The Great Garry Kinder – A True Insurance Industry Icon, Ep. 5

//The Great Garry Kinder – A True Insurance Industry Icon, Ep. 5
Where the Insurance Pros Meet Podcast


Garry Kinder shares how successful agents form the habits of doing the things people who fail don’t like to do and won’t do. Learn why activity should be your primary focus. View more at MarkMiletello.com.

Note: “Where The Insurance Pros Meet” is an audio podcast and is meant for the ear. A transcript of the audio is provided for referencing a particular section or for you to follow along. Listen to the episode to get the most out of our show. We use both speech recognition software and human transcribers to create the transcripts so they may contain errors. If you’re going to quote us in print, please be sure to check the corresponding audio.


TRANSCRIPT
Speaker 1:

‘Where the Insurance Pros Meet,’ episode five.

Garry Kinder:

The one thing you can control is activity.

Speaker 1:

‘Where the Insurance Pros Meet’ is a podcast that brings the greatest talent in the world together. Managers, coaches, and producers, the very best experts the insurance and financial services industry has to offer. Get ready to change the way you do business, to have your most successful year ever. Now, here’s Mark Miletello, a top 1% producer, manager, and your host of ‘Where the Insurance Pros Meet.’

Mark Miletello:

Welcome to ‘Where the Insurance Pros Meet.’ I’m your host, Mark Miletello. Today, we have on the show a true icon in the insurance and financial services industry. Our guest has won more awards, touched more lives, mentored more agents, associated with more companies, written more books, and had over six decades in the insurance and financial services. I could talk half probably the entire show of trying to give a proper introduction to our guest, but I know him personally as a friend. I really think that a personal story he would appreciate more. I met our guest 17 years ago. I came from a prior company where I was top three in that company. I had sold 30,000 of life premium back in 2000. When I made a sideways move to a new company, that was the bottom of the barrel of life. I realized that there was a bigger world out there. I was struggling to figure out how in the world could a multiple line agent do more than 25,000 of life production. I was lucky enough, fortunate enough, to be invited to … I guess at the time, our guest was being … It was kind of a study group that the company was seeing could he really affect agents enough to hire him on as a mentor for our company. I was invited to drive to Baton Rouge. I think it was six or eight class session.

Garry Kinder:

Yup.

Mark Miletello:

After that meeting, my production personally went to MDRT for three consecutive years after that meeting. All the lives that you’ve touched, all the agents that you’ve touched, the clients that you’ve touched, all roads kind of lead back, and all the greats that I’ve talked to. Personally, for me, I want to welcome my mentor and one of the greats in the industry. I like to call him the great Garry Kinder. Welcome, Garry.

Garry Kinder:

Well, it’s my pleasure, Mark, to be with you. I remember those days over in, I believe it was Louisiana. Wasn’t it? That we met?

Mark Miletello:

That’s right, that’s right.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

In Doug Jones’ office.

Garry Kinder:

I remember those days. Yeah, I remember that. I guess we did have six or seven sessions. We had a … That session had a great impact on you, and you’ve become a tremendous performer. I’m always glad to hear you talk about what happened back there in Louisiana. That’s great stuff.

Mark Miletello:

Well …

Garry Kinder:

Go ahead.

Mark Miletello:

Well, and you’ve always remembered that session. Someone that has taught hundreds of classes a year, how do you remember? How do you look back and every time we talk and we meet, you remember that? I know you went on to have a great career mentoring with my company at the time. I don’t know, you just have the ability, I guess, to really … remember that class, those people, that situation. Maybe it’s all of them, maybe you just have a great memory.

Garry Kinder:

Well, I do have … I was blessed as a young kid with memory. I could remember things. I’ll never forget going to a Dale Carnegie course.
The very first evening, they said, “We want to go around and have everybody introduce themselves.” We did that. Then they pulled this on us. They said, “Now, who here know the names of all the people that stood up and told you their name, and where they’re from? How many of you are ready to tell us what their names were?” I went around the room and I think I knew every first name except one. That was the first session of Dale Carnegie, and they gave me … Of course, they give away prizes and that. The first prize was the Dale Carnegie book. I’ve always been blessed with … which helps you in this business.

