Uncle Khor's Sucssess Story
From Ice Cream To Insurance
He Never Imagined Being In The Insurance Business...
Uncle Khor is in his late 50s. He is a currently the Senior Group Sales Manager with his own agency, H.H.Khor & Associates, which sells insurance products under the Great Eastern brand. He never thought he’d be in the insurance business. He entered the industry almost by “accident”.
Uncle Khor’s story reminds us all that it’s not what happens when you’re on top that matters. It’s what happens when you’re down and out and how you bounce back!
As a boy, he’d grown up in a small fishing village of Kuala Kurau in Perak. His family was large, with five siblings. His father worked as a shopkeeper’s assistant, drawing a meager salary of RM100 while his mother was a housewife. From young, he and his brothers knew that they needed to get part-time jobs if they wanted to supplement their family income.
As a young boy, he would sell ice cream in Malay villages which couldn’t have been easy for a young Chinese boy. He was the last of his siblings to drop out from school – his brothers had dropped out after Standard Six. He only stopped schooling after Form Four and soon after, took on a job as a store keeper with a cooking oil & soap manufacturer.
His selfless nature and motto to always do more than one is paid for made him a favoured employee. Before closing the shop each evening, he would make extra effort to prepare the next day’s orders so that he would be able to ensure all the consignments of goods are ready for delivery. This helpful attitude endeared him to his employer who later sponsored this hardworking employee for further courses.
I’ll Pay You To Keep Our Friendship
He bumped into an old friend one day. His friend badgered him to buy an insurance policy with an annual premium of RM500.
Khor was terribly ignorant of the industry then. He didn’t see the need for a policy. He was also a very kind friend and did not want to ruin the friendship so he asked his friend how much commission the policy would earn.
When he learnt that his friend would earn RM300 if he took up the policy, Khor promptly took out RM300 from his wallet to pay his friend!
His friend was shocked. He told Khor he could not take his money.
Instead he offered to give Khor a free insurance policy with the condition that Khor refer friends to him. Khor agreed as it was easy to do so. He had made a lot of friends during his years as a store keeper. He was a trustworthy friend and everyone took his recommendation seriously and bought policies from Khor’s insurance friend. Many of Khor’s friends trusted him and knew he would not cheat them. If Khor said insurance was good for them, they believed him sincerely and bought the policies happily.
He wasn’t tempted to join the industry just yet. He was quite happy referring friends to his friend.
My Teacher Got Me Into Insurance
It was his secondary school teacher that finally got him into the insurance industry. His teacher was a part-time insurance agent. Khor decided to sign up under his teacher, believing that his teacher would be able to teach and guide him in carving a successful career in insurance.
Things didn’t go as planned. His teacher was always too busy with teaching and giving tuition. Despite this setback, Khor did not give up. He used what he knew from his experience (from selling ice cream to serving customers as a store keeper) to help him convince clients.
His honesty and sincerity must have struck a chord with a lot of his clients because he started to get more and more business. Within a span of three short years (1978 to 1981), he managed to upgrade his car, each time getting a better and bigger car.
Khor says, “Some people look at me and said I’ve had a lucky life. I met the right people when I was a store keeper. I met my friend the insurance agent and later, became an agent under my teacher. It’s as if I had an invisible force leading me towards this success.”
For me, there is no such thing called luck. Luck is actually “preparation plus opportunity”. I made friends with everyone when I was a store keeper because I might need their help in the future. I became a sub-agent under my friend because he gave me opportunity to do so. I grabbed the chance to be an agent when my teacher asked me to join him.
When Khor married in 1980, he moved to Penang as his wife was then a nurse working in Penang. When his daughter was born in 1981, he felt he needed to earn more money for his family.
He decided to become a full time agent in 1982. Luck was still on his side as he was promoted twice. He received the “Top Manager Award” in 1986, 1987 and 1988. At the peak of his career, he was managing 113 agents and 18 agency managers.
Life was good!
I Sold My House & Car
Yet the good times didn’t last forever. 1988 marked the recession and what with overspending, it all came tumbling down.
It struck Khor badly, leading him to one of the lowest points in his insurance career. It got so bad at one point that he had to sell his car and house, moving his family to a rented house. Without a car, he had to take buses and taxis to meet clients.
He again worked hard to build his business after his wife challenged him to prove to her that the insurance business was still viable. This re-ignited his passion to grow even more leaders. In 1996, his wife decided to quit her nursing job and join him!
In 1998, Khor bought an office in Menara Northam and by year 2000, he was driving his dream car, the Volvo.
Although the economy was in serious trouble in 1997, I still managed to do all this and this opened my wife’s eyes to the industry.
In 2004, he bought an apartment in George Town and set up another office in E-Gate (with his team). Today, he is the Senior Group Sales Manager and his agency is among the top 10 agencies in Penang. It is also a Million Dollar Agency.
In order to become a Senior Group Sales Manager in Great Eastern, you must have groomed at least 3 agents to attain Group Sales Manager status. Khor has groomed seven agents so far to become Senior Group Sales Manager. He is also a Great Eastern Recruitment Ambassador, responsible for guiding newly minted agents. In other words, he is the teacher, mentor and motivator.
Sustaining Success For The Future
Every year many new agencies achieve the “Million Dollar Agency” award, but most of them cannot sustain this achievement for long. I prefer to be honest. I prefer to slowly but surely achieve our goals as a team so that our overall achievement can be sustained for a long time.
Despite over 40 years in this industry, his eyes still light up when he talks about the insurance industry. He views the industry optimistically as it is still a sun rise industry with plenty more to achieve. “I would not stop as long as I can still contribute,” Khor says.
Do not over complicate things. Keep things simple. When you sell insurance, stick to the facts. Don’t take the easy way out.
what the team says