We are well into a new year and it’s never been a better time to be in the industry of helping others to invest, protect and grow their money with products like life insurance, annuities and other investment strategies. The past couple of years I have met hundreds of people and listened to their stories of life-changing financial setbacks. Whether loss of a job, a loved one, a relationship or a home; it’s been a “thrilling” time to be alive. But I and many others are ready for a little less financial excitement and a bit more boredom from predictable streams of prospects.

The glitzy techno-world of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and super-cool websites are snazzy all right. But in a way we’ve sort of lost our primary focus of telling our story of financial security to individuals. Instead, we employ social media broadcasts to the masses. Obviously an eye-popping web presence and thousands of Facebook friends are great (and entertaining) but without a catalyst to convert those contacts into prospects and ultimately a few new accounts; you’re totally wasting your time and worse, your money.

What has worked great for me has been “Going Back to the Future,” or the “old-school” style way of doing business. Rather than just sending an email or Facebook wall post on birthdays (or other special occasions), I actually pick up my phone (or cell phone when’s in route to and from destinations), and make it a point to call my contact and speak my greetings, condolences or congrats. And they are so much more responsive to my vocal effort versus electronic that I’ve had a momentous surge in new appointments and referrals.

How did I do it? It wasn’t easy picking up a phone and dialing for dollars again but I made it a game and challenged myself daily to make five calls after five. Yep, about the time when I am really ready to pack it up and head home myself, I would figure out a way to call five people, (voice mails left do not count), and speak to them. Especially if you want to connect with baby boomers, the best time to call is after 5 p.m. at their office or business, when they are finally able to catch a breath and welcome a pressure-free greeting or even an invitation to a cocktail or lunch, or maybe a workshop you’re hosting. It is so much easier to call someone when you have a reason and an “action-oriented” request, such as attending a social event (aka workshops).

And branch out a little with your workshops. I’ve had amazing success with Saturday morning events at museums, where they have free kid sitters and are family friendly. Both grandparents and parents will attend an event someplace where their children enjoy going too, especially on a winter Saturday morning when there’s no outdoor sports or activities. If you live in a really small community, rent a mini bus and schlep your guest to a cool educational venue or event. Think outside the box or your own comfort zone.

According to the Wall Street Journal, women today now control 80 percent of our nation’s wealth. And I might add, with easy access to the other 20 percent. For your female clients or spouses of clients, invite the moms and their daughters to a Saturday morning manicure/pedicure event and weave in your mini-pitch about your value and services en route to the spa. Break the ice and serve a refreshing beverage while they’re getting pampered. 

Don’t forget the men. Plan a series of events at a local driving range and welcome their children to attend. Even if you can’t hit a golf ball, they’ll love the effort and alternative venue. You can set up a long-drive contest or nearest-the-target competition; followed up with a contest on the putting green with a free prize added. Obviously men or women may want to attend either the spa treatment or a bonding event on a driving range. Try these types of “fun” but educational events once per month with the caveat of; “to be invited next time, they must bring a friend who would benefit from my money sense.”

Practically every venue will have some sort of meeting area where you will be able to make a short presentation about your services and let your guest know you’ll be calling them to set up a time to meet with them individually about their money concerns. Be sure to have your “old-school” paper calendar and casually attempt to pencil in times on the spot.

This doesn’t need to “break the bank,” as wholesalers from most insurance carriers or your FMO will gladly sponsor your event and may even pay for the prizes the attendees compete to win. If not, then ask a local business to donate the prize (which is their service or meal or doodad they sell) for your outing in exchange for promoting them at your event. You may want to avoid posting your fun event on social media sites as you want the event to be somewhat exclusive plus you can’t afford to buy mani/pedi’s or range balls for the masses. Keep thinking big but keeping your budget little and let’s put the “fun” back in function. This year will be the best ever for growing your practice.