The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met
THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE MAN I EVER MET
(by Telly Walstrom)
This man was a walking contradiction.
He violated every sensible rule of human interaction which might lead to success--especially as a salesman.
Now here is what you must know.
Philip Moh was ugly to look at. Harsh? Yes, but true!
He was short, had crooked teeth, walked like a crab, and you could barely understand anything he was saying!
Are you curious?
I certainly was.
Let me tell you what Philip Moh told me.
I’ve been thinking about it since 1980. Yes, that’s 37 years.
Before I tell you what he said which has stuck in my head all those years,
I should describe what sort of fella he was.
Philip Moh won awards as Best Salesman of the Year.
It happened a lot. Year after year.
He sold life insurance. Yeah. Tough sell, right?
Philip Moh outsold thousands of other salesmen by a wide margin.
His bonuses included fancy cars, gold watches, trips around the world, and cash.
I worked for Philip Moh for awhile as a 2nd job.
We had a unique relationship.
But first--you need to know something I’ve held back.
Philip Moh had obstacles to overcome every day of his life.
Once you realize those challenges had to be met every single day--your amazement and astonishment will be real.
I need for you to understand this for a reason. Once you know what sort of man Philip Moh was you’ll suddenly pay attention in a different way.
That’s how it works.
To be a successful salesman, what do you think you would need to have has a very basic starting skill-set?
Great speaking skills?
Somebody who puts you at ease?
Philip Moh was none of the above.
Philip Moh told me what had happened to him when he was 5 years old in China.
He fell off a balcony. He landed on the flat of his back.
He was crippled by his injuries and unable to move for a year.
But his mother was a special person.
She believed it was better to do “something” rather than nothing to help her son.
I won’t recite details.
Through exercise, discipline, determination little Philip learned to move on his own and finally walk. It was a strange walk but effective.
Philip’s family had no money but a strong work ethic.
They moved to America for opportunities.
Philip worked his way through school, learned English, won honors and applied for a job as a life insurance salesman.
“Why that, Philip? Selling? Why?”
The insurance company wouldn’t have to take a chance on him failing.
If he wasn’t any good at it, he’d starve. He’d fire himself, so to speak.
He read the sales manuals, attended sales meetings, and then bought himself a good suit.
In five years time, he was winning all the sales contests and winning awards.
When I first walked into Philip Moh’s office, I was taken aback by his appearance.
I felt uncomfortable. That’s on me.
I had to adjust to his speaking style: garbled.
I didn’t know where to look. I pretended to look at his face--in fact--I looked through his head at an object behind him.
Yes. I know--I sound like a monster. I’m just being straight with you.
But then, a strange thing began to happen.
Do you know what CHARISMA really, truly means?
Whatever you think it means--there is a kind of supernatural magic “some” people possess which makes them spellbinding.
Philip Moh had a bucket of CHARISMA.
He practically “had me” at “Hello.”
I’ll spare you too many details, okay?
We hit it off. He hired me.
I left his office with my head spinning. I was dazed.
“WTF just happened?” I asked myself.
I had no answer. I still don’t have one.
I was hired to obtain leads. Leads are potential customers.
Philip Moh told me:
“Just get me both the husband and the wife willing to sit down with me for 15 minutes knowing in advance I am an insurance salesman and I will sell them--guaranteed--no exceptions.”
Moh couldn’t do this for himself because it required telephone skills.
He had none!
My audition interview consisted of a string of applicants trying to sell Moh on the notion they could do it--and do it well.
He told me to sell him a pencil. Just like that--on the spot!
“You have two minutes to sell me a pencil. GO!”
I improvised. I’m spectacular at that.
HE LOVED IT. He told me I was the best he’d ever seen.
I LOVED THAT.
We hit it off like I said.
After a month of working for Philip, in his office, on his telephone--I asked him THE QUESTION.
Philip Moh’s answer to that question is what I’ve thought about for 37 years.
See how I finally got back to the point?
Remember what I said at the top?
“Let me tell you what Philip Moh told me.
I’ve been thinking about it since 1980. Yes, that’s 37 years.”
Here is what I asked him and how he answered.
“How do you do it, how do you manage to sell so much insurance to so many people?”
Moh looked at me in a strange way for a minute. Behind his eyes, a magnificent machine was churning, ticking, calculating a reply.
“Okay. I tell you, Telly.” (He called me Telly)
Moh actually got up from behind his desk and walked over to his door and
The implication was that what I was about to hear was too precious a secret for anybody to know...but me.
I already felt honored!
“People want to believe good things about themselves. My job is to help them believe the best possible thing. A person who pays money month after month for life insurance gets nothing for all their payments. They must be dead for anything to happen! What kind of person buys something like that? I explain. Only a hero does that! A selfless person who truly LOVES others does that. It takes a great person with a great heart to reach out and help their loved ones even after they are dead. If you want to be remembered forever as that kind of hero by your wife and kids--I am there to help them. That is my job. Their job is to become that hero.”
I don’t know what kind of answer I had expected. Not that.
