Whether someone receives a settlement from an insurance company after an accident or wins a big cash prize in the state lottery, the recipient may find themselves receiving that money on a monthly basis instead of a single lump sum. While that guaranteed monthly income is wonderful to have, the recipient may need a much larger amount of money to cover a sudden expense like medical bills or a new roof.
Although the payments are guaranteed for a designated duration of time, recipients of structured settlements and annuities cannot withdraw cash advances or borrow against the total amount they’re owed. To remedy this obstacle, Stone Street Capital helps those consumers by purchasing a portion (or all) of their future payments at present value from the insurance company or lottery commission and provides the recipient with a lump sum they can access quickly.
“It’s a very interesting and intricate business,” Gary R. Milwit, president and COO of Stone Street Capital, said. “The average person doesn’t sell all of their payments – they sell only a portion,” he added.
Structured payments are court ordered and a judge has to hear the transfer change, Milwit told us. Transfer can take place after important questions have been answered regarding the age and legal status of the consumer, their mental competency, the legality of the transfer, and whether the judge feels the transfer is in the best interest of the consumer.
“If all those things happen,” Milwit explained, “the judge will approve the transaction, we get a legal court order, and we send the payment for the lump sum that we’re going to buy.”
While Stone Street Capital is technically buying those monthly payments from the insurance company or lottery commission, their salespeople work directly with consumers throughout the process.
The Teacher Becomes the Coach, The Coach Becomes The Trainer
Milwit’s early career saw him working as a teacher, a football coach, and an athletic director. At the time, those roles unknowingly served as the building blocks for his career at Stone Street Capital when it began in February 2006. It’s a rare thing to see someone take their sports coaching skills and use those in employee training but that’s exactly what Milwit did. “I kind of leveraged that whole skill set,” he told us.
Milwit developed and started corporate-wide sales skills, techniques training, and coaching at Stone Street Capital. He contracted with a company in 2013 to put the skills, technique, and product training online. He measures people through that training and has also taught others how to measure people throughout their training. “Currently, I have 54 people that I’m training and coaching,” he said. Onboarding is done online and in person, but every individual on the sales team receives coaching twice per week.
“We listen to recorded calls in a group setting,” Milwit explained. As the group listens to each call, they take note and discuss the things people did really well so those skills might be further capitalized upon. Afterward the peer group – not the coaches – will point out the areas that could be improved.
A New Approach Has Made a World of Difference
Recalling his days on the field as a student-athlete, Milwit said, “The coaches would just yell at us about everything we did wrong.” In turn, that’s the way he learned to coach. The problem with that, he told us, is that when you point out the good stuff first, there’s nothing to be defensive about when you point out the bad stuff.
“I’ve changed my whole methodology,” he told us. He avoids negativity as much as possible, putting the initial focus on the positive before approaching the negative. “When people are wrong, they get really defensive and upset,” Milwit said. “Find out what they did good and prove that you’re actually listening and paying attention, and they won’t be defensive. That’s the key.”
On the field, a team’s best defense is a good offense, but when people are defensive about their performance, it can be much more difficult to steer them in the right direction. In Milwit’s experience at Stone Street Capital, the best offense begins with praising what worked before introducing constructive critiques to suggest improvement.
He noted that this method greatly improves the way his team reacts to feedback. When an employee feels valued and appreciated for their work contributions, they’re more open to listen and absorb constructive criticism, far more than they would if a manager or trainer simply leads with everything they did wrong.
When it comes to training, Milwit has discovered that positive and negative feedback are equally important and it’s a balance that he has mastered with his team. His effective leadership and training methods have enabled him to engage with his employees on a personal level, validating and evaluating their performances through sensitivity and attention.
Everyone is different by design, he noted. “If someone can’t handle it, you gotta know your audience and deal with it,” even if that means altering your methodology to get results. As with teaching, coaching, or training, the best offense always starts with the right approach.
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