June 16, 2018
Dear Long-Term Care Insurance World,
It has been my honor and pleasure to serve you from a training standpoint since August 7, 1991, the birth of this wonderful company known as LTC Consultants throughout our industry. I want to take this opportunity to thank EVERYONE who has helped me throughout the last 28 years as I say good-bye, and most of all to thank God who led those precious people to help me.
The mission of LTC Consultants was to provide a way for me to teach as many who wanted to learn my simple sales presentation and how I was selling 40-year-olds back in 1988-1991. With the help of Michael Goforth, the former Communications Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and the best employee benefits communicator I ever knew, we first put the presentation into a marketing system which contained the individual sales presentation flip chart, a seminar system with slides and even a worksite presentation…oh yes…in 1991! All had accompanying education handouts and a comprehensive marketing plan for how to make you the LTCi expert in your community. I was simply teaching what I found that works. I hate cold calls and after three failed phone calls with the last one telling me he already had someone to mow his lawn, I resolved to NEVER make another one! I resolved to work as hard as it took doing seminars, networking with other professionals and PR, like writing articles and giving radio/television interviews to never, ever face another cold call.
When the $500 marketing system didn’t fly off the shelves after paying $1200 for a booth at the 1991 NALU (now NAIFA) annual convention, which was conveniently in Nashville that year, and after calling all the major insurance companies with no result, God gave me a vision to do a national training tour which would be a grassroots marketing effort. God sent Long-Term Preferred Care to help out financially, spearheaded by Gerald Witcher and Robert Forman. Robert is now president of LTC-Associates. That happened in 1994 and worked beautifully, thanks to the untiring efforts of my cousin Pat. She took a leave of absence from her job of office manager for the oldest doctor in Greeneville, TN and went with me to the 23 cities. She did everything from lifting boxes to talking to the pilot once to hold the plane for me when I was running late! Later she told me my mission was long-term care, and her mission was to find me a man. Accordingly, I met my husband Bill in the Charlotte airport on September 14, 1994 and we got married two years later. Pat and I are still really close! Here we all are on a recent trip:
Two big bonuses: I met Suze Orman at my San Francisco meeting in November, 1994, and secured my first big training contract (40 cities) with Banker’s Life at that same meeting. I told them I could train their 3000 agents for the cost of two 6 packs of Diet Coke per agent! Plus, they bought the rights to print my marketing materials, so each agent would have a flip chart and sales script, and each office would have a seminar system. I still have the letter – their LTCI production went up 34.6% in 1995. Home Run.
Nine additional companies followed in the ensuing years, including a large bank and a large LTC provider, and two online training programs. The first one, LTCi Academy, was created by a Hollywood producer with all kinds of interactive features like a big video game – way, WAY ahead of its time – and we introduced it just before 9/11. Even so, the Federal team (LTCi Partners) and Bank of America put their insurance people through it and we made money right away. Later the mandated training came with our partner Selling LTC (Phil Sullivan).
Prior to the mandated training, we had to bring on additional trainers so we could do five cities on the same day for big accounts like State Farm, Allstate and Prudential. Bill orchestrated that entire effort with John Ferroni, Dave Miller, Catherine Dove and Randy Smith. They had to learn the training with all the jokes in-between that I did so it was like a franchise. I remember Catherine Dove asking “Phyllis do I really have to say Mama?” And John Ferroni saying “a New York guy can’t crack this Southern joke!” The best thing that came out of the grueling training they went through was “The Medicaid Blues,” compliments of John and Dave playing hooky one night and escaping to the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar in downtown Nashville. We incorporated it into the Medicaid section of every training class we ever did after that! If you’ve never heard it, it’s a crack-up. You can listen to it here.
