As I travel around the world, I continue to be amazed at how similar entrepreneurs are in every country.
For the past ten days, I have been in Hungary. Last week, I facilitated two workshops for over 60 top advisors with one of the great multi-national insurance companies. In Hungary, the company is in the top ranks of all life insurance companies with about 12% of the market. The CEO, is an intelligent and thoughtful leader. He has built a strong management team that is highly focused and committed to market leadership. The company has a sales force of approximately 600 and also distributes its products through independent marketing organizations.
Financial Services has become an important contributor to the Hungarian economy since the collapse of communism in the early 90's. Today, there are over 27,000 financial advisors in Hungary, serving a population of approximately 10,700,000. These financial advisors are entrepreneurs who have chosen financial services as the means of expressing their unique ability. The vast majority of Hungary’s financial advisors operate as a one person business. Many of them are tied to one financial institution and market that company’s financial products. The major financial institutions are primarily foreign owned, multi-nationals.
At The Covenant Group, we have been working in Hungary since 1999. Over the years, I have had the opportunity of watching the Hungarian financial services sector evolve. We have also had the privilege of working with many quality financial advisors. They have also undergone a significant evolution. Erika Csatos is a good example. I first met Erika when she attended a training program I delivered in 2000. She was relatively new to the business at that time. Her goal was to qualify for The Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT). At the time, that was a significant stretch goal in a country with a standard of living that was one-third of the US. Erika not only achieved her goal, but also reached Top of the Table. She is in the top 1% of the life insurance industry worldwide and has been a leading financial advisor in her company for the last few years. She is also a busy mother of three children and works closely with her husband, Janos, who is a leading manager.
The first workshop I conducted last week was for 23 advisors who first started working with us in 2000 and 2001. They have shown remarkable growth. Erika was part of that group. At the end of the first workshop, she signed up to attend the second workshop which was for a group of advisors who had not been through our program before. Erika is ready to take her business to the next level and build her own organization. This will require her to learn new skills and knowledge, particularly in the area of management. At this time, Erika has a very capable assistant who is an important part of her business. Given Erika’s growth rate and the potential in her business, it is time to add additional staff and, over time, other associate financial advisors. When we first started working together, Erika’s vision was to master the art and science of sales and become a leading life insurance agent in her company and in the life insurance industry. Today, she is intent upon mastering the art and science of building a business.
Erika has the capability and motivation to be a successful entrepreneur anywhere in the world. It is a joy to work with someone like Erika.