• 4 minute read

Spotlight on Samuel Yung: Characteristics of a Successful Salesman

Chan, Andrew Chi-fai(陳志輝)

In this episode of the televised program ‘Talking to CEOs‘on Radio Television Hong Kong, hosted by Prof. Andrew Chi-fai Chan, Director of CUHK Business School’s Executive MBA Program, Samuel Yung, Executive District Director of AIA International Limited shares his management philosophy and how to be a successful salesman in the insurance industry.

Translated by Xu Jiayan, PhD Candidate, Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, CUHK Business School. Abridged by Fang Ying.

Changing Career

Q: You went into banking industry after graduation. It offered you a stable salary and you had excellent performance there. Why did you decide to switch to the insurance industry?

A: After working in the bank for three years, I found that the position in the bank couldn’t facilitate my further improvement. The job in the bank was stable and decent, but I thought I should make the best of my talents – I am eager to interact with people and I have been able to build good relationships with my customers. At that time, I had three VIPs who are now senior managers in AIA. They earned much more than the average salaryman. Their work attitude, appearance, confidence and flexible working hours had made an impression on me, and I began to take interest in the insurance industry.

Q: How did you get your first insurance business?

A:I first contacted my previous customers in the bank, but none of them wanted to buy insurance. Since I left the bank, my relationships with them had changed. I have been rejected for many times. I remembered that one time I made an appointment with a previous customer to introduce an education fund to him. I met with him at his office downstairs and thought that he came down to greet me. However, when he appeared, he said that he was busy and then turned away quickly, and our meeting was cancelled, just like that.

My first business came unexpected actually. I went to see a doctor one day and I saw a name card from my insurance company among others under the glass table. So I asked the doctor whether he needed to buy some insurance. Then, he told me that he had borrowed over $2 million from his friends to invest in some parking lots and he was worried that he could not pay back the money if he had an accident. I took the initiative to ask whether he needed my help. In the end, he bought a $2 million worth of personal accident insurance from me.

“In the insurance industry, teaching by examples is better than teaching by words.”

Q: A successful salesman usually possesses three important characteristics: diligence, technique (e.g. verbal skills), and attitude. Which do you think is the
most important?

A: Attitude, because it has the power to change everything. If you have the right attitude to do something, you will be willing to work hard for it. You can stop working at 3pm and go to watch a movie. But that is a bad habit and you will not succeed if this is your attitude.

However, technique is also very important. You can judge whether a person can succeed or not from his attitude, personality and technique. I used to stammer, but with a strong determination, I decided to read the Bible every day to practice my verbal skills. I recorded my reading so that I could hear if I had improved.

Q: You have been a leader for so many years and achieved excellent performance. What makes a good leader?

A:First, you need to have integrity. Confidence is also very important. In addition, you should be diligent, caring, patient and know how to find talents.A good leader is like a rare diamond with many facets. He or she should have as many good qualities as possible. As a director of the insurance company, I need to lead the team with my vision, and set a good example for my employees to follow. If I don’t go to work early in the morning, how can I persuade my colleagues to do so? In the insurance industry, teaching by examples is better than teaching by words.

About Talking to CEO

Since 2002, CUHK EMBA has been running the Talking to CEO TV/radio program with Radio Television Hong Kong. Distinguished business leaders, academics and government officials have been invited to share their experiences and insights with CUHK alumni and students.

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