Saturday, September 20, 2008
The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT),
The Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals, is an international, independent association of more than 35,000 members, or less than 1 percent, of the world's most successful life insurance and financial services professionals from 476 companies in 76 nations and territories. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of sales excellence in the life insurance and financial services business.
To be a valued, member-driven international network of leading insurance and investment financial services professionals/advisors who serve their clients by exemplary performance and the highest standards of ethics, knowledge, service and productivity.
In 1927, 32 extraordinary life insurance producers, each of whom had sold at least $1 million of life insurance, dreamed of a forum dedicated to fostering a high-standard, professional approach to life insurance sales and service. Founded on the belief that growth is a result of exchanging ideas, the concept was: "To receive, individuals must give."
Out of this dream emerged MDRT – an international, independent association that represents the world's best sales professionals in the life insurance-based, financial services industry.
MDRT, a positive influence in the life insurance industry, has developed a rich tradition of sharing knowledge for the benefit of clients, prospects, producers and companies.
Code of Ethics
MDRT members should be ever mindful that complete compliance with and observance of the Code of Ethics of the Million Dollar Round Table shall serve to promote the highest quality standards of membership. These standards will be beneficial to the public, and the insurance and financial services profession.
MDRT has a strategic plan that it follows when developing new programs and benefits for its members. The strategic plan contains nine goals and objectives to guide the organization in helping its members better serve their clients and learn from one another.
MDRT is governed and managed by a five-member Executive Committee duly elected each year by the MDRT membership.
Court of the Table and Top of the Table
Court of the Table and Top of the Table serve as additional incentives for members to increase their levels of production. Court of the Table members must earn three times the MDRT base production requirement, and Top of the Table members must earn six times the base production requirement. Both Court of the Table and Top of the Table members can take advantage of additional member benefits provided exclusively to them.
The MDRT Annual Meeting has been described as a one-of-a-kind event, unrivaled in the world of business. Every year, more than 6,000 of the world's top producers gather in a spirit of camaraderie for one of the greatest gatherings of financial services professionals in the world.
Annual Meeting attendees are exposed to some of the finest and most innovative sales ideas in the life insurance-based, financial services business. The meeting offers about 100 speakers during its motivational Main Platform presentations, educational Focus Sessions and insightful breakfast and evening sessions. And, perhaps most importantly, members can network with other top financial services professionals from around the world, building friendships that last a lifetime.
Top of the Table Annual Meeting
The purpose of the Top of the Table Annual Meeting is to provide an annual educational meeting for the exchange of advanced sales ideas and for the development of interpersonal relationships among leading financial producers who are Top of the Table members. During the four-day meeting, about 40 professional, nonmember and Top of the Table member speakers discuss subjects of vital concern to those in the life insurance and financial services industry.
The purpose of this event, which is held every two years, is to bring MDRT's Annual Meeting experience to producers in other countries. This event, modeled after MDRT's prestigious Annual Meeting, delivers cutting-edge sales techniques and ideas, technical information and motivational concepts for those in the life insurance and financial services business. The MDRT Experience is open to both MDRT members and nonmember producers.
The MDRT Foundation is the philanthropic arm of MDRT, The Premier Association of Financial Professionals. The mission of the MDRT Foundation is to increase member and industry participation and to give funds to worthwhile charitable organizations throughout the world.
The MDRT Foundation provides a vehicle for MDRT members and corporate partners to pursue their philanthropic goals, which highlight the compassion and integrity of the life insurance and financial services industry.
Since its formation in 1959, the MDRT Foundation has granted more than $20.4 million to charitable organizations serving people in 67 countries and all 50 U.S. states. Starting in 2003, thanks to the Million Dollar Promise Appeal, the MDRT Foundation has awarded more than $1 million in grants each year. In 2007, more than $2.8 million in grants was distributed.
2008 MDRT Experience - Chiba, Japan
Thousands of Financial Services Professionals Attend
MDRT Experience in Chiba, Japan
Nearly 7,000 financial services professionals from 25 countries attended the fourth MDRT Experience meeting held April 11-13, 2008, in Chiba, Japan. Attendees enjoyed two days of motivation, inspiration and learning, as well as plenty of opportunities for networking -- all of which make MDRT meetings the best in the industry.
"MDRT was delighted to be in Chiba, Japan, to host the MDRT Experience meeting," said 2008 MDRT President James E. Rogers, CLU, CFP, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. "Throughout the years, our membership in Japan has been strong and supportive, and we are glad we have the opportunity to bring our message of professionalism, productivity and personal growth to financial services professionals in the region."
Following is an overview of the meeting and the presentations enjoyed by attendees:
Friday, April 11, 2008
The meeting officially opened Friday, April 11, with a welcome reception, where more than 5,000 attendees had the opportunity to enjoy great food and entertainment, while spending time with friends and meeting others who may be new to MDRT.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
On Saturday morning, Main Platform opened with the traditional MDRT flag ceremony, which celebrates both the diversity and unity of MDRT. Following the ceremony, MDRT past President and 29-year Top of the Table qualifier, Tony Gordon, from Bristol, England, set an upbeat and energetic tone with his presentation, "The Winning Formula." He not only shared his secrets for success, but also encouraged those in the audience, especially those who might be just starting out in the business, to consider the small changes they could make in both their professional and personal lives that could lead to big results.
MDRT members are known for giving back to their communities and supporting worthy causes, and MDRT Japan has a strong history of charitable giving. Hisako Ohno, General Manager of Make-A-Wish Japan, shared stories of wishes granted to children in need. She was joined by a wish recipient, a young man with muscular dystrophy who was able to meet his hero, a famous Japanese baseball player. At the end of the presentation, the MDRT Foundation and the MDRT Foundation Japan each provided $10,000 grants to Make-A-Wish Japan to help them continue to change and improve the lives of children in need.