Mark Miletello:

Wow.

Garry Kinder:

Remembering names.

Mark Miletello:

No wonder, no wonder. Well, that explains it. I’m sure you went on to be a leader in that class. I would have given anything to have been in that class with you.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah, yeah.

Mark Miletello:

Garry, let’s break for some industry news quick.

Garry Kinder:

Okay.

Mark Miletello:

Studies show 60% of household’s own life insurance. 34% say they want to buy more. Now Garry, the last 100 appointments I’ve been on, not one of them have had the right amount of insurance or the right plans, the right type of plans, to meet their own needs and goals. I believe that everyone out there is a prospect right now in this day and time.

Garry Kinder:

I believe it because not only are you doing that and what you’ve said here about these numbers from and so forth, that that’s all true stuff and it’s well researched. … What is happening, and I’ll add another thing to what you said, and that is that there are fewer agents … and there are fewer agencies than there were say, let’s say 10, 15 years ago.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

The opportunity for people coming into the industry is just unbelievable. The opportunity is tremendous. Now, they must go through a period of time of being taught and learning, and all that. Some learn faster than others, but there are fewer agents. There are fewer companies.

Mark Miletello:

Right. Well, and it’s … I’m excited to have you on this show. As you speak, all these memories pop up into my mind of what you taught me. One of those was accountability of also tracking, and keeping my numbers. I had never done that until then. Yeah, I think they do have much more challenges. Of course, every generation … every decade probably says that. It’s just challenging as any new agent in any time that you start in this industry. It is. If it was easy, then everyone would do it, and everyone would make a ton of money.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

But you’re right, it’s a great opportunity in the fact that there are fewer agents now. They must break through those first couple tough years, don’t they?

Garry Kinder:

That’s really true. That’s really true. As you look at the agencies and the companies, there are fewer agencies, but they’re bigger.

Mark Miletello:

They’re bigger.

Garry Kinder:

There are fewer companies, but they’re bigger, but there still is a phenomenal opportunity for veterans in the business and for neophytes in the business. It’s just a great time to be in the business.

Mark Miletello:

Well, we’re going to-

Garry Kinder:

Great time.

Mark Miletello:

Well, thank you. We’re going to jump into that, but first, let’s get into professional strategies. Garry, this show has a format that follows closely professional sports; and mainly because I believe … First, it’s fun. I also believe that the industry professionals in our industry have much in common with great athletes, with the practice, with the training, with the mentorship, and the coaching. To kick off this show, let’s talk a little bit about football first.

Garry Kinder:

Okay.

Mark Miletello:

The first book I … One of the first books I’ve read in the industry had you, your brother Jack, and Roger Staubach on the front cover, called ‘Winning Strategies in Selling.’ Tell us about …

Garry Kinder:

Okay.

Mark Miletello:

Since we’re going to go with a football theme, tell us how’d you get Roger Staubach on the front cover?
Garry Kinder: Well, we moved to Dallas, Texas, the exact same year that Roger came out of the service and moved to Dallas. We were very active in FCA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The two of us got to know each other really quick. Believe it or not, he had young kids and he ended up having five children, I believe. Back when he was here, he had two or three small children. I had a swimming pool in my backyard. He did not have a swimming pool in his backyard. He was a rookie … and wasn’t making that much money. Back in those days, 1969, 1970, the players weren’t being paid like they are today. At any rate, he brought his kids over with a swimming teacher to teach his … in my pool, taught people how to … taught his children how to swim. We got to know each other quite well that way. We would … I did a lot of work with him at the Cowboys. That’s back when I did the chapels for the Cowboys, for Landry and for Staubach, anything where he was playing. We just became very, very close friends. We are still to this day. The reason … that … some athletes do so well in the real estate business and in the insurance business, … and Staubach did both. You take the things you did on the playing field and you use them in the business practice. They’re very similar. Everything is similar. You got to practice. You got to believe. You got to stick with it. You got to have goals, that kind of stuff. That all made sense to him. Then, so we … My brother Jack and I, we asked him, “Look, we want to write a book, and we want it to be … Every book we’ve written had been geared to the insurance industry. We might like to be … We’d like to write one that’s generic, that every salesperson in every walk of life can read, and get some good information about … get information from reading the book.” That’s how that all came about.

