George McCloy remembers back in the mid-1960s when he sold his first life insurance policy as well as when he delivered his first death claim.
“The first policy I ever sold I actually had to deliver to the guy in a hospital,” he says. “He was no longer insurable, but he had prepaid it, so I was able to deliver it. Because of that, his family was able to stay in America ― they were from Italy.”
McCloy feels this was the first incident when belief in his product was a key point in his career. “People who really succeed in financial services are people who believe in what they do,” he says. “If you don’t know the benefits of life insurance, it would be hard to sell because it’s intangible,” says McCloy, president of the 50-employee McCloy Financial Services.
“My first actual paid death claim was a fraternity brother of mine who was killed in Vietnam. I went to his wedding in May, his funeral in September and delivered an insurance policy check to his wife.
“So it’s not hard when you have that kind of thing happen early in your career to believe in what you do.”
Once McCloy secured a deep belief in his product, he found a second key to success was diligence.
“I am blessed with ‘stick-to-itiveness,’” he says. “I’m not afraid to work; I never had what is known as ‘call reluctance.’ So, I set a task for myself and stick to it, trying to accomplish that in a year ― tell people I would do it ― you mix those all together, and you end up usually building a pretty nice clientele.”
Persistence is a personal key to his success, and he heartily endorses it for others, especially those starting out in an industry.
“I would give them the advice that it’s not what the industry might do for them but what they might do for the industry, meaning that a lot of kids maybe come out of college not having the same work ethic that I had when I graduated,” McCloy says. “If they would put their head down and work hard toward whatever their objective was or if they could pick out their niche and stick to it, they could be successful in the business.”
Another key to success is working well with people. An understanding of figures or stocks and bonds and insurance-type products is a good thing, but it’s not necessarily a dealmaker.
“You’ll do better financially for yourself if you are good at working with people because you can get anybody to work with figures,” McCloy says. “The ability to work with, understand and listen to people would be much more to their advantage than just working with figures.”
Most people are born with some people skills that can be later groomed and improved. But the opposite for those only comfortable with numbers is not necessarily true.
“It would be much easier to teach somebody who understands how to work with people how to understand numbers than it is to take somebody who understands numbers and try to get them to be fluent with people,” McCloy says.
“I know some very successful people who are not terribly extroverted,” he says. “You could be an introvert but understand how to get along with people. You don’t have to be the big ‘rah rah’ guy to go out and be an extrovert to make it.”
Finding your specialty, believing in your mission and sticking to it can result in big accomplishments in your career, even if you aren’t a cheerleader, so to speak.
“I know some actually humble people who picked a niche like the pension business or the group insurance business and have done quite well by getting something they understood. They stuck with it, learned it, asked questions, listened to people and did well but weren’t that extroverted.”
Community involvement is one of the steps in developing people skills.
“Give to your community in some way,” McCloy says. “You get to know people, then people tend to want to talk to you. That’s my motif.”
A final key to success, although not the least one, is motivation to imagine your success.
“If a young person can paint the story of success and you ask that person what the definition of success is in the next 12 months or five years from now, you’d have some idea of either how logical that person is in the thought process,” McCloy says.
If there is a reasonable goal that is obtainable, you can motivate people by activity.
“Focus on a certain market segment activity, and if you are willing to do it two or three times a day, as opposed to two or three times a week, then you will be successful,” he says.
“If I believe in something and I’m excited enough to go out and do it and I can demonstrate a certain level of success — you know, if you sell two truckloads of this, you get X dollars — it’s not hard to motivate somebody else to say, ‘Well, gee, maybe I can sell a truckload.’”
How to reach: McCloy Financial Services, (614) 457-6233 or www.mccloyfinancial.com