Harry Hoopis is an entrepreneur and industry leader in the insurance and financial services space who has built a successful firm based in Chicago, IL. He speaks, teaches, and inspires executives, advisors, and front-line salespeople — providing the systems, methods, efficiencies, and confidence needed to excel in the industry. He is the author of the best-selling book, The Road to the Bountiful Life, and recipient of NAIFA's prestigious John Newton Russell Memorial Award.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Harry Hoopis explains why he’s committed to the insurance and financial services industry
- The working relationship between Harry Hoopis and Al Granum
- How Harry transitioned from working as an agent to owning his own firm
- The strategies Harry incorporated to promote healthy firm growth
- Tips for agents’ and advisors’ development
- Harry shares what receiving the John Newton Russell Award means to him
- Mentors that have influenced Harry’s career journey
- The value of joining NAIFA as an advisor
- Harry offers insight into the 10 Hoopis Rules of Life
In this episode…
It's easy for financial service professionals to lose passion for their careers. Why? The industry poses many challenges, leading to waning hope of achieving success. So what can you learn from an experienced financial services industry leader?
Thriving in the insurance and financial services industries entails having passion, commitment to long-term growth, and personal responsibility as an agent or advisor. Harry Hoopis also recommends self-development through education, networking, discipline, and maintaining a positive attitude. He shares his journey as a successful agent and advisor and provides vision, lean-on experience, and advice to guide the next generation of leaders in the field.
On this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan sit down with Harry Hoopis, an entrepreneur and industry leader in the insurance and financial services space. Harry explains why he’s committed to the insurance and financial services industry, his strategies for promoting healthy business growth, tips for agents' and advisors' development, and his experience receiving NAIFA's prestigious John Newton Russell Memorial Award.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Chris Gandy on LinkedIn
- Suzanne Carawan on LinkedIn
- Harry Hoopis on LinkedIn
- John Newton Russell Memorial Award
- The Road to the Bountiful Life: Achieving Success in Financial Services
Sponsor for this episode...
This episode is brought to you by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or NAIFA, the #1 association for producers in financial services.
At NAIFA, we enhance professional skills, promote ethical conduct, and advocate for legislative and regulatory environments.
By joining NAIFA, you gain access to a partnership that elevates your performance while providing greater purpose to your professional work. NAIFA members are happier, make more money, and stay in the business longer.
Welcome to NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series, where we focus on how financial advisors work, live and give to their local communities and our greater financial services industry. Now, let's get started with the show.
Chris Gandy 0:20
Hi, everyone, this is Chris Gandy, your co-host of Advisor Today podcast where we come together for the purpose of uplifting the industry and professionals like yourself with my wonderful co-host, Suzanne Carawan. Hi, Suzanne, how are you?
Suzanne Carawan 0:34
I'm good, Chris. Good to be here.
Chris Gandy 0:37
We have a wonderful guest today before we get to our wonderful guests, Mr. Harry Hoopis, Suzanne who's our sponsor for today's program?
Suzanne Carawan 0:45
Well, it is the none other than the John Newton Russell family who is the founders of the John Newton Russell Award. And I think Harry might talk about a little bit during today's podcast because he is one of the recipients actually the last recipient of it. And we do haven't announced it yet. But we selected who the next winner of this prestigious award is. And that will be announced in the next couple of months. But it's suffice it to say, you have to have done a few things to earn this one. So we're excited to talk to Harry today there's a legend and talk about some of the work that he's done. And how it is that he was named the John Newton Russell Award winner.
Chris Gandy 1:23
Right. So without further ado, I put my tie on because I said I can't let Mr. Hoopis outdress me but none other than the guru and I've called him the dawn of insurance that financial services for a long time because he dresses the park. No other than Mr. Harry Hoopis. So, Mr. Harry Hoopis how are you?
Harry Hoopis 1:51
I'm great, Chris, and good to see you again.
Chris Gandy 1:53
Okay, good. Good. So, let's start off. One, thank you so much to your commitment to this industry. I mean, this industry is one where, people come and they leave, but you have been in the industry for a period of time. Can you share with us kind of a little bit about your journey and in really why you stuck so heavily to financial services, and the insurance business as a whole?
