSU-WATKINS

Alex Sheen
Alex
Sheen
more than he gives. BY FIONA ODUMOSU-WATKINS Alex Sheen F rom time to time, the MDRT

F rom time to time, the MDRT Foundation partners with charita-

ble organizations to develop volunteer service projects for MDRT members to give back to communities in need. In the past, MDRT members have built homes, constructed playgrounds and distributed shoes for adults and children. Seventeen-year MDRT member Todd D. Hru- by, LUTCF, an MDRT Foundation Silver Knight from Lincoln, Nebraska, explains what motivated

him to volunteer for the MDRT Foundation Camp Riley service project in May 2013 and why he encourages MDRT members to volunteer.

What inspired you to volunteer for your first service project? The motivation and inspiration really came from two areas: my fellow MDRT members and a cause close to home. My MDRT friends who participated in past service projects had such an inner glow about them, and I wanted to be part of that. Volunteering to build a fence for Camp Riley’s

WHERE YOUR GRANTS ARE NOW

The MDRT Foundation partnered with the International Book Project at the 2007 MDRT Annual Meeting and with Heifer International at the 2009 Annual Meeting. These charitable organizations have made the following program advancements to provide sustainable change, education and economic empowerment for children and adults around the globe.

International Book Project (IBP): Ships donated books to underserved communities worldwide.

$76,000 in MDRT Foundation funding n IBP launched its first pilot project provid- ing students in South Africa with 75 e-readers stocked with almost 8,000 e-books. The e-read- er library serves six schools, and this digital literacy program allows IBP to send more books at a reduced cost, while the students have the added benefit of access to technology — many of them for the first time. This year, IBP passed

— many of them for the first time. This year, IBP passed the 6 million mark

the 6 million mark in books shipped to its inter- national partners since its founding.

n To promote reading and cultural literacy in Kentucky, where the IBP office and warehouse are located, IBP developed the Books as Bridges program. American students are matched with international students to develop a pen-pal exchange, which builds global friendships and excitement about writing and learning.

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

horse therapy program for children with dis- abilities was something I really cared about. My wife, Deb, and I had talked about volunteering for a service project and, since this would help with children, we knew we had to do it. My wife is a pediatric nurse and we both love kids, which is why we have five of our own, and also love giving back to help youth in our community. This service project took place the week of our 25th wedding anniversary — and without a doubt, it turned out to be the best anniversary we have ever had. Volunteering together to build a fence also built a priceless bond.

What’s your favorite memory from this event? During lunch, some Camp Riley campers came by to meet the volunteers. What an incredible ex- perience to see the profound effect the camp has for not only the kids, but their families as well. To hear a mother say the only time she had ever seen her child smile was on a horse at the camp was very moving. Dry eyes were not an option.

Heifer International: Provides livestock and agrarian training to people in impoverished communities.

$171,000 in MDRT Foundation grant funding

n Last year, Heifer launched the Heifer Global

Impact Monitoring System, which was developed as a means to collect data related to its development work. This data shows the clear impact Heifer’s work has in the livelihoods of the families they work with.

n Heifer reports that, among the sample fam-

ilies included in the 14 projects from 10 country programs, household incomes increased an aver- age of 98.4 percent. The number of meals eaten per day increased an average of 8.42 percent, and women’s control over productive assets improved an average of 115 percent. Heifer has increased participation from about 150 families per program to more than 1,000 — up to 10,000 families and more in some areas.

than 1,000 — up to 10,000 families and more in some areas. To find out more,

To find out more, go to: www.mdrtfoundation.org

Why do you think service projects are an important activity? The MDRT Foundation service projects bring our membership together to benefit others in a way that isn’t typical for us. To see a diverse group of members come together for a single purpose is amazing. Working hard together to help others is good for the soul.

Why would you encourage MDRT members to volunteer for a future service project? Volunteering for a service project provides a unique opportunity to give back on a level you may not have previously done. If you try it once, you are hooked. When you are volunteering, you may think you are the one making a difference, but then you realize the people you are helping are making the difference in your life. You get

back way more than you could possibly give.

