Ben Who? (Part One)

This week I decided to break tradition and write in the third person. This profile of a sales superstar is too long for one post so I broke it up into two parts.

He was born in 1912, one of nine children. His parents fled the ghettos of Russia and settled in the midwest. By age 26, he was earning a meager $10 a week selling butter and eggs for his father in Salineville, Ohio. In 1938, it was a very small town. He was a short man, heavy set, his tightly curled hair, receding a little more each year. His voice was soft with a hint of a lisp. If you passed him on the street, he probably would not grab your attention.

When he first took the job of Life Insurance Salesman, his friends and family were a little worried for him. He was selling in a town of 22,000 people. He simply told them: If I decide to dig ditches, I’ll dig the best ditches. If I am going to sell Life Insurance, I’ll be the best Life Insurance Salesman there is.

By his third year, although doing well, he was not satisfied. A man has to let go of lower things and reach for higher things. His Sales Manager threw down his first big challenge. What if you became a member of the Million Dollar Roundtable in the next 12 months? That was it. A Big Goal. His first son had just been born, he was 29 years old. He went after the goal with the kind of relentless effort, passion and energy anyone in his office had ever seen. He tripled his volume with a simple objective: Three cases a week and keep it simple! Goals aren’t enough. You need goals plus deadlines. Goals big enough to get excited about and a deadline to make you run; together they can be tremendous.

At the height of his sales success, Andrew Thomson, his sales manager, wrote about Ben in 1969 in the out-of-print book “The Feldman Method.” Although the ideas are 40 years old, the principles have stood the test of time. Below you will find Ben Feldman’s 10 Success Characteristics. You will also find some magnificent quotes that give you some insight into his philosophy.

Form the Habit of Careful Preparation
In general he keeps abreast of all relevant literature. He attends sales meetings and seminars. In particular, he learns everything he can about his prospect and comes up with just the right solution to his prospects problem. His preparation fosters confidence.

Form the Habit of Organizing Your Work Each Day
First he organizes What has to be done in order of importance. First things first. Then he decides When it must be done. He plans his entire week in advance. His organizing fosters self-discipline.

Form the Habit of Creative Hard Work
He will work on his ideas, then rework them over and over again until they are flawlessly simple and simply flawless. His rework fosters the perseverance.

Form the Habit of Fitting Individual Needs
Ben never just sells policies. He sells “tailored dollars” —packages of money fitted to a specific financial need of his prospect. This habit of tailoring fosters flexibility.

Form the Habit of Thinking Solely In Your Clients Best Interest
Ben doesn’t make sales. He makes “dreams come true.” To Ben, Life Insurance: establishes credit, raises cash, builds business, guarantees the education of a man’s children, provides for his old age. This other-centered thinking fosters the having goals other than money.

Stay tuned for the second part next week.

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