Awards & Engraving

January '17

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A&E JANUARY 2017 • 15 Sales & Marketing was married, he was an attorney, and his specialty was Estate Planning and Wealth Building. He was also a teacher (Professor at Indiana University on Insurance and Law and under 35 years of age). But more important was his process of selling that involved his sales ability, his knowledge of insurance, and his teaching process of informing the prospect and gaining him respect from the prospect. I eventually found out a couple of interesting facts about him: One of his clients was Tommy La Sorta, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bart had an office in Palm Springs, California, and Indianapolis. Bart also wrote the largest life insurance policy (at that time) ever written on Mel Simon, the CEO of the largest shopping center company in the world. The policy was for $14 million and Bart had to have several insurance companies write the policy in order to spread the loss if the man died. Mr. Simon did die several years later. The point I'm making is that this young salesman had an amazing ability and had accomplished much in his young career. Before I finished my selec- tion, he gave me an order for plaques— he invested with me about 10 percent of the commission after he made the sale. I bring this story to you because I continue to believe that the heart of your business is sales. You must either be the sales seg- ment of your business or you must hire a mouth piece to represent you to sell your products or services. BACK TO FORMING OUR THINK TANK TEAM Focus Group: No one knows all the answers to everything, but there is always someone who does know the answer. I have always believed that, "We become like the people we are around." That is why assembling a Think Tank is so important to your personal and profes- sional success. All of us will have someone within this group that will influence us in different ways, but the experience is sure to be dif- ferent with each of us. Nora and I established the Recogni- tion Roundtable in 1998. The Recog- nition Roundtable is a select group of award and promotional products spe- cialists in North America. This focus group gets together formally at least twice a year, but its members talk, email and correspond daily. This exchange of ideas and experiences has an unbeliev- able value—if the members take advan- tage of all that is available to them, they really benefit. A Focus Group presents a wealth of information, but it also builds a bond of diverse personalities that exchange ideas that benefit all its members. The involvement in a focus group for both the participation and exchange of thoughts can benefit you greatly. This will work if you offer something to the group—it is a give and take, not all just take. It is also important for the per- sonalities to solidify in order for you to receive the full benefits for you and your business life. Not all groups are for everyone. You become like the people you are around and it is important to be around the same type of people as yourself. If you get in a group that doesn't work then keep searching for a group that does. But first decide what you want from the group and what you think you can offer to the group. Some of you might desire a buyers group or you might want an exclusive cat- alog or are even just joining to increase your knowledge by being around experi- enced, successful dealers. Trade Education: There has to be a starting point for all of us—you may not be ready for the Focus Group, but all of us are ready for more Trade Education. Our industry is a specialty one and expe- rience is the best education, but there are basics to all businesses, and we must learn how to operate a business, which may not be as easy as it sounds. There are many avenues open to all of us to locate and take advantage of Trade Education. In our industry, there are sev- eral trade associations, trade magazines (both domestic and foreign), and trade shows. All of these sources are available with a time and financial investment from you. Nothing will benefit you more than this educational investment since there is no university that will teach you this business. I encourage you to take advantage of these important sources of knowledge and experiences. We all need to learn more in order to allow our busi- ness to participate in our trade, but we must be prepared with knowledge and the advantages of others' experiences. LEGALLY SETTING UP YOUR COMPANY When making the decision as to how you want to set up your business, such as a straight corporation, a limited lia- bility corporation (LLC), a sub-chapter S, partnership, or the other ways that are available, it is always a good idea to address your options with a good busi- ness attorney. Take the time to weigh the positives and negatives of each. There are many tax consequences that can make a

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