Mark Miletello:

Well, very good. You had mentioned your brother Jack, and speaking of your late brother Jack, I never had the privilege of meeting him. I talk and … but with a lot of my friends, and industry professionals that had been touched by Jack in the same way that you have touched my career. Can you share with us a bit about Jack? I wish that I had the opportunity to meet him.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

Because he sounds every bit as influential and special of a person as you’ve been in the many lives in our industry. Can you tell us a little bit about your feelings about Jack?

Garry Kinder:

Well, Jack was five years older than me. He left … We were both athletes. He … became a coach in North of Chicago. Now he’s five years ahead of me. I’m just getting ready to go to college and he’s already out there coaching one year. He coached North of Chicago five years. He … called home one day, and told … There wasn’t any such thing as an email. He didn’t even write a letter. He just called home and told my mom and dad that … he’s going to go into life insurance business. Well, when he hung up the phone and finished his correspondence and everything, my dad said to my mother, “You know, Jack’s lost his mind. Why would somebody … who’s a coach go into life insurance?” Then, about two years … and I was studying … I was geared to be a CPA … I wanted to be a CPA. I took a lot of accounting courses in college. … Jack said, “You’re no accountant. You’re a life insurance agent. You’re born with life insurance in your brain and in your body. You … This business is really for you. Now, you … and you ought to start doing it right now.” Now back in those days, that was 1953, people … insurance companies could hire people and encouraged it, by the way, to be … if you’re in college, you can still start selling and learn how to sell your fraternity brothers, and how you sell to students and all of that. When you graduate, you’ll have some policyholders, and you’ll have some background. I … started selling life insurance as a junior in college. When I graduated in 1955 from June to the end of December, I worked my tail off and I went over to our leader, our manager. He was in Peoria, Illinois. I was in Bloomington, Illinois. We were both raised in Pekin, Illinois. Jack was in Pekin. Our agency was in Peoria. I was in Bloomington. We’d all go over to him to set our goals for the next year. This was 1955.

Mark Miletello:

Yup.

Garry Kinder:

I went over to see him to set my goals. He said to me after some discussion. He said, “Garry, what are you up to? What are you going to do your first full calendar in the business?” I said, “Well, Mr. Holderman, I’d like to qualify for the million-dollar roundtable.” He said, “Let me tell you something, young man. You forget the million-dollar roundtable. Young people like you don’t qualify for the million-dollar roundtable. Now, it’s going to take you a few years to do that.” I said, “Well, let’s pretend that I did want to make it in 1956. Let’s assume I wanted to make the million-dollar roundtable.” He said, “Well, I’ll tell you how difficult it will be. You have to pay for a,” … and he drew it all out on a sheet for me. “You have to pay for 100 … for 200. You have to pay for 200 policies your first year.” We didn’t sell much term insurance in those days. It mainly … and there was no such thing as what type of products we have today.
I said, “Okay. I’ll do that. I’m going to … I’m going to sell four policies a week.” I’ll never forget going home to see Jack and tell him what I was going to do. I told my dad. My dad said, “Well, what are you … what are you up to? What are you going to do?” I said, “Well dad, I’m going to … sell life insurance.” He said, “No, I mean what are you going to do day in, day out?”I said, “Well, I’m going to qualify for the million-dollar round table, and that means I got to sell four policies every week. I got to sell 200 policies.” He looked at me like I was nuts, and he said, “Well, what are you going to do with the rest of the time if you’re only going to sell four policies a week?” That … It really helped me. Then Jack helped me along there. Jack was a coach. He did a lot of coaching to me, so I qualified for the million-dollar round table before Jack did. Then, we went on to … sell … to qualify for the million-dollar round table several other years after that. End of the 1990s, we … Jack started qualified with me, but I qualified back there. I was … in 1956, and I graduated in ’55. I had a full year to go in 1956. I got the job done.