Harry Hoopis 2:21
Sure, I'd be happy to Chris. It's a long story because it actually began in 1968. I was a student at the University of Rhode Island studying and I had to take a class in summer school in order to graduate in four years. And so that meant I gave up my construction job, which was paying an amazing $4.25 an hour. And I went down to the placement office looking for something that fit in around my class schedule. I would have been done anything waiter, you name it. And when I walked into the placement office, there's a sign on the wall in big print says sell life insurance part-time, $75 a week, guaranteed 10 weeks. I quickly did the maths that $750 for the summer. The guide learned something about life insurance. I do work in my father's grocery store on the weekends and he paid me and then I borrowed another 1000 bucks from the bank and I was all set for my senior year in college. And lo and behold this was the precursor of Northwestern Mutual's internship program. They call it a part-time job. I had a part time agents contract. But I just fell in love with it immediately. And went full-time in June of 1969. Very funny story this morning, Chris. I was in my office here making some notes. And I wanted to draw some straight lines. So reached in I pulled up my ruler. See that? Yeah, it says MDRT crusade sponsor, Northwestern Mutual 1971. This is my desk grow off of 62 years. Recognizing the first year that I qualify for the million-dollar roundtable, which isn't was in 1970. So it was the 71st 9071 Roundtable. So in the beginning, it was an internship, in many ways, I learned a great deal. But what people told me immediately was sell 100 lives in your first year and you'll be successful. And in our agency back in Rhode Island, there were two or 300 lives produces, and not knowing any better I thought, Boy, these people look like they've got it together. They're organize, successful. They belong to a country club, which I had no idea what a country club was. And I said I'm going to just do what they do. And what they did was they had high activity, bet a lot of referrals and come hell or high water, they were going to sell 100 lives a year. Which one you think about it is, you know, to couple a week. And as you well know, Chris, because you're a big producer, you just got to stay with it. So in my first year, I managed to sell 100 lives. And remarkably, that write me 100. Nice. And then Northwestern Mutual, I didn't even realize they were that few at the time writing 100 lives. Nolan showed me the record book. So I had nothing to go by except what couple other guys that were more or less my mentors in the earliest stages. And when they told me that kind of brought this about was they said practice to fall one hundreds. And so for those of you that might be familiar with the Grantham point system, basically, it was to achieve five points a day. And that was, you can do that with referrals, appointments, cab, back finders closing interviews. And they said, If you could have 100 points a month, consistently, using that formula, that would lead to 100,000 of premium. And that would lead to 100,000, eventually, of first-year commission. So that became known as the fall one congrats, which we practiced in my organization for many, many years. So that was really how we got this thing launched.
Chris Gandy 6:34
Well, hear you, I'm fortunate enough to know you now since I started in the business in 90. And you had kind of a, I would say, call it kind of a mentor kind of mid T relationship with who was the general agent who I was in his office, John, right. Right down in it, right. Yeah. But we actually had an opportunity to come to meetings in Chicago, and get a chance to work to meet the algorithm, who I believe was in your office. And so when you talk about history of the biz, can you share with us a little bit about what it was like to actually work as close to algorithm as you did, because you guys created some cool stuff. And you propel the business in a way where it was more cerebral about the business than it was about just selling insurance.
Harry Hoopis 7:33
Yeah, thanks. Happy to. My relationship with Al Branham began, when I was appointed, the general agent in Evanston, Illinois, l was already famously the biggest Northwest in general Asia, in downtown Chicago, as everyone would know, 208 saltless, our street was very famous by made famous by owl. And in my earliest days, as a general agent, I wouldn’t to call on out now, We would be friendly competitors, we're same company. He's the old legend, I'm the new guy that you know, whose first training class of three people failed within 90 days. So it was uncertain as to whether I'd be around or not. And I went down to visit out and he brought out a set of tapes, while cassette tapes. He said, Harry, I've just finished producing these, this is everything I know about being successful in the business. I'm going to give you a set said if you listen to all, you don't like him, you can turn them over and record on the other side, just when he said otherwise, do whatever you want. Well, I went home, I had 100 copies of that 12 pack, copied. And that became the basis of my training program. So our retired must have been 15 years later, the age of 62. And he didn't want to be in the way of his successor. And I was out in Northfield, which was rather convenient to his home. So he asked if he could join me imagine that he's asking if he could come and office with me in my office building. And he did that. And he did that for 15 years. He did it until driving was an issue for him and he couldn't do it anymore. But the thing about our was, he was always on, and he had his very guiding principles about activity that never changed. And we would joke I'd say I have a guest in the office. It could be you, for example, when you came up with John, right? And I say Allah, you got a few minutes for Chris Gandy. And you just kind of tuck them out of the chest that he starts his speech. And he tells you how your activities going to improve your performance. And so he was automatic all the time. This wonderful guy and really a key mentor in the early days for me.
Chris Gandy 9:54
Yeah, I remember when you hit I remember we had a club because I started at assume at the same company, and there was a club that when you hit 100 lives, there was kind of this, you go to our grant, I don't know what it was, but it was like a one day without grant. And you guys put it on and you guys were seeing your people and other people send their people. And it was kind of like the group. And I was in that group. So that was kind of cool to kind of say, Okay, well wait a minute, the guy who wrote the book, the main EUPOL this, this is that the guy who's that guy? That's Hill, right. So I remember that, like, it was like it was yesterdays. But you know, what a blessing it was to be able to say that we work with him. Now we turn to page and we turn to page to your success. And you spent a lot of time as a general agent, you spent some time as an agent, tell us a little bit about that transition. And now the transition to being part and creating this thought leadership of the Hoopis Performance Network. And the thought behind that we did a review, Joey Davenport, who is who is fantastic in the industry. And in a real sales guy and greet activity, my but the process started with the idea from you. So we want to hear from you. what that process was like in this in this kind of strategy of doing this, because this is a way you can retire. You could have said, hey, guys, I'm done. I've done my thing hit enough for 3040 years, put your hat on and say, hey, I'm right off in the sunset, but you decided, hey, you know what, I'm gonna create something new and different, to continue to educate the industry about similar to the things we learned. So I'll be quiet. But my whole point is that we want to understand the journey from being an agent, when you do decide to a, I'm going to go into management and others how to do this. And then you hired from that. What then tapped you on the shoulder to say, let's create something different like the Hoopis Performance.
