ANAHEIM, Calif. – Being passionate about life and work and finding inspiration from other people are key ingredients that make for winners, according to several speakers at on the Tuesday morning platform of Million Dollar Round Table.
D. Scott Brennan made that point in his acceptance address as the new president of MDRT for the coming year. A MassMutual agent from South Bend, Ind., he said he has drawn his inspiration for his career from the people at MDRT. Much of his address recounted how his affiliation with the organization helped him find his career path and passion, and his success in the high end market.
His first MDRT experience was actually during childhood. Brennan said he grew up hearing the MDRT recordings that his father, also a MDRT member, constantly played in the family home. Those recordings educated him on ideas from Earl Nightingale and other inspirational speakers who talked about the power of positive thinking and psycho-cybernetics.
But even that strong upbringing did not make his early years in the insurance business easy. As Brennan put it, “I took a vow of poverty for the first few years in the business.” That brought a burst of laughter from the audience. Then he added, “and I did not qualify for MDRT.” That brought more laughter.
What he could become
But Brennan had been hired by someone who Brennan said probably took him on for what he could become, not for what he could do at the time.
Later, after much persistence, he started making some headway. After going through 20 closing interviews with no sale, he said he suddenly made six sales in a row.
But it was not until he arrived at his first MDRT meeting in New York City that he started finding his sense of purpose and commitment. “That’s when I saw what I wanted to become,” Brennan said.
His discovery was that he wanted to be able to sell in the high-end market. That is an art form, he said. At the same meeting, he said the family he wanted to have also started coming into focus. “My life was changing,” he declared.
Since then, he said he has been ”classically trained” by MDRT to do life insurance sales. That is where he learned that selling life insurance is not a commercial transaction. Rather, “it’s an exchange of emotion,” he said, adding wryly that “we know this but compliance doesn’t—yet.” The comments brought another round of laughter.
Brennan indicated he has enjoyed years of success since joining MDRT, including a happy, loving marriage. But he made clear that his life has not been without struggle. He has developed leukemia, for example, and one of his daughters had some years of being in and out of rehab before straightening out.
In closing, he showed the leather briefcase he purchased when starting out in his career, now worn at the edges and showing its age. The briefcase has been at his side all along the way, Brennan said, including “when I heard the word ‘no’ and sometimes ‘hell, no!’ ” — another comment bringing laughs from the audience.
That briefcase has carried hundreds of checks for millions of dollars that have kept families together and companies in business, he said. “But it wasn’t me. It was you. MDRT helped me make the most of myself.”
All those points resonated with messages from other speakers. For instance, Keith Abraham, a professional presenter from Robina, Australia, said that nothing great happens until someone get passionate about something.