Mark Miletello:

Wow. Well, I’ll tell you, Jack, … Every time I hear you talk about him, it sounds like me and my bigger brother. He’s four years older than me. He’s one of the greats in the financial services industry. I don’t know. I just think sometimes … I think that’s what we are to the agents we mentor. We’re big brothers to them because it sounds like you and I had a good big brother that showed us the way and gave us great guidance. I believe … I think it’s safe to say he was kind of a mentor of yours as well.

Garry Kinder:

Was he ever. He got to the point where he started making MDRT with me. It was too bad he was in Northern Illinois. We both lived in Dallas. He … was up doing a program with a company in the Quad Cities. I was on Rock Island. He had a stroke. From that point forward, he couldn’t walk. He couldn’t talk.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

But he could understand everything you said, everything you said. I’d take … keep people … some of them, like you,’d know, like Ron Price, and people like that, that you know. We’d regularly go over and talk to Jack. He could talk … I mean, he could listen, but he couldn’t talk. We’d say something that was funny and start laughing, and then I’d take Staubach over there. Staubach would kid him like you wouldn’t believe, and get him laughing. He would be laughing, but he couldn’t talk. He couldn’t walk. He had to be taken care, but he kept his optimism. He kept him… he didn’t poo-poo, or he didn’t say … Well, he couldn’t talk, so he couldn’t tell us how bad it was, but he would sit there and listen.

Mark Miletello:

You could tell.

Garry Kinder:

He could listen to every word, and he’d laugh; if it was something to laugh at.

Mark Miletello:

Well, I think that’s what it takes to be successful in this industry. No matter what the odds, no matter what the challenge is, you always keep that optimism. You always have the vision and looking forward. I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet him.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

He was still around when you and I met, but … Thank you for sharing about Jack, and talking about Jack, and all the … I mean looking back over your career, can you … tell us maybe someone that you looked up to in the way that we look up to you, Garry? Is there some … Some of the greats in our industry that you recall that really stand out, that you’ve met over your illustrious career?

Garry Kinder:

Sure. First, our manager, Fred Holderman, in Peoria, Illinois, was the first man inducted into the GAMA Hall of Fame. He was a great inspiration to us. He was … because he’d been in the business forever. He was the first one inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was just a great manager and a great leader. He taught us two things that I’ll never forget: systems. You got to have systems. You got to have a sales system. You got to have a calling system. You must have a system of gathering referred leads. You must have systems.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

You must have systems. He just kept saying that repeatedly. You must have systems. He also said you got to keep score. … We would have to send to him every week how many dials, how many reaches, how many applications, how many paid cases did you get done this week? We’d send that to him and he would send it back with a … writing on it. It really helped me, and it inspired me.

Mark Miletello:

Well, that’s what you had me do.

Garry Kinder:

He also-

Mark Miletello:

In the meeting, we had together.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

That’s what you had me bring in at those training sessions, and it does, and it did.

Garry Kinder:

It makes a difference. I’m telling you, Mark. It really makes a difference. When we would send those in at the end of every month, he would send … I think it was like $100 check, which was unbelievably high back in … and that was in 1955, ’56, ’57. Every time you turn that in with the whole agency, and some would turn them in, some wouldn’t. The ones that would turn them in, he would grade them, and he would pay … He would send an extra $100.

Mark Miletello:

Wow.

Garry Kinder:

He said, “This is what you get for keeping the record, and you had the best … blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Well, there was another guy that was strong. His name was Dale Nelson, and he was up in Joliet, Illinois, not too far from Bloomington. Every month, either he or me, one or the other, would win that $100. We were both selling on average, four paid cases a week. Today, that’s unheard of.