Harry Hoopis 12:07
Yeah. Well, let's go to the beginning quickly. And talk about my earliest days in the field. Graduated went full time, as I mentioned, did 100 lives as a qualifying member of the Round Table. And during that period of time, I began to pursue CLU. And I actually received my CLU in September of 1974. And in those days, I'm not sure about the rules to that you had to have three years in the business to get the awards, or the designation. So I really worked as hard as I could the past the 10 exams at that time to get my CLU, because I believe that the education would equal people's confidence, and that I needed to have confidence to be tops in sales. So that little piece of background, I finished the CLU designation, and about that time, the home office asked me to go work in the home office in Milwaukee. And I was there for three years, two weeks, one day in an hour, and learned a lot about the business, and was fortunate to be appointed as General agent in Evanston, Illinois, as I mentioned, when I became general agent, almost immediately, we created a mission statement for our organization, it is said to create our mission was to create an environment where agents at that time, became referred to as advisors over the years, create an environment where agents can grow personally, excuse me grow and continue to grow personally, financially and professionally. And so that became the mantra and the three values of the organization were passion, commitment to long-term growth, and personal responsibility. So that became the three-legged stool upon which we built our education program. And I've often said over the years, the most important words in the mission statement were continue to grow. You see, I think agents, the reason many leave the business is that you get bored with the business. After a while you kind of riding lives and you're not challenged and believe it or not as difficult as it is for many to get started,, after they get it going they kind of lose interest. So you have to continually challenge yourself. It CLU exams, all the American college programs, any other opportunities for personal growth and development once we have all the required regulatory exams today as well. So that was the basis what that led to in my organization was what we internally called the Hoopis University? Ultimately, that's what Joey Davenport came from the home office to run in our agency. Now, well, I haven't told this story in a while, because people look at me like I've got three years, we actually charge the agents that tuition to be in the agency. And every agent paid $100 a month, that went into the pot that funded our education. Because what we did was beyond what anyone I knew what I was doing, what does that mean? It meant that we would have personal speakers come into the agency, like Bill Cates blog, Joe Jordan, Gail Goodman, long list of people, I mean, more than you can imagine, and these people would come in and make presentations, even in those days, it was five to $10,000, for a day with these folks, no general agent, I knew I had that kind of money. But the agents in my organization saw it as a benefit for themselves to the extent that they were all willing to pay a $100 was a zero-sum game. We did, we did an accounting at the end of the year, we spent every dime in more as it came in. But he gave us that ability. And so ultimately, what happened is those contacts those people that like Bill Gates, and Joe and others that came into the agency, once or twice a year, they became the basis for the Hoopis Performance Network. Because once we were introduced to the learning management platform that we currently are on them, we had the talent, because I would ask Bill, I said, Bill, would you mind giving us some of your knowledge, so we can put it on video, these people quickly decided this was a good thing to do. And then we went to friends that were advisors and agents, top producers, and we would ask them if they'd contribute. And our first clients, if you will, we're other agencies. And then before you know it, those agencies, there were enough of them in a company, and then the companies would buy it. And we continue to this day, 14 years of five new videos every single month, of which you've been one of our most recent releases to great acclaim, by the way, so congratulations. And so that was the basis. Now, what happens is if you have a good program, and I think we do, and it's reasonably priced, because we have volume, we have over 100,000 people on the system today, 60, or 70, companies in nearly 30 countries, by over six languages. If a program is of value, then people keep referring us to others. And so today, we represent most all of the US companies. And then I mentioned the Canadians of costs, and we have a whole team that's working in Latin America now. And the Asian marketplace is booming. So it just spreads because it's good, simple, common sense. I'm going to hear from the best consultants in the business. I'm going to hear from top of the table quarter the table produces almost exclusively. And where can you find that we have nearly 3000 videos in the library now to solve nearly every problem that an advisor or a leader has for that matter. So that's the past. That's how it got here.
Chris Gandy 18:38
Why I think what it does solve in the industry is the disconnect between the companies, right? And you've seen it right? So I've been to a couple companies and I've seen the educational play, and there's in sports right when I was yea high to a TED bowl, is that they teach you the fundamentals when you start, they don't teach you how to pass by non-sport basketball, they teach you how to dribble, pass and shoot. They don't teach you how to dribble, how to throw, the first thing they don't do is teach you how to pass behind your back. And it's so they teach you the fundamentals right. And so if Northwestern Mutual was good at teaching how to do 100 lives MassMutual might have been good at teaching how to to take 100 lives and how to make half a million dollars. And then Matt might have been good at when that was there. They might have been good at how to take that and cross-sell. And then you had Prudential there might have been good at XYZ or New York Life that was good at and so it what it does is, what you've done is you've created an agnostic platform that other companies that when they don't have a point guard, I go back to my sports analogy, when I don't have a point guard or I don't have a sitter, I can borrow from you. And it's the best of the best, right and so that's allowed for that agnostic platform, there's a need in the industry for that type of platform that now as you saw the need, because obviously you continue to get new members and people are super excited about it. And it continues to be one of those things that actually pops up on my phone every morning, and it pops up. Excellent Is this where your next one is this so it'll the cadence is good. And it kind of keeps track of you and those type of things. But you guys have taken it to the next level, right. And so there are pieces in there for leaders that also do assignments and things that they could do with their ages and enter the bills type of thing. So once you got it, he knew was going to be a popular thing. How did you guys continue to say, this is something we can potentially take, we can build, we can grow, we can continuously make it better and better and better and better. Again, what I just build it, grow it, smell it to one of the companies and say, you know what, I've done my job, I've added value back to the marketplace.
