“My greatest challenge in life so far and accomplishment has been to prove people wrong. Because I’ve always been doubted. I’ve always been told you bit off more than you could swallow. Your visions are so much bigger than you’re supposed to think. You’re thinking outside the box and you won’t be able to do it. For this job, your accent is going to be a hindrance. We don’t think you can sell, don’t waste your time. Sales is just not for you. But none of this is true, because I’ve proved them wrong.”
– Terence Taku
If Terence Taku can do this, you can too. His story should inspire each of us and I’m going to have him share it to you mostly in his own words… since it’s a powerful tribute to the human soul.
First let’s recognize Terence is an incredibly successful new agent and now a leader at USHEALTH Advisors, having worked at USHA for only a few years.
Yet, for the first 22 years of his life, Terence lived on the other side of the planet, in another “world”.
“I was born in a little town called Limbe, Cameroon,” says Terence. It’s in West Africa. Growing up in an African home where there were seven of us, five kids, plus my mom and dad, all seven in a three-bedroom house. We had to sleep on the cement floor in a wooden house. And we didn’t have flushing toilets. We had to use the outside bathroom where you go out there and do it. We didn’t grow up with a lot… we were very poor.”
“I see people, they say they’re poor, but they have a 82-inch TV, and they drive a Cadillac. What poor means back home is you have no shoes. You live in a mud house. You barely know where your next meal is going to come from. There are no street lights; you use the lamp, the kerosene, or the petrol lamp; you use candles, and that is poverty. You don’t have a vehicle. You walk. I would walk miles to the farm. I carry stuff on my head. Back home, we grew vegetables and all that stuff.”
“But that gave me a different perspective than most people. Makes me more appreciative of the little things, like having a roof over my head, having a vehicle; shoot, having three square meals a day. It’s not even about the money. I’m so grateful for the little things that make life worth living.”
Perspective in life is critical, it can be a game-changer, especially when you appreciate where you came from, what you have now and what you could do for others. Terence has seen the light. He’s produced more than $2.5 million in business since coming to USHA as recently as the fall of 2020 and has led his teams to more than $2 million in production as well.
Terence has accomplished all of this with a thick West African accent, having only experience in the oil and gas industries after coming to America ten years ago and then seeing it all slip away when COVID hit in 2020. That’s when got laid off and went looking for a way to make a living.
“So I went job hunting online,” says Terence. “It’s a funny story. This job was one of the 200 jobs that I just clicked for the easy application that got sent out, and Chris Downham, (Division Leader for USHA), called me. I got 10 different calls. I did 12 different appointments with different insurance companies, but Chris called me and talked to me, and when I went and talked to Chris, I felt something genuine about not only the company, but the guy. There wasn’t any sugar coating. There wasn’t any, “Hey, this is a gold mine, and your going to come here, and you’re going to get rich from day one.” It was, “Yes you can get rich, but it’s going to take you to want to get rich.” And Chris was very open about it.”
There’s a funny part too because when Chris was thinking about hiring me, he went to the other leaders and asked, “Hey, what do you think about this guy?” And they were concerned about me, but in a good way. They were like, “Well, we don’t want him to struggle. He has an accent. And man, he dresses well. He put on a suit. He’s all cleaned up, but with his accent, cold calling, and all the stuff man… People may think, ‘Hey he’s from Nigeria trying to scam people.’” And I’ve been told that over the phone. “Hey, you’re in Nigeria trying to scam me for my money.” And Chris called me, he’s like, “Hey, I’m going to give you a shot because I believe in you, not because of your accent, not because of your resume, because I believe in you because I could see the drive in you.” And ever since then… they didn’t tell me this until after a year… they were like, “We weren’t sure about you, man. We’re going to be honest with you. We were not sure about you, but you proved us wrong.”
Proving people wrong… again. It’s become Terence’s calling card. So once he was up and running at USHEALTH Advisors, Terence came out firing, with early success, it seemed like all was working in his favor. Being the baby of his family in West Africa, Terence was ready to be the big boy now, the one who made a big splash in insurance in America.
Except… not so fast.
“So my beginning at the company was like none other,” says Terence. I came in my first week, I submitted $45,000 in annual volume and I issued $40,000 of it. I got a big check. I was like, “Man, this is easy, man. I got this.” I managed to hit my 100k in my 11th week.”