He was very honest with me. He went on to explain.
“I know I make people uncomfortable because of my arthritis, my bad English, my appearance. Yes--I do know that. I also know something more important. Good people want to give a man like me every chance possible. That is my only advantage. Good people sit and listen to me. I am there to help them and allow heroic and unselfish hearts to shine.”
Now, do you understand?
I kept thinking about, “People want to believe good things about themselves.”
I still think about it.
Salesmanship is empowering others to think well of themselves.
Wow. Still blows my mind.
Is that why I became one of Jehovah's Witnesses?
Did I want to see myself as heroic and willing to go to prison to demonstrate what an unselfish person I was in serving God?
Are JW's empowered to believe the best about themselves through all those holidays they don't celebrate, through the thankless door-to-door preaching?
Is THAT what was going on?
I still think about it.
Pure dead brilliant Telly.
I know one thing for certain.
You never know when something you say to a person
is going to be the thing that DOES something for them (or to them).
Hello Telly, great article - really makes you think! Thanks for sharing.
I would say that the purpose of life is to strive for goodness, or should I say, grow into goodness/love ("you must accordingly be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect"). There's a kind of spark in every single person (who hasn't snuffed it out through constant pursuit of evil) which seeks to express itself in some form or another. Your mentor Philip merely exploited (in a perfectly reasonable way) this human trait. That "feeling" inside every person is itching to get out if it's allowed (if one "becomes like this child to enter the kingdom of God"), and when another person draws attention to it, it is received with joy. This faith in love that people have (but cannot put words to it) is what makes life worthwhile; every path a person takes for a higher purpose will be something related to a loving expression.
Regarding the statement "people want to hear good things about themselves"; it's not so much about just the ego/pride - in a spiritual sense, to be cognisant of one's morality can and should result in a healthy amount of self respect....which in turn will lead to more of these positive (selfless) behaviours. Ironically, to be proud of something you've achieved in a spiritual sense will not lead to being puffed up, rather, it will help one to continue the path. Another person bringing attention to it helps to bring clarity to this all important mission of life (i.e.to grow in love, to really know Jehovah).
Why do people want to become JWs? Many reasons obviously, but one of the basic ones - in life you are only truly "living" when you are growing - becoming better than you were yesterday. Living the Truth entails challenges, it entails constant reminders of one's religious duties (or more accurately, privileges) etc....thus rather than shrinking back to a life of mediocrity, it encourages the character to develop (not stand still). To stand out as different in a world where you are constantly told to "not be hard on yourself" appeals to those who don't want to just settle for average. Life is not about settling, it's a constant "playground" of activity and life lessons. To neglect one's spiritual need is like running out of gas (or petrol as we say in Scotland lol). Spirituality is about growth, constant change and development/improvement (whereby you benefit those around you) - it is that which brings real satisfaction/joy.
Over the years, I've tried checking to see whatever happened with Philip Moh and I can't even find a single person with that name on Google search.
You'd think, wouldn't you, even in the pre-internet years of lates 70's and early 80's, some report, merit, award, or mention would find its way into the Worldwide Web.
Or am I being too unreasonable?
Perhaps only the most famous of the famous (or infamous) rate having survived the analog era. Dunno.
People want to believe good things about themselves. My job is to help them believe the best possible thing. A person who pays money month after month for life insurance gets nothing for all their payments. They must be dead for anything to happen! What kind of person buys something like that? I explain. Only a hero does that! A selfless person who truly LOVES others does that. It takes a great person with a great heart to reach out and help their loved ones even after they are dead. If you want to be remembered forever as that kind of hero by your wife and kids--I am there to help them. That is my job. Their job is to become that hero.”
Was he appealing to people's good heartedness or their narcissism ?
If their motivation for buying Life Insurance was make themselves appear as a hero in the eyes of others even after they're gone, it could be that narcissism was the motivating factor. Narcissists believe they are the center of the universe and are greatly motivated by what others think of them.
If the motivation to join a religion is because you've been convinced that not only do you get to think of your self as a do-gooder, but you'll get to live on and on forever, it could be that the narcissistic part of your personality is at play.
It seems to me most people claim they love god, love goodness and their fellow man but in reality, they are more concerned with appearing virtuous and righteous in the eyes of their peers, saving their own skins from some sort of punishment and possibly living forever. After all, it would be a shame for the world to loose someone as wonderful as me, how could the world go on forever and ever without me in it.?
I think religions and sales people know how to tap into the narcissistic part of all of us.
I agree with you Terry, and Philip as well, that people in general do like to think well of themselves, and that is what you are constantly reminded of at the meetings.
"We are God's chosen people, we will preach the good news and save people from Armageddon"
Did you try going to the website of the life insurance company he worked for? then searching for his name?
I think it's a slippery slope to be in the frame of mind of questioning people's motives - it only tends to undermine our own convictions and ultimately can bite us in the backside since we start to see kindness etc as futile (over analysing it).
Far better to err on the side of "gullible" than mostly mistrusting others (which erodes your motivation for doing good).