By Jay Scheiner JD CLU
Executive Vice President
Agent Support Group


Do you sell life insurance?  Even if your primary occupation is financial planning, or P & C, annuities or medicare products – if the sale of life insurance products is in your quiver – then you can learn from the best there ever was.  “Nobody ever died with too much money.”  ~Ben Feldman

The late Ben Feldman was arguably the greatest life insurance salesman ever.  During his 50 year career, Feldman created wealth for his clients while protecting their families and businesses.  He was the first individual to sell one billion of insurance.  This Yogi Berra of the insurance world used memorable expressions that are as true today as when they were decades ago.  Here are some of these gems:

Estate Planning:  “Your estate represents a lifetime. Is it worth keeping?”  May I show you what happens to most estates?  Every person has an estate.  Your estate is made up of all of your assets: home, cars, business, life insurance, bank and investment accounts, retirement plans, your furnishings and collections – all of your possessions.  Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and then distribution of your estate during your lifetime, during a period of disability and at death, while minimizing gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and income tax.  Your estate plan design is determined by your desires. The ultimate goal of estate planning is Control.  How can you keep control of what you have spent a lifetime accumulating?  How can you make sure the bulk of your estate is passed on to your family? If you don’t have an estate plan the government has one for you – their plan, not yours.

Investment Strategy:  “Most people have two problems…first to accumulate and then…to conserve”  These days, nearly everyone has investments (if only inside their employer’s retirement plan).  However, few have an investment strategy.  Of those who do, it is rare that it is built around their individual needs and objectives.   Building an investment strategy involves reasonable expectations of return coupled with an appropriate tolerance for risk.  An investment strategy looks beyond the traditional three asset classes of stocks, bonds and cash.  Whether you aspire to fund a child’s education, leave a lasting legacy or retire in a financially secure manner, a good investment strategy begins with clarity of purpose.  Having investments is not the same as having an investment strategy.

Business Solutions: “Ever to stop to think your business will last only as long as you do?” How can a person make sure their business is passed on to their family and not to their creditors or the government for taxes? That’s really the bottom line, keeping your family and business together in the event of your death. Certainly there’s a price tag on doing something to protect your life’s business venture. But the price tag on doing nothing may be much higher. Somebody has to pay. If not you, then your family.

When asked, “what is the largest policy you have ever sold?” Ben would reply: “I haven’t sold it yet!” Feldman has been mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records, been the topic of numerous articles, authored Creative Selling for the 1990’s, and his selling approach was the main focus in The Feldman Method.   Ben’s power phrases used during his career became industry standards.  His positive approach to a buyer’s interest rather than just selling policies is something you can emulate today.