Mark Miletello:

Right. Well, it’s funny that you … Most people I talk to, we talk premium, premium, premium. Every time I talk to you, it’s always activity. I think of the systems that you taught me. The activity funnel, which is every time I bring on a new agent, I pull out your activity funnel.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

I talk about taking … yes, how do you get to MDRT, but then you reverse it all the way back down to the daily activity that it takes? One thing you taught me, and I remember it, and I’ve used it, and I will never forget it. It’s, “Mark, you’ve only sold 30,000 of life premium in your best year.””Yes, that’s right, Garry.””Well, tell me, how are you going to go out and write 100,000 in life? You can’t do it. I mean, you can’t even visualize it; but what you can do is you can go out and write four applications and a week, and it will set you up. You can’t tell how big those are going to be. You can’t tell if the client’s going to say ‘yes,’ or ‘no,’ or whether it’s going to get issued or not, or the health of the client, or what not; but you can control your actions.” That’s something I’ll never forget it.

Garry Kinder:

That’s so good, Mark. That is really good.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

It’s really true. The one thing you can control is activity. Then, you just go down that chart and … you watch the activity, and suddenly, you’re being highly successful. Our manager … Go ahead.

Mark Miletello:

No, no, I just … I was recruiting an agent the other day and one of our first training meetings. I just said … I said … and maybe I got a little strong.I said, “But if I held a gun to your head and said, ‘Go out and write 100,000 of life premium,’ could you promise me you would do that?” He goes, “Yes, I could with a gun to my head.”I said, “Well, no you can’t. You can’t promise me that.” I said, “But if I told you, you had to talk to ten people a day to have five set appointments, to have three applications a week, could you promise me that you could talk to ten … In fact, you could talk to ten people in an hour if you had a gun pointed at your head.” He goes, “You know, you’re right. I would walk out of this door and knock on every door I could. I’d talk to 50 in an hour if I had a gun to my head.” I kind of had a little twist of what you taught me.

Garry Kinder:

That’s.

Mark Miletello:

I just shared with him that you can control your actions, but you can’t control the results.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

It’s really true. You can control that activity.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

That’s good. That’s a great thing to talk about.

Mark Miletello:

Garry, I know what it took me to go to MDRT. I have you to thank for that. You’ve shared with us your story of going to MDRT. You also were involved and got involved in the management side. I know your brother Jack was probably … Would it be safe to say he was more of a manager, and you were more of the producer?

Garry Kinder:

That’s correct. That is correct.

Mark Miletello:

You ended up going into leadership as well. Can you tell us about the management side of the business?

Garry Kinder:

Sure … sure.

Mark Miletello:

And when that happened.

Garry Kinder:

Sure. Well, at 19 … Let’s see, 1958. Yeah, in 1958, I’d been in the business counting my one year as a junior college and a senior in college, selling that … calling that one year, and then two or three more years. They, at AXA we had this man, Fred G. Holderman, who was the first one inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He was always constantly saying, “People like you ought to be in management because you can continue to sell, and … you can … coach as you go along. And then, you can recruit people.” He sent me over to … I was at Bloomington, but he called the manager at Bloomington and he said, “I’m going to put Garry in your unit, and I want you to leave him alone because he’s got his brother, but I want you to leave him alone.” He was telling this on the telephone while I’m sitting there listening to him talking to a manager. He said, “I want you to leave him alone and he’ll take care of everything. Give him a good desk and just leave him alone. He’ll send all his stuff to me, and we’ll get her done. You just sit there and take it.”
Then when he hung up, he said, “What little do you … don’t know is in the next couple years, he’s not going to make it. He’s not going to make it. I’m going to need somebody like you in a college town talking to young kids, getting out of college with degrees … some of them have taken a lot of insurance courses.” Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State University both had strong … insurance courses.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

I took … I had 16 hours of insurance when I graduated.

Mark Miletello:

Wow.