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Fiona Odumosu-Watkins is the MDRT Foundation’s com- munications and recognition supervisor. Contact her at fodumosu@mdrt.org.

recognition supervisor. Contact her at fodumosu@mdrt.org. FOR MORE INFORMATION If you are interested in volunteering
recognition supervisor. Contact her at fodumosu@mdrt.org. FOR MORE INFORMATION If you are interested in volunteering

FOR MORE INFORMATION If you are interested in volunteering for a future MDRT Foundation service project, please email foundation@ mdrt.org.

INSIDE MDRT

INSIDE MDRT

Qualify as a

2015 member

Here is what you need to know to become or stay a member.

BY THOMAS ENSIGN

M DRT has made significant changes to the application criteria and process in recent years. The newest — and

biggest — is the Online Membership Application System. When it launched in December 2013, more than 12,100 applicants used the system to apply for and receive 2014 membership approv- al. The entire process, start to finish, took each online applicant only about 10 minutes. Whether applying for membership online or with the traditional paper form, returning MDRT members are reminded of the 2015 membership requirements, as described below.

Qualification methods

2015 MDRT membership (based on 2014 produc- tion) may be renewed with commissions, premi- ums or income earned in 2014. First-time members must choose either the commission or premium qualification methods. (Note: Monetary amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.)

Commission — A minimum of $92,000 of eligible commissions paid is required, $46,000 of which must come from products listed under “unlimited credit/risk protection.” The remaining produc- tion may come from products listed in either

the unlimited or limited credit categories. The production requirement for Court of the Table is $276,000 in eligible commissions and $552,000 for Top of the Table.

Premium — A minimum of $184,000 in eligible premiums is required, $92,000 of which must come from products listed in the unlimited cred- it/risk protection category. The remaining pro- duction may come from products listed in either the unlimited or limited credit categories. The production requirement is $552,000 for Court of the Table and $1,104,000 for Top of the Table.

Income — Anyone with prior MDRT member- ship is eligible to apply using the income method. (First-time members must use commission or premiums to demonstrate qualification for mem- bership.) A minimum of $158,000 in annual gross income from the sale of insurance and financial products is required. At least $46,000 must be income from new business generated during the production year, and $46,000 must come from income associated with risk protection prod- ucts (listed in the unlimited credit/risk protection category). The same business could satisfy both requirements, such as with the sale of new life insurance policies. The requirements for Court of the Table and Top of the Table are $474,000 and $948,000, respectively, in eligible gross income. Both Court of the Table and Top of the Table applicants qualifying with income must meet the minimum of $46,000 in new business and $46,000 in risk protection business.

Verifying production

The change in production reporting saves time for members by streamlining the membership re- newal process. Current members with 10 or more years of membership (Qualifying and Life or Life members) who have met the current production requirements may apply for Qualifying and Life status without submitting certifying letters.

Qualifying member — A first-time applicant becomes a Qualifying member when their

UNLIMITED CREDIT/RISK PROTECTION PRODUCTS

At least $46,000 of the commission or income and $92,000 of the premium production requirement must come from prod- ucts listed in the unlimited credit/risk protection category. This serves as a threshold that must be crossed before an applicant can use any credit from the limited credit category. Once crossing the threshold, applicants may use all credits from limited credit products to meet the MDRT requirement. In addition, if using the income method of qualification, an additional $46,000 must be attributable to new business income. It is possible that the same business could satisfy both the unlimited credit and new business categories.

Products from life insurance companies

Commission/fee credit

Premium credit

Accidental death and dismemberment (individual)

100% of first-year commission

100% of first-year premium

Critical illness (individual)

100% of first-year commission

100% of first-year premium

100% of first-year commission 100% of first-year premium Life (individual) Up to annual premium/target premium 100%

Life (individual)

Up to annual premium/target premium

100% of first-year commission

100% of first-year premium

Deposits in excess of annual/target premium/top up

100% of commission paid

6% of excess premium

Single premium (whole life and investment)

100% of first-year commission

6% of first-year premium

Short-term endowment rider (max. 15 years)

100% of first-year commission

6% of first-year premium

100% of first-year commission 6% of first-year premium Accidental death and dismemberment (group) 100% of

Accidental death and dismemberment (group)

100% of first-year commission

10% of first-year premium

100% of first-year commission 10% of first-year premium Disability income contracts (group) 100% of first-year

Disability income contracts (group)

100% of first-year commission

10% of first-year premium

100% of first-year commission 10% of first-year premium Long-term care (group) 100% of first-year commission 10%

Long-term care (group)