Harry Hoopis 21:02
Yeah, well, I guess that will be the easy way out. it's so rewarding. I guess that's what drove my career. 35 years as a general agent, so rewarding to see people develop, personally, professionally and financially. I was able to show them away, which is legal immoral. So that they can do everything they want to do for their family, their church in that community. And I always felt very proud to be able to say that. And we had nearly a couple 100 agents when I retired. And these people were involved, they were involved with their families, they were able to donate time in money, right to their, their church or religious affiliation. They were involved in their communities in important ways. And I always felt that that was my great reward. And when you say why didn't I retire? is an old story. Bob Holt was asked on his, like, 85th Birthday, Mr. Holt, why don't you go retire and go fishing. And he said, fish don't clap. And it just occurred to me that, in my case, the clap was the satisfaction of seeing people succeed. And I still get notes all the time, I mean, emails coming in, literally from around the world. We just got a client a little over a year ago in Ghana, West Africa. First African group was so excited about these people, you want to see agents that want to learn, it's like, all of a sudden, they have this fire hose and they can, they can't get it fast enough that you know how rewarding that is. And we have these zoom calls, we have six or eight of the training people on it. And it's like you just gave them bowl. And so it's just so rewarding. And I see no reason I see no reason to quit.
Suzanne Carawan 23:03
Well, and I think actually, that's a really heartwarming way to put it. Because I think, in so many ways, hope and optimism are not in abundance in today's world. And so you're saying what you're really painting is pictures that that true kind of essence of agents and advisors really hasn't changed over the decades that there are still people out there. I love that what you're saying there, you're giving them an opportunity to do that kind of the moral legal way. And to continue, kind of pushing that light forward. Right?
Harry Hoopis 23:33
Yeah, absolutely. Which brings up an interesting point, because people tend to be critical of the generation it was the Millennials. And I say from the main platform all the time, there are still amazing people in every generation, it's maybe a little more difficult to find them. Because it is a big generation. And there are a lot of different viewpoints. But remember, only about 20% of the people on the planet can sell anything. So firstly, it's always been difficult for people like Chris and I, who are in that business of looking for the gold in the mind, it's always been difficult to find that person, but they are there. And so I continue to work with amazing people. We do our interviewing in one of our two studios, one in Chicago and one in Florida. And we have people into these interviews and people go holy cow is did you hear what he just said? Did he what she just said, it's amazing. The passion comes out, you know, the commitment. Another thing that's extremely important for agent development laws I'm thinking about it is systems structure and routine. And when you talk to successful people, that's what you hear about. You hear about how their day goes, everyday isn't different every day is very similar. You know. And so there are numerous stories about people. I get up at 5:30. I go off on my run, I come back, I cooled down while I read the paper, then the kids come down, we have breakfast, I have breakfast with the kids, they're off to school, I get dressed, go to the office, I'm there at 8:30am on the phone dialing at nine o'clock, my first appointments at 11, check at one. Third one's at three, every day is the same. If I go out the night, that night, let's say I get out to watch the bowls play, and I get home at midnight, still get up 5:30 do my run and breakfast with the kids, you repeat this not that not that person who goes out with their buddies on the night, that evening and decide to sleep in the next morning. That's not what this is about. Right? So it's the discipline that comes from this notion that, in my 10 rules of life Rule number two is that we're all basically lazy. And people laugh when I say that. But the reality is that successful people still inherently lazy, will look for ways to set up their environment for success. So and that's what you do. It's that discipline of setting the clock and never touching it. So it's going to go off at 5:30. It's that discipline, if you decide you're going to work out every day that you do that. And so successful people just have found ways to create an environment where they can succeed. And so just becomes critically important.
Chris Gandy 26:39
So Harry, I'm not going to touch that 10 rules of life. I'm not going to touch that one. Is there a book coming? Do we have that? Is that a secret sauce? Where does that? Where does that say?
Harry Hoopis 26:50
Well actually the gamma knife and shake as to as the book I donated the book to gamma before the merger. And it's called The Road to the Bountiful Life. And you can buy it online. I'm sure I've donated the book at all proceeds. But there are many, many great tips in the book. But it does start out with the 10 rules of life.
Chris Gandy 27:16
10 rules of life. Yeah, I'm interested to know this rule. Do you know the 10? Orlando was handled right. Yeah, you're right. Right. So we will ask you a couple other ones as we go along. Let's jump to the award. I mean, you were the first recipient, correct, says, Danny, if you correct me if I'm wrong. You were the first recipient of this very prestigious award.
Suzanne Carawan 27:48
First recipient from the lupus network. Yeah, but not...
Chris Gandy 27:52
But let's jump to the award. So I was there that night. And you received it. And you told a couple stories, specifically a couple that were pretty interesting and really moving your family was there share with us a little bit about what that award meant to you. And ultimately, now what it meant to receive that award and now be able to now present it to someone else.
