My name is Dan Viñal. I started in the insurance business back in the mid 70s, as an agent for Occidental Life, which was later acquired or merged into Transamerica. This was in the San Francisco Bay Area where I was born and raised.
My experience was probably typical of every other agent at that time, and maybe since. I was taught to sell cash value life insurance, but learned to sell term coverage, health insurance, and disability income to get in the door, and to generate some income while building a client base.
And P&C agents were taught to build a client base primarily on auto and home coverage, before expanding into health and life - right? I think that same model or method still works today.
Of course this was all before the advent of the internet, and all the tech-enabled apps we have today. But I did take advantage of the latest technologies to improve my “sales” communication.
For example, when portable video machines came out with automated video presentations on common topics like Capital Needs Analysis, I bought one and used it very successfully for several years. Then I thought I had “outgrown” CNA, and moved on to what I thought were more sophisticated concepts - especially those targeting more affluent prospects - and stopped using the videos. Big mistake!
Soon after though, when Stephen Andersen (aka the Cold Call Cowboy) introduced the Audio Business Card, I bought it. It was relatively expensive (something like 10k as I recall) but it was worth it. It was a cassette tape of an interview with me, contained in a VHS package with my photo image on the front, like some rock star on an album cover. It was a great way to impress someone with my competitive distinction, while introducing myself through a third party supposedly objective perspective - although it was all scripted. Incidentally, I still think Stephen Andersen is a very innovative marketer - especially now that he’s using video.
And when Transamerica (among others) came out with software for the Compaq portable computers, I got one right away. It was about the same time that Universal life came into vogue, and the computer gave us almost endless ways to configure illustrations and design all types of payment / cash accumulation scenarios for split dollar and cost recovery deferred compensation executive benefit plans.
So you can see that I was always willing to adopt the latest technologies (albeit relatively simplistic ones) as they became available.
You see, I also had an educational background in behavioral psychology, rhetoric and linguistics, which I had been using practically to communicate more effectively with my clients and prospects. So my proclivity or propensity to adopt technical sales tools, in combination with the sales skills I had learned and the evolving research in consumer psychology and neuro linguistics, all conspired to lead me into gradually developing what became WebPrez videos.
You see, I always understood how critically important it is for a sales professional to transfer an idea or concept into the mind of the client or prospect. Obviously, if he or she does not understand the idea or concept, they cannot make an intelligent decision to buy or not to buy. And I had experienced first hand early in my business career the superior capabilities of video as a medium for presentation and communication. It was obvious that it held the viewer’s attention, and would consistently present a concept using just the right words every time.
But now it was 1998 and the height of the dotcom boom. Everything was transitioning to the internet - including video . . . although it was certainly in its most nascent stage due to very limited bandwidth and the relatively high cost of producing video animation. That’s when I brought in my eldest son Michael to join me in the business. Michael is the tech guy behind WebPrez, and I would never have been able to build out the business without him. And it was a very young Michael who was able to develop a file compression app that enabled us to stream video over low bandwidth, without first loading the entire file in order to avoid pauses or crashes. This made internet driven video viable as a marketing medium for the masses.