100% of first-year commission

10% of first-year premium

100% of first-year commission 10% of first-year premium Single premium and/or short-term endowment (max. 15 years)

Single premium and/or short-term endowment (max. 15 years)

LIMITED CREDIT

100% of first-year commission

6% of first-year premium

Products

Commission/fee credit

Premium credit

Health care (individual)

100% of first-year commission

100% of first-year premium

Health care (group)

100% of first-year commission

10% of first-year premium

100% of first-year commission 10% of first-year premium Securities 100% of commission on new money invested

Securities

100% of commission on new money invested

6% of new money invested

of commission on new money invested 6% of new money invested Financial planning fees/fees for advice

Financial planning fees/fees for advice

100% of the net fee

100% of the gross fee

INSIDE MDRT

INSIDE MDRT

application papers are approved. Appli- cants for Qualifying status under the com- mission or premium qualification methods must submit certifying letters that list the amount of commissions paid or premiums collected. The certifying letter(s) need to be signed by an official of the company that pays the applicant’s commissions. Also acceptable is a certifying letter completed by a representative of the company, bro- ker-dealer or brokerage agency; a certi- fied public accountant or equivalent; or a representative of the applicant’s personal agency, corporation or office. Returning members applying under the income method (first-time members are not eligible) may sign their own income certifying letter. Applicants submitting with income need to meet the minimums required in both risk-protection (unlimited products) and new business products. It is possible that the same business — the sale of new life insurance policies, for example — could satisfy both requirements.

Qualifying and Life member — An appli- cant with 10 previous years of membership status may apply as a Qualifying and Life member by attesting that they have met current minimum production levels and by paying dues.

Life member — Applicants for Life status do not need to meet qualifying production, but they must submit an application and pay dues every year to renew membership.

Thomas Ensign is MDRT’s Member Services director. Contact him at tensign@mdrt.org.

Member Services director. Contact him at tensign@mdrt.org. LEARN MORE: The Executive Committee has established

LEARN MORE: The Executive Committee has established production requirements for 2016 (earned with 2015 production). Visit www.mdrt.org for details.

COUNTRY

COMMISSION

PREMIUM

INCOME

ANGOLA

82,800

165,600

142,200

ANGUILLA

44,900

89,800

77,200

ANTIGUA

139,700

279,400

240,300

ARGENTINA

193,200

386,400

332,300

ARMENIA

13,533,200

27,066,400

23,277,100

ARUBA

86,400

172,800

148,600

AUSTRALIA

128,300

256,600

220,700

AZERBAIJAN

38,500

77,000

66,200

BAHAMAS

72,500

145,000

124,700

BAHRAIN

25,500

51,000

43,900

BANGLADESH

1,168,400

2,336,800

2,009,600

BARBADOS

108,600

217,200

186,800

BELARUS

66,994,400

133,988,800

115,230,400

BELGIUM

82,700

165,400

142,200

BELIZE

86,200

172,400

148,300

BERMUDA

131,100

262,200

225,500

BOLIVIA

266,800

533,600

458,900

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

45,100

90,200

77,600

BOTSWANA

230,000

460,000

395,600

BRAZIL

110,400

331,200

189,900

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

92,000

184,000

158,200

BRUNEI

51,800

155,400

89,100

BULGARIA

55,200

110,400

94,900

CAMBODIA

141,984,500

567,938,000

244,213,300

CANADA

116,100

232,200

199,700

CAYMAN ISLANDS

59,200

118,400

101,800

CHANNEL ISLANDS

56,000

112,000

96,300

CHILE

28,786,800

57,573,600

49,513,300

COLOMBIA

73,002,000

146,004,000

125,563,400

COSTA RICA

18,611,600

37,223,200

32,012,000

CROATIA

349,600

699,200

601,300

CURACAO

62,700

125,400

107,800

CYPRUS

35,100

70,200

60,400

CZECH REPUBLIC

1,276,100

2,552,200

2,194,900

DOMINICA

111,000

222,000

190,900

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

1,113,200

2,226,400

1,914,700

ECUADOR

40,600

81,200

69,800

EGYPT

147,200

441,600

253,200

EL SALVADOR

42,200

84,400

72,600

ESTONIA

671,600

1,343,200

1,155,200

FIJI ISLANDS

65,900

131,800

113,300

FRANCE