I get a kick out of how much attention is focused on YTB these days. Over the last month, it’s escalated to a degree I’ve never seen before. I realize YTB has been “front page” news for what’s going on a year now, which all started with Royal Caribbean shipping more marketing materials than any other vendor to our annual Funshine show last year, but instead of showing up, sent a form letter to YTB informing the company that they change their mind.
At the time, it was speculated that supplier doors would soon close on YTB, we found 17 MORE vendors this past weekend then last year at our Funshine East show.
That got me wondering…what’s going on with the growing majority of these vendors, that a couple of the “critics” don’t get?
While we all know that the driving force behind YTB Travel Network, (that’s the travel side of our business for those who don’t know) is J. Kim Sorenson, we also know that the man most associated with YTB in general is our very own, J. Lloyd Tomer, also known as “Coach”.
It pains me to see Coach maligned and ridiculed the way he is by those who fall for these myths about rich people being greedy, or doing something wrong in order to make the millions that they do. What’s even more aggravating is how some take exception concerning his faith. I come from a long line of Ministers in my family and so does Ronda. To speculate that Coach would be anything less than the members of my immediate and extended family is completely foreign to me.
Knowing Coach the way I do, I can tell you that the man has more ethics, morals, and integrity wrapped up in his little pinky than the whole lot of “critics” who are attempting to shame him into submission. I know that’s not saying much, because there really aren’t that many “critics” out there, but you get the idea.
I wanted to take this week and highlight just a few of the “good” articles I was able to find on the internet concerning Coach. For those that have never met Coach, I hope these articles might give a better picture of just who this man is, and what he truly stands for.
A couple of ground rules before we get started. One, none of these is in the form of press releases by the company. Nor are any of these articles any type of “paid endorsement”. These are people that have actually met the man they are writing about, and I challenge anyone to give me an negative article who has actually spend any length of time with the man they are maligning so horribly on the internet.
Just so we’re straight here.
The first article was found in the Saturday Evening Post in the July/August issue. While I wish I could find the 1983 interview when Coach was with A.L. Williams, obviously that was a little before the age of the internet. This article however, does offer a nice background into just who Coach is.
A man and his vision: J. Lloyd “Coach” Tomer has a dream—to build his company, YTB, into more than just the world’s largest travel agency
Although J. Lloyd Tomer may be the chairman of the board to a publicly traded company, you wouldn’t know it upon meeting him for the first time. Underneath the easygoing demeanor, he harbors a powerful vision to change the world. And it all started with his mother’s prophecy nearly 59 years ago.
On Christmas Eve before Tomer’s 16th birthday, his mother called all her children into the parlor for what would be the last time. She looked at each one of them.
“She told my brother John to stay on the farm,” said Tomer. “He’s still there.”
She then turned to Tomer’s sisters, Roma and Faye.
“She told them they were going to college to become teachers,” said Tomer. ‘They have both retired from that field.”
When she came to Tomer, she paused for just a second. As she looked him in the eyes, she told him that God had something special for his life that would help transform the entire country. He just had to go and find it.
Tomer’s mother passed away the very next day. Since then, he hasn’t stopped searching for what would fulfill his mother’s dream. Through the years, the search led him in several different directions. A former 82nd Airborne paratrooper, Tomer was called to the ministry in the small town of Benton, Illinois. Of the 44 people who attended his first service on Easter Sunday, 14 were family and friends. Flash forward a few years later at the dedication of the new church building, a former theater, and over 2,000 people were in attendance.
However in 1980, the year after he lost his wife and ministry partner to cancer, Tomer found himself unemployed. He left the church believing he wasn’t serving it as he once had. His next stop on his journey led him to a company that said if he could build a team to sell their products, it would compensate him in direct proportion to the results. Tomer accepted the challenge. His sons, Scott and Frank, were first to join their dad’s team. Together they built a thriving business with more than 250,000 clients in A.L. Williams, a company that promoted the novel idea of buying lower-cost term insurance and investing the difference (between that and the cost of whole life insurance) in a high-interest savings plan.
As a senior vice president at A.L. Williams, Tomer’s 1982 income was more than $175,000. Ultimately, his wealth grew to millions in earnings.
