Altig Orlovic Agencies with American Income Life

Phil’s Memo 3/13/2012

“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death.”

–James F. Byrnes, Congressman, Senator, Governor, Justice in the US Supreme Court.

Note that he never attended high school, college or law school.


The beginning of 2012 marked the passing of one of the great people and businessmen of our time.   Mario Pastega, father of Lisa Altig and father-in-law of Rick Altig.   Even though he was 95 and had outlived most of his contemporaries, the giant cathedral was filled to capacity with those celebrating his life and what he meant to them.  So why this great outpouring of honor and appreciation?  What was the key to his success and what can we learn from it?

Mario Pastega was born to an Italian immigrant family in Weed, California.   He went on to serve his country in the navy and eventually bought a partial interest in a Pepsi distributorship in southern Oregon in 1948.  But Mario knew how to work.   Those closest to him said that his work ethic is what set him apart.  He began by washing dishes while in school and never stopped, even at the age of 93, he still maintained an office in his one of his Pepsi plants and showed up every day.

Mario had a list of four letter words that he lived his life by:  “Work,” “Love,” “Give,” and “Care.”  Work was the linchpin that made everything work.  He started by buying out the co-owner of the Pepsi plant and eventually ended up owning three off them, controlling a large corner of the central and southern Oregon region.  He served as President of the Oregon Soft Drink Association, the Pepsi Bottlers Association and was inducted into the beverage Hall of Fame in 2002.   Whatever he did, he did with passion and put his heart and soul into it.

And there’s an interesting point there.   At the core of his business were plants that made soft drinks.  In a famous exchange, Apple CEO once lured away Pepsi CEO John Sculley with the legendary pitch, “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world.”   Sculley went to Apple but failed and was replaced.  It’s not what you lead as much as how you lead.  Mario took what Jobs called “sugar water” and changed the world with it.

His business provided the platform for everything he really wanted to accomplish in life: Serving his community and improving the lives of everyone around him.  One year his sister was sick and while he stay with her through the surgery, he became aware how difficult it was for the families of loved ones to attend to those they cared for if the treatment took place outside of their home community.  So when he came home, he began a drive to build a place where families of people in their hospital could stay while staying with their children, siblings or parents.   Thus was born the Mario Pastega House.   They just celebrated their 50,000th room night recently, with Mario’s work and generosity spear-heading the effort.  As his family and co-workers testified at his memorial, he was a man of action.  If something needed to be done, he didn’t sit around and dream about it or talk about it, he went out and did what needed to be done.   The $1.4 million dollar Good Samaritan Cancer Center, the $4 million Regional Heart Center were all campaigns that he spearheaded.  His work and business were what made it all possible.

He was always building his business.  One time, he visited the local seminary that he supported and noticed that the cafeteria served products from that other four letter word, “Coke” and met with the President Rector of the institution.  Within a week, the red Coke signs around campus were replaced by Red, White, and Blue Pepsi ones.

He was always looking to improve the lives of everyone around him.   I have relatives in the Corvallis and when we went down there for Christmas, they always took me through the Pastega Christmas display, the highlight of the valley there.  Only later did I get to meet the man who generously had donated it all for the community to enjoy.  One of his favorite sayings was, “A hundred years from now, it won’t matter how much wealth or fame or prestige we had.  But if along the path of life you can help a human being, that will make a difference.”  And in return, every one wanted their dad and granddad’s approval.  He influenced everyone around him by who he was.

So what can we learn and apply to our lives, to our business.

Couple things jump out:   A strong work ethic is necessary for success.  I keep looking for loopholes, but haven’t found one yet.  Financial guru Dave Ramsey teaches his people how to “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else.”  This is not about instant gratification.  This is about building something of substance that will last your lifetime.   That doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself; building other leaders and delegating are critical components of building anything significant.   Mario’s three sons ultimately ran his three Pepsi plants.   He would never have built what he did if he tried to do it all himself and did not have strong partners and co-leaders.

Also.  Don’t hop around looking for that “Ultimate” spot in life.   There are many vehicles.  Altig is a great one.   You have a necessary and critical product, and an unlimited market.   Mario was confined to the Central/Southern part of Western Oregon.   Our products change the destiny of people’s lives in a way that a Diet Pepsi never can.    We make hundreds of dollars per sale, not pennies.  I’m not disparaging Pepsi, I’m just saying, “Don’t let other pastures distract you.”  Mario had numerous other “opportunities”, as I’m sure all of us have had.   But he stayed the course and built where he was for 63 years.  As Rick and Ilija have done for their whole careers.  I’m obviously not at liberty to disclose financial positions but none of these that consistently built and persevered lack complete freedom to live their lives however they want.

Let’s go through some of this week’s top people.   Some just started out; others have been building and growing for years.  The beauty of this business is that you can put your skills and experience to work almost immediately.  Top Personal Producers.   Alan Sedaghat.   He’s in first place pretty well by himself right now.   Maybe in the next few weeks, I can catch up with him and see if he’ll give us some tips.   This week he wrote $17,821 in ALP.  I can give you one bit of advice without even connecting with him:  Have a great work ethic.   This week, he had 42 appointments, 26 presentations, and 19 sales.   $938 per sale.  The number that stands out is 42 appointments.  Some struggle to get 30.  He’s working hard and working smart.  You don’t make a quarter of a million, half a million dollars watching every back episode of “Seinfeld.”

Daniel Toshner.  $10,351.  On 10 sales.  He’s closing 71%.   Can you close 71%?   Well, once in a while.  I might stand corrected, but I believe Dan puts his pants on one leg at a time.  But that is hard to sustain.   20 appointments isn’t, once you’ve learned how.   Linda HenkeMaui, Hawaii.  And you thought you had distractions.  Have you ever been to Maui?   You’re driving around in paradise.  Again, she’s working hard.  18 presentations, 10 sales and $8,990 in ALP.   Steve Cameron.  $8,650.  Katie Massert.   $7,964.   She is among the most-focused people I’ve met.    She knows what she wants and goes out and gets it.

#1.  Hawaii. $90,473.  60 agents, $962 per agent.   Closing one out of 4.  They’re getting the same results as about everyone else in the company.  They just do more of it.  Agent count and Activity count.  That is the only thing that is separating the #1 from the #25 region anymore.  The laptop and referrals are the great Leveler.   Maui is on fire.  $22,750.  44% close ratio and the average size deal is $1,034.  You do the math:   They see 7 people, they close over 3.  At over $1,000 apiece.  That’s $3,000.  Now we don’t want you to only see 7 people and have only $3,000, but that provides a good baseline.   Jonathan Emura and Rovie Vanhtha both topped $10,000.   So did Honolulu, Aiea, and Hilo.  Waipahu and Diamondhead did over $9K.  It was a team effort.

#2.  Washington.  $89,824.  Redmond is becoming the story here.  They turned in $38,791 with an average size sale of $1,175.   Nick Lorence and Mark Neilson have teamed up and are taking the state by storm.    #3 is Virginia with $74,000.  BC follows with $70,000.

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2012 by in Phil Folkertsma.
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