“But after then, I dried out. And with sales, what I always tell my agents is, sales is all in your head. Your mindset is going to determine how the outcome of your day is going to be. So I dried out, and I remember I didn’t submit a deal. I started in October. I got my 100k by the end of November. I remember I blanked the whole time from December 2020 to February 2021, I made $200 bucks. And the first week of February ’21, I went into Chris’s office. I was like, “Hey, man, this is it for me, I am quitting. But Chris was like, “Why?” I’m like, “Because it ain’t for me.” He’s like, “What are your reasons?” I didn’t have a reason. I was just being a quitter.”
“I didn’t have a real reason. There wasn’t a reason. Now, I could have said, “Well, I haven’t been selling any deals, but that’s on me.” So Chris took three hours of his time. Chris is a listener, and he’s a talker too. That’s one good thing about him. He’s a good leader. So three hours of his time, I used two hours to vent, and vent, and vent. I pointed fingers, I blamed the leaders, blamed the sky, blamed the building, blamed everything around me. When I was done, he was like, “Are you done?” I’m like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “There’s this one thing I’m going to tell you. You are being a victim and not a victor. He gave me a couple of books. A few of the books I still read right now. It is Sell or Be Sold. And then the 10X Rule. And The Making of a Millionaire. Chis said, “Take the weekend off. Read this book. Read it not because I tell you to read it, but read it because you’re looking for a change. Once your mind is programmed to read or do something for a change, you’re going to find a change. But if you’re reading it because I tell you to read it, you’re just going to come back on Monday and still be the old you.”
When you change the way you think, the things you think about change. The rest of Terence’s adventure here is a little long… but it’s one of the best responses in the history of the stories on the USHA blog:
“I went home and… I haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD, but I truly believe I have it because I can’t read something, so instead I got the audio books. I bought the audiobooks and for six months I stopped listening to music. Whenever I got into my vehicle or I had my headset on, all I did was listen to audiobooks. For six months I read probably 15 to 18 books. So I was reading those books. And I got through those first books in a weekend. Grant Cardone was the author of Sell or Be Sold, and he had some really good words, he was really stern. It was like he was speaking right to me. And I remember there’s one thing that struck me in the Sell or be Sold. He was like, “Quit…” Excuse my language, but “Quit being a little bitch and get up and do the damn work. Quit blaming others. If you don’t sell, somebody else is going to sell that person. If you don’t sell, the client is going to sell you, and not buy from you.”
“Once I realized that the fault was mine, it wasn’t anybody else’s, I got a game plan. And I started by saying that I’m going to make this number of dials a day. I’m going to create this number of leads a day, and I’m going to make sure I will not blank, never blank again. I will submit a deal, and I will issue a deal, and I’ll get paid every week. I’m telling you right now, the second week of February 2021, I had I think $2,200 in issued business. I went from the second week of February to the end of the year issuing almost $1.2 million that year in 2021. I don’t know. It was miraculous. I was in a stratosphere where nobody could stop me. The momentum I did that, other people were like, “You’re too aggressive. You’re going to get burned out.” I mean I was on a different level. It was like a bodybuilder on steroids.”
“My accent did not become an issue, but then I got a lady from Kansas who reported me to the commissioner of health insurance. She said, “Well, he did a screen share. He showed me the product, explained it to me, got my social (security number) and also wanted my banking. But I don’t trust his accent. It looks like he’s not from the United States.” And they sent this complaint to our company. Chris called our head guy that deals with these matters. And I spoke to him, and the guy was like, “Don’t worry, I got you.” She was profiling me because of my accent. I did everything right. The complaint even said it. I did a screen share, I showed her the product, I did everything, but she just didn’t trust my accent.”
“So I always had that uncomfortability that my accent was an issue. But after I got done playing with my mind, detoxing myself, and pushing away those people that were polluting my mind about sales, my accent became a power point, it became my strength. People said to me, “Man, I love your accent. Where are you from, man? I love your accent.” And it got to a point where people didn’t even realize until I’ve closed them already. They’re like, “Dude, you’re just a good sales guy, man. You’re just so firm. Your accent is cool, man.” I use that now as my strength!”
“That’s one thing Grant Cardone says. He says, “People want to work on so much their weakness, but they don’t realize that sometimes what they think is their weakness could be their strength.” So I used that as my strength. And I went ahead and issued almost $1.2 million, even after losing almost two months of 2021. This week made it exactly two years that I have never blanked. And I’ve gotten a check every week to take home to my family since I made a change.”
