The Secret Legal Career Tactic of “Lock In”


Insurance Salespeople are Dangerous

Several years ago I found myself sitting in the office of an insurance salesman. This was no ordinary insurance salesman. In fact, this guy sold so much insurance that he owned three jet airplanes and was worth a few hundred million dollars.
It was about a four- hour drive for me to go see this guy. We had been set up for a meeting by a mutual acquaintance. It takes a lot for me to be motivated enough to get in the car and drive four hours to go and see someone I hardly know. There are lots of successful people out there and I love meeting them; notwithstanding, sitting in traffic in Los Angeles is not my idea of fun and there needs to be something pretty significant to get me to go that far.
Ostensibly, I was there because the insurance agent had led me to believe he needed my help. He had heard about this thing called “the Internet” and thought that I might be able to help him get his business online—he said we could “do exciting things together” and led me to believe that I could join him in the insurance industry.
I am not in the insurance industry, but because he was connected to a friend of mine, I decided to meet this incredibly successful individual and talk to him about the Internet. That alone would not have been enough to motivate me to go and see the insurance agent. However, in the grand scheme of things this was about the most brilliant thing he could have said to get me motivated to go see him. When it really came down to it, the reason I went to see the insurance agent was because I had some questions that puzzled the heck out of me:
  • How does a man with no significant education amass hundreds of millions of dollars selling insurance?

  • How does a man with hardly any staff make hundreds of millions of dollars selling insurance?

  • How does a man who operates with nothing but a telephone and notepad on his desk make hundreds of millions of dollars selling insurance?

The agent’s offices were nothing extraordinary. In fact, the insurance agent had built what I might as well call “an empire” with a staff of three secretaries and a few part-time insurance agents who helped him.
When I got into his office, the friend of the insurance agent who had accompanied me down to see him started talking about something called “a John Hancock”—some incredible insurance policy that was only granted to the “close associates” of the most successful insurance agents in the country. Apparently, all you had to do was spend $100,000 on the policy and then in two years John Hancock would buy it back for $250,000! This sounded too good to be true and I wanted one!