Ben Feldman (insurance salesman)
He sold $1,800,000,000 of insurance policies for New York Life from 1942 to his death in 1993. He once held the world record for the most products sold (by value) by a salesman in a career, a year ($100,000,000), and in a single day ($20,000,000). Near the end of his career, his annual commission totals were over $1,000,000 per year. At the time, these sales totals were equaled only by the entire sales forces of other insurance companies, though they have long since been nominally surpassed.
Born in New York City in 1912 as one of nine children to recent immigrants Isaac and Bertha Dardick Feldman, he began in sales when the family moved to Salineville, Ohio to open a wholesale poultry business.
Feldman spent most of his adult life living in East Liverpool, Ohio, which is where he began his remarkable career in life insurance sales. Despite a somewhat eccentric personality, Mr. Feldman had a gift in talking with people and helping them to understand the value of life insurance. When asked how he could sell such an intangible product as life insurance, Ben responded "I do not sell life insurance. I sell money. I sell dollars for pennies apiece. My dollars cost 3 cents per dollar per year." Feldman is known for his mentoring of those new to the life insurance sales industry. He would often dispense advice to new agents by inscribing "dream big dreams" with a signature on the backs of $1 bills.
- "Ben Feldman, 81, Dies; Was Premier Salesman". The New York Times. 10 November 1993. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
- Vernyi, Bruce (8 November 1985). "Super Salesman Tells How To Sell Insurance". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2 December 2009.