“It all changed everything about me; my perspective, how I look at stuff, quit blaming people, started doing stuff, what was right, started listening to books. I just changed everything. I remember looking at it, I was like, “Man, this is so easy.” I took 11 weeks to issue $100,000 AV, and I’m issuing $150,000 AV some months now.
So it’s been a great journey, man. Talking about it just gives me chills. Chills just run down my back, because it’s just more about those stuff where if you would’ve told me I’d be where I am right now, I would’ve been like, “Yeah, I believe you because I’m not a quitter, but at the same time, I don’t believe you, because I don’t think I can sell.” But it’s all changed.”
Since that time Terence has more than doubled his business, by buying additional state licenses, utilizing social media and Facebook groups, LinkedIn and referrals, helping the clients to truly get what they want so he can get what he wants.
“Forty-percent of my business is referrals,” says Terrence. “When I sign someone up, and they get approved, we do a policy review and I do not let them get off the phone without telling them,” Hey, if you send anyone to me, and they get approved on my plan, you will get a $100 referral bonus sent by me,” and I will put in for another one from the company. Those referrals have doubled by business.”
What has also doubled for Terence is not just business, but his love life… since he is now part of a couple… getting married to his wife, Melissa in 2020.
“If you see a great man, there’s a greater woman behind him. I think my wife is a greater woman, and I’m so proud of her. I don’t know where I would be with this job without my wife. She’s so supportive. When I told her about Kansas City, (just before this story Terence and his wife moved from Oklahoma City to Kansas City to open another USHA office), that woman literally told me, “I will support your dream because it’s always been what is good for our family.” She’s been awesome, man.”
The love will expand again soon when Terence brings his mother and his son to the states, a son he has never met in person, from another relationship he had back in Cameroon. It’s a moment both he and his new wife are eagerly anticipating.
“We’ve talked over the phone. We’ve doing done video calls,” says Terence, but I’ve not really seen my son, touched, my son. So it’s going to be a really emotional feeling when I see him I’m going to be an emotional wreck because… I love him, man. He’s well, he’s been taken care of. And Melissa has been supporting me on doing this. She’s been bugging me, and bugging me and it makes me want to do it even more because it’s rare to see a stepmom that really wants to at least love on some other child that is not hers. But she really embraces my son like he was hers. I’m blessed.”
Terence is blessed, not stressed and ready to give back for all that he’s been given and for all the appreciation he has from where he came from to where he is today, living in what he says is the best place in the world.
“I really, really love it here,” says Terence. “I always tell people, “This is the greatest country in the whole wide world,” believe it or not. America is not perfect, but America is the greatest country in the whole world because this is the only country where you could come here, be a good citizen, be consistent and be hardworking, and you could live, and have the American dream. This is the only country. I have families in Europe and in Canada. They all want to come here because it’s tough over there. If you don’t have a Master’s Degree, you cannot even make 100,000 pounds in Europe or 100,000 euro. But people that are high school graduates in the United States, that are just consistent and hardworking, they can make seven figures just by working hard.”
“We have our flaws, but I wouldn’t trade the United States for any other country. I went and became a US citizen, because I’m so proud and I wanted to be a citizen. I wanted to represent this nation to the fullest. I wanted to pledge to this nation because it’s given me so much. And it’s given a lot of other people so much. But people tend not to be more appreciative of what we have. There’s so much we’ve been blessed with over here.”
To be given much, it’s your moral responsibility to give back and Terence says this is all he wants to do. To do all he can, with all he has been given. He says he believes in the mission and the company’s President and CEO, Troy McQuagge.
Troy said it best,” says Terence. “If you are not helping other people, these agents coming in, seeing this as the best opportunity in the whole United States, then you’re doing it wrong. He said, “It is left up to us to help someone change their lives, turn their dreams into reality.”
“That’s what I want do to, who I want to be… because I will always remember Chris Downham as taking me out of the grave; my mindset, picking me up, and now this is where I am. That is how I want to be remembered. I want to impact so many lives that when they think about me, it’s not about my production. Those are just numbers. When they remember me, they’re going to remember the guy that was so selfless that gave it all, that was there for them, that never turned them down, that picked them up, that always listened to them.”
“I want to change the world.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.