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Successful advisers offer easy-to-implement advice for practices looking to improve and update their businesses.

How to use your hobbies to master client prospecting

Apr 18, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

By Frank Maselli

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One of the hidden secrets in our profession is that there are a thousand ways to succeed. You won't hear this from your manager or from sales trainers, since firms have no vested interest in thinking creatively or helping you find new ways to drive business.

In my hierarchy of fun activities, client prospecting used to live near the bottom alongside a screaming baby on a redeye and a root canal. Then I found a way to connect my business to an extracurricular activity that ignited my deepest passions.

This could be a hobby, a personal interest, or a favored activity of (almost) any kind. It could sports, knitting, cooking or even reading books. Maybe you're a closet woodworker, a ballroom dancer or an equestrian jumper.

Try the PowerBall test and see what fits best. If you won $100 million (after taxes) tomorrow, what would you still do because you loved doing it? That's the place to start.

Follow my logic as it pertains to connecting your preferred hobbies with prospecting:

When you find an activity you love, you want to do it a lot.

Passion drives your motivation. No one needs to push you to do things you love. You're emotionally engaged, having fun and feeling great.

When you do more of something, and think about it a lot, you get really good at it.

This applies to any skill, hobby, job or activity. And if you throw in some professional training on top, you get better even faster.

When you get good, people notice and want to be associated with you.

Human beings are drawn to successful people. It's in our DNA to gravitate toward that warm glow of power and confidence certain people exude. You can think of a hundred examples in everyday life. Some folks have an aura that just makes others want to be around them.

When people bond to you … business can flow very naturally and comfortably.

This is not a guarantee, but if I admire and respect you for something, there's a good chance that I will be willing to consider expanding our relationship from purely personal to also include business. In psychology, this phenomenon is called “transference of excellence,” meaning when you believe someone is good at one thing, you assume they must be good at other things.

Real-World Implementation

A young adviser came up to me after a training program, looking forlorn. He told me, “Frank, you say do what you love. More than anything I love golf. I'm on the golf course every day before and after the market! But my manager says I have to give up golf and get into the office early and stay late to pound the phones, and it's killing me!”

After a little digging I learned that this adviser was an excellent amateur golfer and was known locally for winning a few club tournaments. The decision was clear.

I had a long meeting with his manager and their divisional director. They agreed to put him on an advisory team, and I was thrilled to relay the good news to the adviser. I told him, “Don't ever come into the office again! We want you playing golf six days a week. In fact, get a golf cart built in the shape of a bull with horns. Contact the local pros at the country clubs in the area and sponsor a joint playing lesson with the top 10 members at every club. Get famous for being 'The Golfing Adviser'.”

In their first year, “The Golfing Adviser” raised over $400 million in net new assets. His team was tops in terms of growth at a major wirehouse, because this adviser was out there beating the bushes for wealthy retirees who shared his passion for golfing during the week.

That's an extraordinary success story, but it still illustrates the point that love can and must form the foundation of your business-building efforts. We're all capable of forcing ourselves to do tedious and painful things to grow our business. But prospecting from passion is a far better strategy that unifies and engages the most positive aspects of our lives and our profession.

Frank Maselli is a professional speaker, best-selling author and 30-year veteran of the financial services industry. He is founder of The Financial Lifeguard Academy. More information can be found here.

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