Success by going back to the basics

In my fifth year in this profession, I was lost and worried. I was working like a horse day and night and made it to the top 20% of my primary company’s production ranking. However, high-performing colleagues were producing the same in half the time. I thought, I must be doing something wrong.

One day, I visited a Zen temple with an old friend to practice zazen, which is seated meditation. The temple master taught me to “get back to the basics.”

A few years later, I was promoted to sales manager. However, recruiting and training were not going well, and the sales performance of my office was poor. After four years of struggling as a manager, I returned to the sales job but decided I’d quit if I could not achieve twice as much as my previous performance.

Envisioning success

It was a challenging goal, and I was full of fear. So, I vividly envisioned a bright future and achieving my goals. I anticipated the great feeling of accomplishment with my whole body. I tricked my brain every day. Then, strangely enough, my anxiety disappeared.

With a relaxed mind, I asked one of my mentors, who had performed well, about the secret of sales success. He asked me, “Why did you choose this career in the first place?” and then advised me to, “Get back to the basics.”

I always loved to serve others. I wanted to energize and inspire the people I met. That was why I chose this career. That was my square one.

Solving clients’ problems

My way of being changed since that moment. I became devoted to solving the problems of people I met and dedicated to supporting them. I did everything I could. Many problems could either be solved with life insurance or through other professionals in my network.

I decided to focus on inheritance and estate planning and connect deeply with my clients through long-term relationships. This begins by thoroughly preparing for my first meeting with a prospect. Through the internet and databases, I find out about their jobs, family members, networks, hobbies and so forth. Knowing my client’s big picture enables me to make their dreams come true for the family, even in the worst-case scenario.

Achieving more referrals

Since I focused on my way of being, my clients gradually became my advocates. My centers of influence (COIs) — lawyers and tax accountants — referred me to their clients who needed business succession plans. I was receiving about five referrals from COIs every week. One year after I returned to the sales position, I accomplished three times more production than before.

Looking back over my 20 years in the business, the importance of “get back to the basics” that my Zen master said made sense. I had almost forgotten my basics, but now that I know the importance, I have overcome my struggles.

Yohei Tomita is 15-year MDRT member from Tokyo, Japan. He’s also a Top of the Table member. This was excerpted from his 2024 MDRT Annual Meeting presentation, which you can find at

For more from MDRT members who found their way to success by going back to basics:

  • Mrinalini says:

    I am a 15years MDRT Qualifiers.
    I was at the MDRT2024 meeting.

    This is great stuff

    Reminding yourself of your purpose and passion works well.

  • My Comments…
    I could suggest good Life Insurance plans for Risk Cover and Tax free Gauranteed returns plans, Annuity plans, Health Insurance plans, Equity Oriented plans to my clients,I never insist to contract with insurance companies through myself…If they feel I am right person for their services,they will contact me…Respecting individual’s personal lives and choices is crucial for fostering a harmonious and respectful society. When people refrain from interfering in others’ personal decisions, it promotes a sense of autonomy and dignity. Everyone has unique circumstances, values, and perspectives that guide their choices, and unsolicited opinions or interventions can cause unnecessary stress and conflict. By allowing others the freedom to make their own decisions, we create an environment of mutual respect and understanding, where diverse lifestyles and beliefs can coexist peacefully. This respect for personal boundaries ultimately leads to healthier relationships and a more cohesive community.

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