Editor’s Note: This article originally published in January 2014. Dates and ages have remained unchanged from the original piece.
There are many different ways to find your calling. For Elizabeth Metzger, it was as easy as stopping by to visit her husband at work.
When her husband started at New York Life in El Paso, Texas, in 2008, Metzger, pregnant with the couple’s third child, would often visit. She’d usually end up staying a while, helping him with client presentations and other tasks. Eventually, someone offered her a job.
“It was very nonchalant, like, ‘Oh, we’ll see how it works out,’” she says.
It definitely worked out. Three years after starting her career, Metzger owns Crown Wealth Strategies, a wealth-management firm that provides high-net-worth clients with investment and insurance strategies. She’s ranked in the top 100 of New York Life’s 14,000 financial advisors and is No. 1 in El Paso. She’s won a laundry list of awards from the company, too, including New Org of the Year just nine months after starting with New York Life, and Agent of the Year — twice, something a woman had never done before.
What’s the secret to her success? Metzger says she takes the time to build trusting relationships with her clients and then works to educate them on how they can achieve their specific goals. “Nothing happens unless you create a relationship, build trust and then align their goals with what you can offer,” she says. “That’s the only way to sell.”
Metzger works primarily with affluent business owners and physicians. It’s a market she chose because it’s one she understands well. “I come from an entrepreneurial family,” she says. “And when you understand that mindset and you really understand that kind of individual, then it’s easy.”
When it comes to prospects, Metzger’s are “found and cultivated through the power of observation,” she says. She’s a member of many professional and community associations and makes a point of attending a lot of the same social events as her clients and their friends, so she’s often introduced to new prospects that way.
That doesn’t mean she starts selling to them right away, though. “It’s important for me to create a kind of comfort level with the client,” she says. “Once someone knows me, I ask if they’d like to go get a cup of coffee and talk.”
But she doesn’t use that coffee chat to pitch products either. Instead, Metzger briefly explains what she does and then lets the client talk. “Almost every time, I say, ‘We work on three different processes: Tax efficiency, wealth accumulation and estate planning,’” she says. “And then I close my mouth and listen to what they want. The longer that you spend pitching yourself, nothing’s going to happen. They’re not interested in you.”