Harry Hoopis 28:22
Yeah, well, it was quite an honor. I can tell you anecdotally that the committee dating committee recently met him I saw the process. I actually wondered, how did I get through this process? And so I was more honored as the sitting on the committee. And I was in receiving it if you know what I mean. So one of the key stories about the John Newton Russell Award, is that I had been introduced to it by my predecessor, general agent, John Todd. And John Todd was presented the John Newton Russell award in 1969, I believe was his year of entry. He retired his Managing Partner, general agent, I took over the office. One of my very first meetings, John told me about the John Newton Russell award, blind it did best he could. And he said, this will be a wonderful goal for you. I said, I'll be lucky if I'm here in three years. They'll never mind when the John Newton Russell award. So let's put that on hold for now. And so, to be quite honest, I suppose this is true. I was the at first recipient. The very first recipient was Solomon. The brilliant educator and founder of the American College and the array of people as you look down the list were managers, educators, agents, people by lie a true game back to the industry in a variety of... So there was no one path to the John Russell have made it even more of an honor to receive it, and to think, you know, there are only 81 people since 1940, that received the award is he makes it what it is really excited bill.
Chris Gandy 30:22
So, let me ask this, you know, the award now and now you serve as a part of the committee, so, you don't you took the award and just walked away? Did God bless him? And I said, thank you. And you have a unique ability to service over yourself, right, even though you benefit. And there's things that happen along the way, you're continuously jumping back in and saying, okay, you know, how can I be a part of this process? How can I add more? What can I do, so that has to come from a mentality? Can you share with us a little bit about where that mentality kind of comes from? Did you get it from your parents, was a part of you growing up or share with us a little bit about where that comes from? And
Harry Hoopis 31:16
Well, I suppose, you can never discount the value that your parents bring in your early stages of development. In our case, my father, and mother owned a the family grocery store, malls, small supermarket, he called it a supermarket because he said supermarkets had two or more cash registers. And he had two. So that qualifies. That was his own definition of a supermarket. And so I was raised by the age of six, I was working in the store, usually down in the basement sorting bottles out, because it was more like daycare. My mother worked in the store, and they had to bring me along and I get if I wasn't in school, I was at the store. And so there was a story that my father worked real hard. I mean, it was 90 hour a week schedule six and a half days a week, which obviously included Sunday morning. So the whole family was dedicated to this. And I guess one day I asked my father, I said, why do you do this? And he kind of knew exactly what I meant he was exhausted. Never had a family vacation. We didn't have an automobile, we had a truck, because the truck was needed for the store. And so I said that, why do you do this, and he looked at me without hesitation. And he said, son, because it's important for me to turn the doorknob on my own business. And it was the sacrifice that I witnessed. And so when I think of the magnitude of that, and then you can tie this into, you know, in my case, my grandparents, who migrated from my mother's side, from Italy, my father's side from Greece. And they come to the United States it you hear the story repeatedly, they come without a dime. And somehow they make a living, and I'm the beneficiary. And I used to say to my agents, do you realize how lucky we are to be here. And you can make one more phone calls. You can dial less, though, and one more time. My Italian grandfather got on a ship last his wife and his firstborn son in Italy for three years while he made enough money to bring them to the United States. Everybody's got this story. So when, when that is what your roots are, that's the base. Now you say, okay, how do I serve? How do I give back? And that's part of it, you know, the, the fact is, I don't fish. And I'm not a really good golfer, but I do like it. But it's so all I had to do every day, I probably just wither away. And I do believe that it's far more important and exciting to be able to make contributions throughout your lifetime, not your career, your lifetime. And this idea that we help people in so many ways. Back in 1980, I began a campaign in my agency, and we called it building to 1,000,000,002 billion was a billion dollars of life insurance base amount in sold in one year. And the year I began doing that, I think I ranked in northwestern top 10 and we did 100 million. And I said as my goal that by 1990, 10 years later, we would do 1 billion. And I started talking about that and that same predecessor, John Todd, who I mentioned with the John Newton Russell award. John was 75 years old at that time, and he looked at me said, young man, what are you smoking? Plus, I didn't even know he'd understand the reference to smoking marijuana. But he did. But 11 years later, we did it. And to my knowledge, we was the first agency to produce a billion dollars of life insurance in a single year. We didn't make it by 1989. It took a couple more years. But we actually achieved that goal. Now, looking back, when I retired, we had nearly 60 billion that we put in force in my company. And if you want to dissect that a little bit, you think about the hundreds of 1000s of policyholders and the beneficiaries in the lives we changed, whether because of death or disability or retirement, I mean, you just have to feel good about that all the time. And so that was what we did. And that's why we did it.
Chris Gandy 36:05
And I'll even expand on that area, if you think about the people, the next generation that you've set up for success, because of the impact indirectly you've had because of your the agents, because of the education because of the knowledge. That's a nation. That's as big as some of the nations out there. So you think about that is the impact the impact that you guys have had, not only in the industry, but in humanity, because without us, those people wouldn't do the work and how many people's lives that we save, and families that we saved from hardship, and financial ruins because of the work we've done. So congratulations on that. I mean, that's super impactful. mentors. So you mentioned your journey along the way. Who's been a mentor of yours? Oh, everybody needs a coach. Right? Everybody needs a coach. So what would you say has been your most challenging mentor, someone who's really pushed you to just be the best version of you?
