Going from near failure to Top of the Table

During my first year in business, I almost failed. Then four months in, I was in a terrible car accident. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but my car was destroyed. After the insurance claims were paid, I called the gentleman who hit me and invited him for coffee. Here is how the actual phone call went:

“Hey, Jeff, it’s Curt Matlin. Remember me?” [pause] “Yeah, I know … ”

“Listen, just because we met by accident doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. Let me buy you a coffee.”

Well, guess what? Jeff met with me. Now, truth be told, Jeff didn’t do business with me. However, he introduced me to a young doctor who then introduced me to other young doctors who did business with me, some for decades. That car accident and subsequent phone call has led to over $1 million of revenue. Now, I have a question: What if I hadn’t made that phone call?

The first key to success: Remember, everyone is a potential prospect or source of warm introductions. Always be asking for introductions.

The second key to success is hard work. During my early years in business, I worked 65 hours a week or more. I had no business network, so I built one. To succeed in this business, you have to do the things that others are not willing to do.

The third key to success is to own the products that you are telling others to own. In my third year in business, I was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, it was stage 1 cancer, and I survived. During the time I was uninsurable, I told all of my clients and prospects what had happened. I urged them to apply for their insurance policy when they were young and healthy so that they wouldn’t find themselves in my position. We need to be our own best clients. By having purchased insurance policies before my cancer diagnosis, I had options in my policies to buy additional insurance without a physical exam. You can rest assured, every time an option came up, I took advantage of it and increased my coverage.

The fourth key to success is education and self-motivation. One of my colleagues, Bruce Levine, CLU, ChFC, of Glenview, Illinois, USA, and an MDRT member since 1977, would give me MDRT cassette tapes and say, “Here, listen to these.” I began listening to MDRT speeches in my car while driving to appointments. By the time I made my first MDRT meeting, I had attended 10 virtual MDRT meetings on cassette! Listening to the greats in our business and hearing how they had experienced the same rejection and problems I was experiencing gave me the courage and motivation to stay in the business. I have since paid Bruce’s gift forward by also sharing educational materials with new colleagues. I recently gifted a box of MDRT tapes to an MDRT mentee.

I hope you are inspired to try some of my strategies, and I wish you my kind of success!

Curtis Matlin, of Northbrook, Illinois, USA, is a Top of the Table member. He’s been an MDRT member since 1997. Find more keys to success and for reaching Top of the Table by watching Matlin’s 2021 MDRT Annual Meeting Virtual Event presentation “6 ways to get from near failure to Top of the Table.” (MDRT member exclusive)


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