Then we implemented the first live training in 2001 for Harley Gordon with the CLTC designation and brought in Bill Comfort, Betty Doll and Shelly Kapfhammer, along with Catherine Dove. That was a true Hall of Fame effort as we taught the course in 33 cities using a 2 ¾ day format. Each city had a guest elder law attorney, and we used two videos that Harley did on the estate planning and Medicaid planning segments. I found the elder law attorney for each city to make sure he or she believed in long-term care insurance. I remember telling a well-known elder law attorney in Long Island that he didn’t qualify, and he was flabbergasted that I “fired” him for not being what we were looking for, as he was an avid Medicaid planner. If you want to see how a great elder law attorney behaves, click here.
Then in 2002 came the Federal LTC Insurance Program (FLTCIP). I was referring MetLife to a firm in Nashville that specialized in employee meetings, but they came back and asked if I would consider doing 1,000 meetings for them. I’m sure that request came from my wonderful friend Joyce Ruddock, who was head of MetLife’s LTCi effort at that time. I took a week to think about it and finally accepted. They said, “That’s great Phyllis, but we made a mistake. We really need 2000 meetings!” All I can say about that is Moby Dick looks great in the water, but when he gets in your boat, that puts a whole new paint job on it! You can read here about how we beat Donald Trump to the first apprentice program finding the right people for that little jaunt!
2003 saw LTC Consultants helping with the launch of the State of Tennessee group LTCi program with MedAmerica. They only needed 100 meetings in a month, which was a walk in the park for us after completing actually 2,020 meetings for the FLTCIP in 4.5 months. We went on to offer that same program to the employees of BCBST and many other employer groups throughout the state, working with BCBST health insurance agents. BCBST was my former employer before LTCi, so I still had connections…all I remember about the ‘80s is big hair and Blue Cross!
In 2005-2006, we helped MetLife build a field sales force for the AARP program. Back to “The Apprentice” selecting those folks. It was rocking along great until we got shut down because we were selling ⅔ compound inflation and ⅓ Future Purchase Offers, whereas the call center was doing just the opposite. Oh well, it was a fun year with John Sherman with MetLife at the helm of that one.
2007-2010 was crazy with the mandatory LTCi training, which Phil and I put together based on the chapters in my big book with added audio/video effects. I’m a huge believer in the LTC Partnership, so somehow I got involved with helping several states implement it…Washington, Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama…as well as forming relationships with insurance departments and Medicaid managers throughout the country to gather credible information for the course, LTCiTraining.com.
I continued to do live training tours every year and a big meeting in Nashville with a BAND (my favorite part!), and now all of my materials were in digital form and editable…One-on-One, Seminar Selling, Worksite Selling with new books for a turnkey training and presentation system. Unfortunately, the compliance police killed that business, even though everything I put out was the most well-researched material in the industry.
2011 saw the publication of Suze Orman’s The Money Class. I had been serving as a resource for Suze for a number of years prior, but she decided to bring me out of the closet by putting my name in her book as a resource for those who don’t have a knowledgeable LTCi professional. We had a month to bring up a consumer site called www.GotLTCi.com. The first day the book hit the stands, a wonderful woman in Maryland (Blythe Bieging) read it at the prompting of her brother who handles her finances. She read it in one day and called me that night to buy LTC insurance. She has since become a great friend.
T. J. Green is our website magician. (If you don’t have someone like this, he is for sale! Click here.) He built the fabulous worksite system that allowed employees to view their product information and sign up for a consultation. We flipped the switch and turned it into a consumer signup site, something I had dreamed about for years. Suze made that a reality for us. The people who follow her are very intelligent and are PLANNERS – what more can you ask in a long-term care insurance lead?? That rocked along great until February 18, 2016, when she sent out a blog that connected directly to our “Contact Us” page with a questionnaire. By 1 pm we had over 600 questionnaires completed…you would call them leads, of course!
So magical Bill and T. J. and the best employee we have ever had, Lawrence “Satch” Vivenzio, stepped up. We shot a 17-minute educational video (staged by Bill of course) and recruited three of my closest students (agents) to make four sign-up columns on the site. (These “incredibles” on this amazing journey with me are John Ferroni, Lauryl Pate and Bob Nardone.) Satch developed an incredible auto-response system to send the link to the calendar immediately when someone completes a questionnaire and developed five follow-up emails in all. Within a week that system was up and running and a good thing – over 2,000 leads came in over that next week!