Harry Hoopis 37:16
Yes. Well, there have been several, over the years. The very first one was in my agency in Rhode Island, where I first was a college intern, and then full time, his name was Israel Franklin. He would always say, if you name your child after me, I'll buy all the baby furniture. He never had an acre. But he was a sweetheart of a guy. And when he retired, he had written for lives for a month, but 500 months in a row. All lives never missed, just 500 months. So you just think about that, what an amazing accomplishment. So and so he was one of those two I mentioned earlier that was doing 100 lives. The four month, that was a minimum. But he was always over 100 lives producing. And he became a real inspiration to me. He was probably he was 60, at least. And I was 21. So this guy took me under his arm and helped me through those early years. And I never ever forgot the contribution that he made to my development. Second person that was very important was a home office executive by the name of Larry eternal. He's more like the one you just asked about that. He was the challenging guy. He was the one that would press you, question all of your thoughts and theories. In make you explain it. He never take it at face value. They always want to know more about what you were thinking. And he wasn't afraid to tell you when you were wrong. So I worked for Larry, in the home office for two years, is a direct report to him. And he had an amazing impact. And then, as my career went on, I had the opportunity to meet Don Clifton and Don Clifton was a PhD psychology professor at the University of Nebraska. He said, well, I did I read him, but he actually formed a company called Selection Reese. SRA, as it was known at a selection test what agents and leaders in the light in any industry, but one specific to our business. And I was introduced to that test. It was an interesting one because it was 250 questions, which were asked a couple hour period and recorded on a cassette tape. And we would send them to Lincoln Nebraska with someone would analyze them and send back recommendations. And even in those days talk in 1979 ad. That was $175 test. It was a lot of money. But the thought was, if I'm going to invest all this time in the people, and I often question why companies don't put more teeth into this selection, testing and profiling. When you think about the enormous amount of money companies do put into new agent development that thinks you got to put this on the wrong person is terrible. So I listing ran a workshop in Lincoln, called the premier agency workshop, and I attended as a student. Two years later, I was on his faculty, and I did that for several years now is how Dan would explain this. It's very important. He'd say, if you want to measure productivity, there's a formula. He said, the formula is this, if you want high productivity, that equals taking the right talent, okay, so he put a T out of the board. And he talked about talent, and what is the talent, it's the right person doing the right job. It's getting somebody that has propensity to succeed in the life insurance, business, that was talent, that's what he did, his test is profile was to help you determine if that person had the right talent. Then he said, you multiply that by that's the sum of E expectation, high expectations plus a relationship, because you can't have expectations of a person without a relationship. And you raise that to the second power, by recognition. And he said, recognition wasn't the trophy, while winning a contest, the recognition was constant. Pointing out when somebody was doing the right thing, you know, catching people doing the right things, congratulating them on small achievements, understanding what drove them, you know, a lot of people would say, it would be far more important for me to give a portrait of a family, right? Say it's my top agent. And instead of giving that person a trophy, if I gave him a portrait of their family would have more far more meaning than that trophy. But knowing that that was how he specialized in the recognition, he said, so if you could take that formula now, if you have to have high expectations, and you have to have a relationship in order to make that work. So Don was, he was funny, he was thoughtful. He would always say he said, people change, but seldom, and he would challenge you to say this, when was the last time you changed as much as you're asking someone else to change. And when you put it in that situation, you realize that my job as a general agent, was much more challenging. It was far more difficult, you can just okay, change, well, you don't change, but you can manage. And he would always say this, right? You manage weakness, you develop strengths. This happens in sports, you know, better than I, Chris, right? You take a talent, you want to work that skill, you want to work, the things they do well, at you manage the weakness, you might manage it with another player, if it's a team sport, right? In maybe in golf, you'd manage it, because you're going to show a perfect swing, but you're also going to have this, another soft hands around the green, and you teach someone to manage that stuff. So that was one of his themes all the time develop the strength to manage the weak. And so he was a very significant player that way, and, and probably my most meaningful mentor.
Chris Gandy 43:50
Well, I wrote a lot down there, Suzanne, hopefully one out there in Naperville Ireland, wrote that wrote those down, those are playing back, you know, those, those are going to be good nuggets, our goal, this podcast is to enhance the lives of the professionals that listen and dedicate their lives to the association. So talk to me a little bit about your relationship, and how did you get involved with NAIFA? And if you're talking to advisors out there about NAIFA today, what would you say? Why get involved? Why not just, become to sign up for the membership and say, oh, you know, I listen to a podcast here and there. You know, I'm not to be handed over the buck.