Garry Kinder:

It was a strong place to start. Eventfully, I started hiring people.
He told me, “I want you to take over. The man that was there, I’ve asked him to go to other places and you … you take over and sell a lot of these college kids.” Well, the college kids in my era were getting back from the war. They were tough-minded people. I hired a lot of these people who came back out of the service into the life insurance business. I … brought them in off the college campus. I had like the captain of the … the football team at Illinois State University. He came on and he just died about a year … less than a year ago. He was an outstanding agent, outstanding agent. I hired the quarterback from Illinois Wesleyan and brought him into the business. He decided he wanted to spend more time coaching than being in the insurance business, but I did bring him in. He did do a good job, but he wanted to go back to … Then he became the athletic director in Illinois Wesleyan, but he had all that insurance background and believed in …I brought a lot of these kids in, and I knew which ones fit our industry and which ones didn’t. I hadn’t been out of the business two years … I mean I hadn’t been in the business two years and I’m in … I’m a … what AXA called a district manager.

Mark Miletello:

Which was you were still producing, right? I mean you were still a production man.

Garry Kinder:

I was still producing.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

At an MDRT level. I was still producing, and I was hiring three or four a year. I was bringing them in. At that time, Equitable had a gold … deal or a gold … What do you call it? Trophy, a gold trophy. They had a gold trophy for the leading general agent and the leading district manager. At that time, I was the district manager. I got that gold trophy. I was number one in the country.

Mark Miletello:

Nice.

Garry Kinder:

Then, I moved to Akron, Ohio, where I took over an agency. After a couple years, I got the gold trophy for agency managers. In both cases, I could sell Equitable to this day, by the way. AXA still encourages managers to sell.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

Particularly district managers.

Mark Miletello:

A lot of companies are getting away from that, you know that? Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

Oh yeah. Yeah, I look at it every day. They’re getting away from that. Northwestern, Mass Mutual, Equitable still like their managers to sell.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

But they’re … fewer and fewer companies are doing that. I have nothing against it. It’s just that it fit me better because I loved selling. It fit Jack tremendously because he wanted to coach. He was … a better coach than I was. As we went along, I made a lot more money because I was still performing as an agent.

Mark Miletello:

I got a funny story to tell you is that … I’m in a position where, as you know because I went through your agent mentoring. I also went through your management mentoring when I decided in 2008 to … I’d won a lot of the awards that our company had to offer, made a lot of money. I wanted to … I was good at recruiting, and bringing people in the business, and helping them, and building processes and systems the same way that you did. Seven years later, … and I didn’t want to be competition with my agents, I guess was my excuse.
I was getting very rusty, and I was telling my agents, “You know, this is how I used to do it, and this is what I did.” They’re like, “Well, Mark, times are different. You know, it’s seven years.” People … They looked… I had some great success. I was the number one agent in the company. It was just funny that … I don’t want to put it this way, but kind of sometimes a great producer in your own homeland. They don’t see that. They don’t know that. That was a different time and a different era. Just … a lot of things, but also really client meetings. I was getting rusty over seven years, Garry. Last year, I have you know, I kind of jumped back into production just to sharpen my ax again. I hit MDRT last year.

Garry Kinder:

Good. You know, I didn’t realize that. I’m glad to hear that.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

That’s tremendous.

Mark Miletello:

Yeah.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah.

Mark Miletello:

Well, looking back over your career, you’ve told us about all the awards, all the neat people you’ve met, all your mentors, all the success you had. Is there one thing, an award or a time? Is there may be a client relationship? Is there something that you’re most proud of looking back? I know that’s a hard question.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah, that’s a tough question. … What I’d … would think about and what I felt best about was helping people come into this business, and helping them succeed. Today, I still get a lot of messages, a lot of letters.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

With people like you, and I could name, after a name, after a name. I really, really love being in the business. I got really good feedback, and that helped me.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

I’ll tell you one other thing that’s a little off course, but I want you to hear this, that at Illinois Wesleyan, I was president of the fraternity of the Phi Gamma Delta. …People in the fraternity kept saying to me, “You really ought to be a preacher. You ought to be a pastor. That’s what you ought to do.”

Mark Miletello:

I agree with that.

