In January 1949, Hugh A. Wedge, sales-training director with Security Mutual Life in Binghamton, NY, offered an unusual account of an all-night sales binge conducted by 29 tireless, life insurance sales professionals.
The group participated in a life underwriter training course and, on a dare, decided to plan "Operation Paul Revere," to be conducted on Friday, the concluding day of the course.
At 7 p.m., they began to canvass the city of Binghamton, determined to find prospects and sell insurance policies. One salesman started out alone and visited people in gas stations, restaurants, bakeries, and any other place he could find open. He wrote four life insurance policies for $20,000. He closed the first sale at 12:30 a.m. at a gas station and his last at 4:30 a.m. at a trucking company. Another agent sold a $50,000 policy to a young doctor in a hospital at 1:05 a.m. and collected a check for the first premium.
"One woman in the group," wrote Wedge, "made it a point to establish herself in the cafeteria of one of the hospitals. Here she could sit under comfortable circumstances and talk with the nurses as they came in for their suppers. She had three interviews and closed three sales. She also got 10 new sales leads."
One intrepid agent canvassed policemen wherever possible. One policeman he approached said that he had been looking for a chance to talk with a life insurance agent because he wanted to go into the business himself. He later was signed up as a new agent for the company, got an "A" on the aptitude index test, and is planning to work full-time for the company.
The group worked until 5 a.m. and then met at an all-night restaurant to compare notes. The waiter who served coffee told one of the alert salespeople that he wanted to buy some insurance but hadn't had the chance to talk with anyone about it during the day. He, too, signed the application and paid his first premium of $107 in cash after producing a roll of bills.
The 29 agents worked a total of 209 hours that night, made 227 calls, concluded 125 successful sales interviews, closed 61 sales, sold $285,608 of life insurance, and earned an aggregate of $3,203 in commissions.
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