“Everything is so right and honest and moral at A.L. Williams,” he declared in a 1983 Saturday Evening Post interview, “that if I were to build my own company from scratch, this is exactly how it would turn out.”
What Tomer was really saying was, when he builds his own company, it will share the same principles of honesty and morality as A.L. Williams.
After retiring and selling his A.L. Williams business to his son, Frank, Tomer quickly discovered that he missed his longstanding role of coach and mentor. And he still hadn’t fulfilled his mother’s dream and began looking for something else. In 2001, at age 67, Tomer came across an opportunity that he simply couldn’t pass up–a business that combined Internet travel and referral marketing. Together, with his son Scott and longtime friend and business associate J. Kim Sorensen, the Your Travel Biz (YTB) Travel Network came to life in the small town of Alton, Illinois.
Today, Tomer is going stronger than ever and credits his energy, health, and longevity to a life of balance and staying busy. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that his positive vision of the future inspires everyone from family to field leaders to employees to travel industry associates around the world. Earning the esteemed title of “Coach” from his “team” of more than 170,000 referring travel agents (RTAs), field leaders, and marketing reps, Tomer is enjoying his lifelong passion of mentoring others to success in life and in business.
Although YTB becomes more successful every day and though many believe he found the answer to his mother’s dream, Tomer is still searching. He believes the search will end with the kickoff of his 10,000 Millionaires program in January 2009 on his 75th birthday.
“My father is 74 years old, and he is looking forward to the fourth quarter of his life when he turns 75,” says son Scott. “He knows he will accomplish more in the fourth quarter of his life than all the other years combined.”
Tomer’s Guiding Principles
“Hundreds of people have come up to me at our conventions and said, ‘Coach, YTB saved our pension, saved our home,'” Tomer says. “And I think of this multiplied hundreds of times. We have a chance to do something that’s never been done in the history of this great country of ours, and this is only the beginning.”
The 10,000 Millionaires program is Tomer’s main vision for the fourth quarter of his life. He wants to build 10,000 millionaires in 10 years based on the 10 principles that he has followed in his own life. The new program kicks off with the release of his debut book, The 4th Quarter, where Tomer shares his story for the first time and talks about each of the principles that guided his life. He is also working hard on the infrastructure of other programs that will be available to YTB’s reps and RTAs.
Throughout his life, Coach Tomer inspired many people. Bill Charlton, a retired 26-year Tennessee truck driver, had to return to work as an 80-hour-a-week driver for a pharmaceutical company to make ends meet. “Coming out of retirement can be a familiar scenario for ‘seasoned citizens’ of the baby boomer era,” says Bill and his wife Ro. “Boomers are running out of options to make ends meet when their retirement funds run out.”
Their friend, Rick Ricketts, first introduced them to YTB. “We found out the financial rewards were excellent,” says Bill. “But the best part of this business is helping other people gain financial freedom.”
YTB offers two different opportunities. The first is owning a YTB travel Web site. By referring friends and family to your Web site, the owner, or RTA, earns commission through the travel booked. The other opportunity is to become a rep and sell travel Web sites. YTB reps earn commission when they sell travel Web sites, and also have the ability to earn overrides on the sales made by other reps in their team.
Wise men have said that if you want to become a millionaire, find one who will mentor you and do exactly what he tells you to do. Here’s where Tomer really shines. On his weekly “Coach’s Call” conference calls, he talks about such topics as goal-setting and attitude, offering inspirational insights harking back to his days as a pastor. The calls attract thousands of listeners each week as Tomer shares steps to success in business and in life and inspired the 10,000 Millionaire program and his book.
YTB also hosts Red Carpet Days almost weekly at the company’s home office, where hundreds of eager YTB prospects and new RTAs can meet the home office staff that serves them every day in various ways. Visitors are offered tours of the facility and treated to lunch, followed with a presentation by Tomer and his co-founders. The Red Carpet Days are now a very popular event and great way for reps, RTAs, and prospects to learn more about the heart of the company.
With Tomer’s willingness to always credit field leaders and reps of YTB and a powerful vision to build 10,000 Millionaires, YTB is well on its way to becoming the number-one travel agency in the world.
“The abilities and successes of our reps and RTAs never cease to amaze and inspire me,” Coach says. “I’m extremely excited to mentor people in how to be successful, not only in business but also in life.”