Harry Hoopis 44:32
Well, it's extremely important to look at all the associations. In my acceptance speech for the John Newton Russell Award. I said that at a very, very early stage in my career, and I mentioned this earlier, I realized that getting your CLU designation was important seem to me, if you're going to be in a business, that this would be important that you would have the designation of that million dollar roundtable, it was important to be among the best in the business and to be affiliated with the best in the business. And as it came to NAIFA's, it was very clear, you have an advocacy group who's improving your trip, the business, your end you've chosen is providing you with educational opportunities, numerous opportunities for meeting other people in the business sharing ideas, study groups, and all of that, it would seem to me, you should be in that group. So as an agency, we were a 100%. Agency, that the entire time that I ran the office, and I literally had people leave the office, I don't want to say I threw them out, I let them leave, because they weren't going to pay the dues. And I said, no free load is in my organization, you got to pay your way. And so, as you as you look at any career, there are certain things certain, you know, principles, the basics, you say, you can't do it without this. Why should I let someone else plow this field for me, I should be at the front. I should be pulling the poor. And I think that's what NAIFA does. You know, you have a lot of people have spent a lot of time doing remarkable things for a long time. And I will tell you this also, most people don't know it. But 60 years ago, roughly speaking, gamma was bombed by NAIFA. Went back when it was NLU. So it was named the NHL, you organization that actually created a leadership division, which became known as gamma. And so that's important history. And so that was my branch I, I was on the board of Chicago, NAIFA. NLU you will get at the time, as equals 1980 81 82. With Rembrandt yacht ramp, John's was president, I was Vice President, and I still have a picture he and I do on one of these half marathon race, it runs for the raise money for NAIFA. Actually, he sent me that picture a number of years ago, he had gone through his files and came across it. And so I spent, I don't know, eight to 10 years, on the NAIFA board in various capacities, never to the national level, as luck would have it, I went to a gamma meeting. And kind of got hooked because of the leadership development side. But always been very close, still a contributing member, and donor, act donor.
Chris Gandy 44:32
Thank you so much for your contribution not only to the industry, but you spoken some wonderful words here. I wish we had more time. I think, for the respective time, Suzanne, I think we are unfortunately out of time, I'd love to have Harry back for round two. So we can really get into the weeds of kind of where he thinks the industry is going. Yeah. And really how Advisors Today can set themselves aside because I'm sure he's got some prolific thoughts around that. But Harry, would you give us another couple of rules of life? If when we get to that to help us mold our disciplines?
Harry Hoopis 48:27
Well, Chris, the rules of life came about over a period of perhaps it was 30 years, the very first rule of life is you can lie to anyone you choose to lie to. But if you lie to yourself, you lose. And those words were first spoken to a young adviser who was trying to convince me that he was keeping 60 appointments a month but couldn't make a sale, as well. It looks like you're fudging the numbers. And that's not going to work. You got to tell the truth here. If you tell the truth, I can coach you, I can help you. The second rule I mentioned, we're all basically lazy. And again, people think that they think it's kind of funny, and some will say well, that's not true of me. It's the corollary is that people set up their environment to assure their success, because inevitably, we know that when we go shopping, we want the parking space closest to the door, there are so many examples of how the basic laziness manifests itself. And you just have to learn to avoid that. Rule number three, and the three rules existed along for about 10 years. And the third rule is that the mind migrates towards that which is most pleasing. And what that meant, and the reason it became a rule was what I found about agent development was I had to get them to commit to a certain activity that they would do every day, regardless of with whom they did it. In other words, if you're going to see three people a day, I don't care what their profession is, I don't care what their income is, I want you to get in the habit of seeing three people a day. Because eventually what happens is the mind will say, well, if I'm gonna see three people a day, maybe I should listen to what he's telling me, I should get some good referrals. And now I'm going to be seeing three strong prospects a day, right? At or if I'm going to make 40 dials a day, which for many years was the standard of performance. If I'm going to do 40 dials a day, I have to commit to getting good names. And if I don't, when I run out of names to call, it's what they always say, I ran out of names to call. And you know, Chris, with 8 million people around Chicago, I don't think you run out of names to call, I'd make them open up the white page directory at the time, I say who if you only have 35 names, then pick five out of the white pages and call notes. And after a few days, they say this is ridiculous. I might as well get better people. So those are the first three.
Chris Gandy 51:04
Those are great. Those are great. So those are the areas book is out, gone, go get it, right. What's it called Harry, the Bountiful Life.
Harry Hoopis 51:19
The Bountiful Life is having the time and money to do the things you want to do with your friends and family. That's the definition of having the time and money to do the things you want to do with your friends and family.
Chris Gandy 51:33
Awesome. So Suzanne, before we go to the lightning round with Mr. Harry Hoopis. And Harry, I'll share with you what it is. But Suzanne, do you have any other questions for Mr. Hoopis because I need may not to splice this up a little bit. So I think we're having a little bit audio in and out a little bit.
Suzanne Carawan 51:55
I have a million questions. But the one that's really top of mind to me Harry is from whence do you get your patience? Because everything you're saying here, it sounds like a lot of patience and allowing people to develop in look, I mean, I know you're selecting for talent already, but you have a certain amount of patience, it sounds like you've always been able to employ. So how have you done that? And not going straight in?
Harry Hoopis 52:20
Really a great question. Because the reality is I have very little patience with people who don't listen, and do what I tell him. So again, right, if I have always it's legal and moral so that you get everything you want out of life and make a contribution to your family, your church in your community, will you do what I tell you to do? And so one of my, one of my practices in the organization, was, if you're going to fail around here, you have to fail my way. So in other words, I'm going to tell you my formula for success, you're going to follow it, if you don't follow it, you're going to leave, I had no tolerance for people wanted to do it their own way, right or wrong. I mean, a lot of people, it's just I had to run it, where I had passion to believe. And then I could invest in people and as you say, appear to be as appear to be patient.