So today I’m back where I started in 1988, on the front lines, serving families. Yet now I can do it in all 50 states from the comfort of my beautiful office in Tennessee. Along the way, I discovered the incredible world of fixed index annuities, first to help people who have assets but are uninsurable for LTC insurance, and then later to help people keep a paycheck when they retire. It’s amazing how much money you can save if you never have a “down” year. You can read more about that here.
Last but by no means least, God led me to start helping people save in transaction-size gold, starting in September 2015. It’s déjà vu for me. When I left a corner office at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee to become a long-term care insurance agent, people thought I was so crazy. People have looked at me cross-eyed the same way when I say I’m helping the average person save in gold by making it affordable with these small pieces. Now that the company has introduced the first crypto coin that will be 100% gold-backed, I’m starting to see a few of those guffaws change to a look of amazement as we watch this coin grow in value. Bitcoin is based on NOTHING, and now KBC will be solidly backed by gold to become a world payment system with the click of an app on our phone. It’s so fun to be RIGHT~ and of course you can participate as well if you like. You can read up on it at the links below and then get back to me at my new email firstname.lastname@example.org
So what do I tell people today who ask what I do for a living?
I say “I help people retire with dignity.” How, they ask?
Simple – I help people avoid the two biggest mistakes people make in retirement. They fail to plan for a long chronic condition and they fail to keep a paycheck. I can solve both of those with some form of LTC insurance, whether it be traditional or hybrid, and I can provide a lifetime paycheck that they can’t outlive with a fixed index annuity for only 1% a year. I can also provide a way for their money to grow with zero market risk for no fee. I’ll be building a new website soon with the education that has come my way through a wonderful man named Evan Ward at The Impact Partnership in Kennesaw Georgia. In the meantime, I have an article coming out in Forbes that I’ll be able to refer clients to. You can read the unedited version here for the education, but the Forbes version will be half this size!
And the gold business? What an education that has been! Well, gold buys the same thing today as it did 100 years ago, so it’s a great hedge against inflation, something everyone needs, regardless of age!
All this leads me to why I’m closing LTC Consultants. I’m guessing about 10% of the people who opened this email are still with me at this point. The percentage of agents who became my students over the years and wanted the annual updates became fewer and fewer as the compliance police made my materials black market.
My last tour was in 2010 on worksite and combo LTCi and I used that to go to Washington, D.C., and try to convince regulators that I had a plan to fix Medicaid. How? By educating financial professionals and state governments on how to sell worksite LTCi with limited underwriting and take the burden off Medicaid. I even provided a budget on how to do it with funding from the additional premium tax that would go to the state as a result of more LTCi being sold. Part of the materials at the live meetings and on my website gave agents a press kit so they could do the same thing in their states. That failed miserably as you can imagine, but I know I gave it my best shot, so no regrets.
So I’m signing off on the training and coaching business, and directing my effort into helping families first-hand. Believe me, there’s NO SHORTAGE of people who want my help in this arena…and your help too. We need knowledgeable professionals in LTC planning more now than ever!! I'm also very excited to say I've started speaking in churches about how God meets our needs and directs our every step when we sow the right seeds…need a conference speaker?
I’d like to end with giving God all the glory again for all the great things that LTC Consultants has meant to me and the industry. He opened every door and all I did was walk through, accompanied by the incredible people He sent to get each job done…like Martin Bayne and Kevin Johnson of New York LTC Brokers (now Advisors Insurance Brokers), who hired me for my first training gig on September 29, 1994 in Albany NY. This was Divinely-ordained as I had just met my future husband Bill two weeks earlier who lived in guess where? The Albany, NY area!
How do you say good-bye after 28 years?