Garry Kinder:

I said, “Well, I don’t feel … I don’t feel like doing that.” I said, “I don’t feel the calling.” I went to a pastor that liked me, who was what you’d call a college pastor. He had a lot of college kids coming to his church. I was one of them. One time when I was a junior in college, I went to him. I said, “You know me… a lot of my friends and fraternity brothers are saying that I ought to be a preacher.” He said, “Well let me tell you something. If you’re going to be a preacher, you will know it. You will be called. You will know it.” He said, “Let me tell you something else. You can do more good for the cause of Christ and the cause of religion. You can do a lot more if you’re not a preacher if you’re a worker if you’re a layman. So, don’t you pay attention to those kids? You just go ahead, keep selling insurance, and be the best insurance person in town, and … they’ll follow you, and not only in the insurance world, but they’ll follow you in the spiritual world.” As you know, that’s what we teach, that there’s the physical side of life. There’s the financial side of life. There’s the … the medical side of life. You got all these things that you want to take care of, but you take care of your spiritual life. Everything else will fall in line.

Mark Miletello:

Well, you know I agree with that. Thank you for sharing. I think I tend to agree. As you go into a leadership position, the proudest moments are not about the awards anymore. You’ve had the success. It’s more about those lives that you were able to touch along the way. I completely agree with that. My next question was going to be what motivates you because your energy level and your … When I see you at conferences, you’re the first one in the gym in the morning. When you’re on stage, … you light up the stage. You wake up the crowd. I think I know what motivates you after this show is you just love the business, and you love sharing it.

Garry Kinder:

Yeah, I love the business. I’ve been blessed with health, good health. Consequently, a lot of people say to me, “When are you going to retire?”
I said, “I’m not sure.” First, there’s nothing in the Bible about retirement. You can go there from Genesis through Revelation and you’re not going to find … retirement in there. I’m going to … and I’m not against retirement. I’m for it, and some people need to retire, but I didn’t need to retire.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

I just love the work, got up every morning, go to work. Now, I don’t go overseas as much as I used to. I’ve got several people that help me with that … in our office.

Mark Miletello: Right.
Garry Kinder:

I do stay at work every day. I think it keeps you alert. I think it keeps on the ball.

Mark Miletello:

I absolutely … I think you’re going to be here long after I’m gone. You’re going to make it, long time. Your inspiration is felt in the industry, and we thank you for it. You and I kind of had a conversation about the state of affairs. I think every year; every decade has state of affairs and issues. What I’d like to do, Garry is … and maybe this is going to help the new agent. Maybe look in the future, today and into the future over the next years, and give us a professional prediction. You and I kind of have our conversation before we jump there, we had a conversation about the value of our products and the need for our products. Maybe if a new agent, new … a person entering the industry could hear a bit of information about what you and I talk about, and the need for our products today.

Garry Kinder:

That’s right. Well, … I remember way back in college being … Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State University, as I said, were heavily … You could take insurance courses … because they were both very much involved because of State Farm. That’s the home of State Farm. They put … They’ve helped …

Mark Miletello:

Cater to that.

Garry Kinder:

Those two universities.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

Come up with … good curriculum. I’ll never forget the professor. He did a few works … He was a professor at Illinois Wesleyan, but he also did some work for State Farm. He … I’ll never forget as a senior, I took my final insurance course. It was life insurance. Life insurance and financial affairs. There was a course on social security. There was a course on this, a course on that. Now he comes, my senior year, and I’m sitting there in the … classroom. He said … and he walks in one day like in the middle of the year, and he said, “I’m going to give you today a what it, what it takes to be good in the life insurance business as an agent; because there’s some of you in this room that maybe should be going in to life insurance and in sales. Some of you need to go to the home office, but there’s a bunch of you … Not a bunch, but there’s a few of you in here that probably need to go into the life insurance business as an agent. And let me tell you how important it is.” He said, “People buy automobiles. They have to be sold cigarettes.” He said, “People buy … liquor.” He said, “They have to be sold life insurance.” He said, “Some people, you know, have to be motivated to get certain things done, and so of the greatest occupations you can go into is a teacher, a preacher, or a life insurance agent. And that’s how important it is for some of you in this room that is going to be insurance agents,” and a lot of the people in the room laughed, including me. I soon learned that it was one of the greatest things that can be done, and that is to be in the life insurance business. It’s a calling. It’s almost like being a preacher. It’s a calling. After a while, you want to help people get the job done. Some of them are agents that you’re training. Some of them are clients that you’re continuing to be with.

