President's Message

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

At this point you may be saying, “Bob keeps running his skimmer about this ‘Sell More Bonds’ thing.” I am going to level with you: since my first cold call experience when I came over to the Dark Side (i.e., the agency side), I have loved the sales process. My mentor, Jack Warnock (also known as JT133), was the best. The first time he took me out cold calling, there was a No Soliciting sign on the door at our second stop. I was ready to turn around and leave. JT was ahead of the curve, though, because we had Robert Driver Agency bid sheets and mechanical pencils. Jack told me, “we aren’t soliciting; we are giving them something” and in we went. We spoke with the receptionist first, got 15 minutes with the owner, and eventually wrote the account. The mental barrier was broken, and my self-confidence went through the roof. Any time we have something to give, our job becomes a little easier. The NASBP #BeGuaranteedToSucceed campaign gives you more arrows for your quiver–some pieces to leave behind and some videos to attach to an email or to put on your corporate social media pages. Remember that if you login to the webpage, you can access the NASBP Producers Communications Toolkit.

In a perfect world, all of our members would be involved educating, advocating, and marketing for surety bonds. But in the real world, as I had a member tell me, “you guys (at NASBP) are going to do all this stuff with or without me.” At first I was ticked at him because he was right. Then the words of a NASBP icon came to me (I won’t tell you the icon’s name, but it begins with M and ends with Cashion). When he was asked during a NASBP Surety School class why we teach our competitors, his reply was “because it’s better for all of us if our competitors are doing surety the right way." "It makes us all better.”

With that in mind, I hope that all of our NASBP members take advantage of the marketing and sales tools that are in place and being developed. To take it one step further, we are committed to keep this program fresh by providing new ideas and tools to help your business move forward. In that vein, we would appreciate receiving any ideas and feedback that you would care to give.

"All for one, and one for all." -- Alexandre Dumas

"A rising tide lifts all boats." -- John F. Kennedy

I wish you, your families, friends, and employees a great holiday season and a fantastic New Year!.


The Sales Nugget Provided by Donald Appleby of Holmes Murphy in Greenwood Village, CO

Appleby.jpgIt took me a long time to come to the realization, then acceptance, that I’m a salesperson at the end of each day . . . and the start of each day too. I had help along the way.

  • I got lucky by joining an agency that cared about me and was patient.
  • I chose to work with, and for, people who agreed to invest in my success and agreed to send me to any training sessions I requested. I knew I needed the training and wanted it.
  • Some of these training sessions and coaches included: Public Speaking How-to, Miller Heiman Sales Training, The Wedge, Jonathon Paul Consulting, John A. Jensen Finding your Professional Best, Larry McMahon’s Top 100, Jerry Lujan Elevation180 Know Your Why, Strengths Finder, Maynard Warren Sales Call Reluctance, Steve Seimans' People Builder, LinkedIn training, and many NASBP/industry keynote speakers and motivators. I studied various messages and listened. I learned about myself. Most recently Jonathon Paul and Larry Lujan helped me understand “why” and “where” I succeed. No one is the same, and no method is “right.”
  • I enjoy collaboration whether it be with other bond producers or property casualty and employee benefit sales and service folks. It’s more fun to be part of a team–win or lose.
  • An agency does two things really well. First, the agency takes extraordinary care of existing customers. Secondly, the agency obtains more customers. Good bond folks know how to do both well. You must have both to enjoy a healthy business and agency. But it’s also true you can succeed at an agency by doing one of those functions extraordinarily well.
  • John Jenson at an NASBP Regional Meeting asked our group “When are you ‘on’?” “24-7!” Isn’t that true? Choose to be professional.
  • Put yourself out there and have fun! 

I encourage you and your staff to participate in the NASBP social media posts announcing our pride in being part of this great organization. Join those who have already shared their photo on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and remember to use the hashtag #wearenasbp and include @nasbp. We’ve had a great response so far to this social media initiative. It’s fun to see the faces of our membership; keep up the good work! See some of these photos in recent past issues of Pipeline.

Robert E. Shaw is President of Skillings Shaw & Associates, Inc. in Lewiston, ME . He can be reached at and 207.753.7300.