Suzanne Carawan 53:14
Right? That could veneer, but you've already then they selected in and to Chris's point that always says, is it convenient? Or are you committed, they're committed? So then you have a two-way street of commitment and development, you already have the cash-player relationship established. Now that's a great way to put it.
Chris Gandy 53:31
Yeah, so that led to their success or their likelihood. Right? All right. So let's go to the lightning round here. Harry this is a quick round, basically top of mine. So if you didn't read these, I'm not gonna ask any really difficult question. I'm going to ask you any political questions I can ask you, how do you feel about certain things either this is just 100% of people know, Harry Hoopis the legend, the myth? They don't know Harry Hoopis the person right? So the goal of this is just to give someone a little bit of flavor got to who you are, and kind of, what kind of makes your swag. Kind of good. Right. So with that being said, we'll start off with one that's simple. What did you tell your son, Peter, that talked him into joining you're following your footsteps in the insurance and financial services industry.
Harry Hoopis 54:27
I think it was the example that I said it wasn't so much telling him he told me and I think that's interesting because again, it's the example he saw somebody that was happy in his work and apparently successful, and I think he wants he naturally started as a good avenue for him.
Chris Gandy 54:53
So see that that one was simple. So here we go. All right, so you're in Chicago I don't know if you're still in Chicago I know us cargo a long time but we have to go Bulls are black.
Harry Hoopis 55:09
Chris Gandy 55:12
We have to go back to Chicago sports Cubs or White Sox
Harry Hoopis 55:16
cubs? Not yet.
Chris Gandy 55:18
Okay, so now we understand you know where your alliances lie and what was cool, it's but if someone was started in the business today, what would be the one piece of advice you would give young aspiring future superstar?
Harry Hoopis 55:34
I don't have one piece of advice. I have way too much advice. But here's what I would tell him very quickly because I really would like to make this known. I tell him to follow the DAD formula for success. And the DAD formula was very simple acronym for that D is desire. And desire is the heart. And that's deciding what it is it's important to you, why will you be successful. This is not about selling a life insurance policy. It's about providing a benefit to a person and or your family. So first find that desire, what drives you. Second is your attitude. And that is your mind. That's the brain of the operation. Successful people have to have an unflappable attitude. They can't get up to lie, they can't get down to low, they have to stay base. Simple. Dr. Robert Elliot said, why pay the price of hatred when a little disliked we'll do. Leo Biscaia said, I know people whose day is ruined. If they miss one section on a revolving door, you can operate that way. And then the third D is discipline and discipline is the muscle and the muscles have to be developed. So you don't expect all of it at once, you're not going to run the marathon on your first time out the door. But it's going to take training and that that discipline is where those habits come from. And habits become the key to the muscle development. Right. So good habits are hard to form and easy to live with bad habits are 100 easy to fall and hard to lose. So we want to develop good habits.
Chris Gandy 57:18
Both our habitual very if you could go back in time and have dinner with anybody whether they're living now are they passed away? Anybody in history? Who would you want to say, I'd want to have dinner with to have a conversation.
Harry Hoopis 57:32
Wow. But it's a big day, a lot of choices. And just one? Probably Aristotle. I've always, always been fascinated by the Greek philosophers. And Aristotle was the father of all philosophy. I think that would be really intriguing to be able to have dinner with him.
Chris Gandy 57:58
Wonderful. Mr. Harry Hoopis. Thank you so much for your time. Well, I have one last question. So you're from Chicago. So question it is deep dish pizza, or thin crust pizza.
Harry Hoopis 58:09
No doubt Deep Dish all the way.
Suzanne Carawan 58:14
He's the gentleman is legitimate. Yep.
Chris Gandy 58:16
So I asked Suzanne, do you have anything before we close? We'll give Harry a shot to kind of close this up. And then I'll wrap us up.
Suzanne Carawan 58:23
Well, yeah, Harry, you're probably a descendant of Aristotle that so wouldn't surprise me at all right? Like if he thinks connection so. Now I thank you so much for all that you've done. And I think you're this is going to be so inspirational for so many people out there. That's great people into the practice. Yeah, I'm gonna besides...
Harry Hoopis 58:41
Thank you very much.
Chris Gandy 58:43
Mr. Harry Hoopis closing words on your part?
Harry Hoopis 58:47
Well, we've all been taught to practice the golden rule. And I think, God, that's a wonderful thing. But we professed to the platinum rule. And the platinum rule said that if I can help you get what you want out of life, I will get what I want out of life. Because those things can be different, but they're okay. So, you know, the golden rule is you do unto me as I do want to you, but the platinum rule says let me take care of your needs, and then my needs will be met. And that would be my closing.
Chris Gandy 59:20
Thank you, Mr. Harry Hoopis. So if we were going to the Hall of Fame, this will be one guy that's definitely already in and we want to see this guy's success continue to run. Thank you so much, Mr. Harry Hoopis. Thank you Suzanne. I'm one of your co-host Chris Gandy. Thank you for tuning into Advisor Today Podcast where we uplift and promote the lives of financial advisors so we can make the lives of others a better place go out and be better human beings than all the other people and love everyone. God bless. Have a good week. And thanks for tuning into Advisors Today podcast.
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