Mark Miletello:

Well, I agree. I think that … I don’t know. I guess especially after … They say you’re not in the business until you deliver your first claim. I hate that, but that’s I think the way it is, that you don’t realize the calling factor of being able to touch a family in the way that … a life insurance agent can. I tell people that once the food’s gone, once the attorney’s gone, once the doctor can do no more, … you’re standing there with a considerable check to provide for the family.I agree and as far as your professional recommendations, Garry, you have … written more books in our industry than anybody that I know of. I don’t know that there’s anyone out there. I know that you have systems and processes. You’ve got the activity funnel you gave me, the financial house process. Rather than share with us outside, and maybe you can share with us an outside inspiration … Out of all your books, is there may be one that … you would mention to a first-time reader that was following you?

Garry Kinder:

Yeah, the … We have a bunch of … books. In fact, right now, I’m writing a book with my daughter who’s been on the MDRT. She’s a speaker. She’s been on the MDRT. I think maybe you heard her speak. She is a teacher. She’s a speaker. She’s got what it takes. There are the two best books right now, or out of a bunch of them is the … ‘Professional Sales Process.’

Mark Miletello:

Great.

Garry Kinder:

The ‘Professional Sales Process.’ It’s how to sell life insurance from the very beginning of getting clients to the very end of getting referred leads, and … not only getting referred leads but helping people … as you say, when you settle a death claim.

Mark Miletello:

Right.

Garry Kinder:

I have settled several of those up to families where I was the agent. I sold the policy, got them to take the policy. That’s a great feeling. It’s really a great feeling. That’s one book, ‘The Professional Sales Process.’ Now, for managers, the best book we have there is ‘Building a Master Agency.’ Those two books are A to Z. One for agents, one for managers.

Mark Miletello:

Well, I’ve read them both. I’ve read ‘Building the Master Agency’ several times. I just got to tell you, Garry, that I wish … I know this has been twice as long as our normal show, and our normal podcast. I just felt it was a special moment to … and it was an honor and a privilege to have you on board with us. I just got to tell you from the industry, on behalf of the industry, thank you for your energy, your mentorship. Thank you from the clients’ perspective, all the lives that you’ve touched through the agents and managers that you’ve … I know you got a lot going on today and a lot going on in a busy career still, and to take the time, I got to tell you how much it means to me.

Garry Kinder:

Well, I’m proud of you and what you’ve done, Mark. I’m glad that you’re doing so well. Down the line, we can do this again in six months, or whenever you want to … call me back and … continue some of the things we didn’t get to today.

Mark Miletello:

Well, you’re right. We have so much more to do. Thank you for that invitation, I absolutely will look forward to that. To dive in, I think more of your coaching, and your processes, and your tips, and your books. We wanted to know about you and your life on this call. Thank you for that invitation. Garry, is there any last words you want to share, as well as maybe how people best can follow you?

Garry Kinder:

Well, stick in there. One of the things you and I talked about was … from time to time, we’re going to fumble, sometimes big sometimes small. No matter what happens, to the people I’m talking to, follow what Mark’s talking about, and follow what I’m talking about here. You will do well. You are doing … You’re in a great business. It’s a wonderful place to be, and help people … accomplish their financial goals, because most of them need the help of a strong financial agent.

Mark Miletello:

Well, thank you, Garry. We love you and we appreciate you. I’m sure anyone can Google Garry, G-A-R-R-Y, Kinder, and you’ll find as much information as you want to as far as how to follow him.

Garry Kinder:

That’s right.

Mark Miletello:

If you like what you hear on this show, go to iTunes, rate and review us, and that way others can follow us. I’m Mark Miletello, your host, on ‘Where the Insurance Pros Meet.’