MDRT member Akihiko Yamada, from Tokyo, Japan, who has three Court of the Table and six Top of the Table qualifications, spoke to attendees about the importance of building trust and rapport with clients. In his presentation, "The Best Balance of Psychology and Marketing," he explained why learning about a client's family, values and hobbies can be just as important as product knowledge and technical expertise. "I think that my clients and prospects are looking for a financial concierge," Yamada explained. "Find the best balance of strategic thinking and willingness to help, and this will help you stay truly connected to your client."
In the "Power of Passion," adventurer Jamie Clark used the challenges and struggles he faced climbing Mt. Everest as an analogy to help attendees face their everyday Everests. While Clark did reach the summit in 1997, he had to turn back twice when he was just 500 feet from his goal. With images and recordings from his own journey, he was able to show attendees how to conquer their fears by viewing failure as a worthy learning experience.
On Saturday, a special lunch was held for more than 1,700 MDRT members providing them a chance to network and meet the MDRT Executive Committee. Following lunch, Ruben Gonzalez inspired the audience with his story of beating the odds to become on Olympian. In his presentation, "Becoming Unstoppable," he showed attendees how to take control of their lives and push beyond self-imposed limitations. He said, "I'm not a great athlete. I can't jump high; I can't run fast; I am not that strong. I am just a very average athlete. But, I had a dream, and I was willing to do whatever it took to reach it and you can, too."
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from the five-member MDRT Executive Committee during a special panel discussion on practice management. Between them, the Executive Committee has 157 years of MDRT membership, 26 Court of the Table and 55 Top of the Table qualifications. Attendees heard how each got started in the business and how they manage their practice today. Topics included how to obtain referrals, office efficiency and relationship building with other advisors.
Saturday closed with a presentation titled "Feel Great" from Matt Church, an author and one of Australias more creative educators on health, lifestyle and motivation. Church provided an enlightening overview about how to control mood by simply understanding how your bodys naturally occurring chemicals drive productivity, happiness and stress. Church told attendees, "I have learned that we need to choose our mood. A lot of us are living lifestyles that change our mood, and then blaming the mood and not understanding that it is our lifestyle affecting it."
Attendees were free to enjoy their evening and explore the surrounding area, while gearing up for a full day of presentations the following day.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
"Are You an Agent, Advisor or Both?" In this presentation, 34-year MDRT member and internationally-known speaker, Edwin Morrow, RFC, CFP, challenged attendees to think about this question and reflect on how they are perceived by the public. He provided practical advice about how to project the image of a confident, competent and professional advisor.
In the presentation, "How to Work a Room," 12-year MDRT member Bhupinder Anand, ACII, DipPFS, of London, England, told the audience how to make a dramatic impact on the people you meet. Audience members learned how to create a lasting first impression and how to initiate conversations with prospective clients. He explained why it is so important to adapt your own style to match or mirror the style of the person you are talking to. According to Anand, who has six Top of the Table honors, "This is how you create rapport with others and determine if a prospect could benefit from your services."
In his presentation, "The Futuremakers: Attributes of Tomorrows Successful Advisors," Bruce Haddon, an expert on brand innovation noted, "As our industry evolves from a distribution channel to an advisory profession, we cant afford to sound like traditional salespeople. Because the role of the salesperson, with its familiar techniques of persuasion, has no place once insurance and investment advice becomes a true profession." Haddon discussed specific skills -- skills that have proven successful in Australia's highly regulated insurance market -- that advisors will need to learn to achieve future success in the profession.
The next presentation literally had the audience laughing. Following her studies on hospital management in the United States, Kazue Takayanagi, M.D., Ph.D., returned to Japan determined to improve the healing process. She introduced the Smile-Sun Method of laughter education to the country, and in her presentation she discussed the many health benefits of laughter.
If there was any doubt in the audience's mind about the benefit of financial planning and the importance of life insurance, that doubt was erased by Karla Ashton in her presentation, "Gifts of Love." Ashton's husband, Dave, died of a heart attack at a young age. His final gift to her, the gift of life insurance, allowed Ashton to make decisions that were helpful and healing for her and her three children. "I have wonderful memories of Dave and my family," she said. "But, had Dave not had life insurance, I am afraid the memories would have been pushed to the far recesses of my mind as the panic and need to provide for my family took over. Life insurance gave me the gift of having time to remember the good times."
Miles Hilton Barber lost his eyesight more than 25 years ago, but that has not stopped him from challenging barriers and succeeding on expeditions to deserts, mountains, under water and in the sky. In "Living the Impossible Dream," he recounted many of his journeys and the obstacles he faced, and overcame, along the way. However, his message was clear when he said to the audience, "My friends, as you watch this, remember that I am not trying to impress you, but I am trying to impress on you that if a very ordinary blind man can do these things, imagine what you can do."
MDRT top producer Van Mueller, who has 16 Top of the Table honors, closed the meeting by challenging the audience to help baby boomers from around the world prepare for their retirement. In what he terms, "The Greatest Opportunity Ever," Mueller shared how the financial services industry is strategically positioned with the right products and services to help people take control of their futures.
Throughout the meeting, entertainment, motivation and inspiration was provided by Lynn Rose, who has been called "The Voice of Transformation." Rose, who says her passion is to connect people to their hearts and help empower them, moved the audience with her uplifting messages and music.
MDRT President Rogers ended the meeting with the announcement of future meetings. "MDRT is planning to host Experience meetings in Asia every year, beginning in 2010," he said. "As the financial services profession continues to grow throughout the region, it only makes sense for MDRT to establish a presence and develop strong relationships with professionals and companies in Asia. MDRT provides a foundation for success by helping financial services professionals acquire the skills they need to provide excellent service and sound financial plans to their clients."