Why would companies spend over a billion dollars each year on celebrities who endorse their products? Because it works, that’s why. The little known psychosocial device called conditioning and association (CA) is at play and it can work for you in your business.

Most of us correlate endorsements with big stars like Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Madonna and Ellen Degeneres. But there are other lesser-known stars that make a small fortune from CA. Here’s how it works:

* We like to be associated with positive things and with winners. Think about when your home team wins. You say,
“WE won!” But, when they lose it’s, “THEY lost.”

* When a pro team wins the championship, companies shell out huge dollars to the players for their endorsement. They know that even a brief appearance on a commercial by a winning star will cause sales to jump.

* By the same token, when a star misbehaves or is linked with something perceived to be illegal or bad (you know who they are), the star often loses the contract because the CA theory says we want to buy from winners, not from losers.

Become a team player

You can use CA in your practice. It requires creative thinking and the willingness to reach into the community. Here are some ways to use CA to get the positive feelings that help your business play in the big leagues.

You must have a winning business already. A track record of success is critical before you can use CA. Rack up your success points if you haven’t already and then use CA.

Scout your community for winning organizations that pertain to the senior market. Sports teams and the arts are a good place to start. You also can’t go wrong with animal and children’s causes. When you find an organization that
resonates with you–GET INVOLVED. Then, tout your contribution in your mailings.

Mine their memories

Find local stars from when your clientele’s average age was 25-50. If you have clients who are retired pro athletes, clergy or local celebrities, consider trading out financial consulting with them in return for use of their testimonial, endorsement or likeness on your Web site and brochures.

Either way, associate yourself with winners or have winners associate with you. Then tell your clients and prospects about it. It works and you don’t even have to be Oprah to play in the big leagues.