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What You Need to Know

  • Being a good guy outside the sales cycle can pay off in unexpected ways.
  • One great way is to help people find work.
  • Another way is to volunteer.

Sales is a process. You have a funnel of prospects and bring them through the sales pipeline. Some drop out or go dark along the way, but others become clients, ringing the cash register. That’s why your sales manager is always asking how many prospects you have in your pipeline. Sound familiar?

Sales can also come from outside the pipeline. Often this comes from your pro bono work, things you do without any expectation of reward.

This can be alien to some agents who think, “If I’m not getting paid, then I’m not interested.”

My best story comes from a local business owner who is also very charitable. He was telling me about an advisor who served alongside him on a charity board. He praised the fellow for the time and effort he volunteered towards for the cause. Then he explained, “I wanted to thank him, so I moved the retirement account over to him.”

Regardless if it was the company account or his personal account, the fellow was wealthy. Whatever the advisor received, it was huge. The moral of the story was the advisor was being a “good guy” and gave back. It paid off in unexpected ways.

Here are five examples of how adding value can lead to business.

1. Helping Someone Find a Job

A New England advisor coached in the town soccer club for children. He learned about a fellow parent who was downsized. By coincidence he knew another parent at a different firm, but in the same field. Without being asked, he took the initiative and brought the two parties together. The guy landed safely in his next job at that firm.

The unexpected reward: Three guesses where the retirement assets from the previous firm went when the rollover occurred.

2. Keeping in Touch

A California advisor would send vacation postcards to clients and prospects. They were personal, nothing about business. One day, he got a phone call from a prospect, opening up a retirement plan for his company.

The unexpected reward: The advisor asked: “Why did you choose me?” The fellow explained the advisor stayed on the radar, tactfully keeping his name in front of the decision makers. “When it was time to make a decision, you were the obvious choice.”

3. The Terminally Ill Friend

You’ve heard “Out of sight, out of mind.” When someone has a severe setback and drops out of sight, many friends lose touch. It might not be intentional, but they are no longer on the radar. That’s not you. Why? Because you send notes. You visit. When the spouse becomes the caregiver, you offer to do their grocery shopping. You suggest they take an afternoon off while you visit and read to the patient.

The unexpected reward: Business was never discussed. When the time comes, it’s pretty obvious who will be asked how to reinvest the life insurance proceeds and address other money in motion.

4. The Visible Volunteer

I’ve been a lector (reader) at Church for years. It’s a great way to give back. Over time, everyone who attends services seemed to know you. By asking around, they figure out what you do.

The unexpected reward: While I was pouring drinks at a charity event, a fellow introduced himself, explained he attended the same Mass at the same Church and also recognized me from two other organizations. “We should get to know each other.” The fellow was a major philanthropist.

5. Free advice for Relatives

You might have extended family members who are hopeless at managing their finances. Another family member asks if you can help. They don’t have the assets that would put them into your prospect pool. You give them free financial planning advice anyway. You follow up if necessary.

The unexpected reward: Other family members might be described as influencers. They may not have much money, but they advise their wealthy parents or grandparents how to invest their savings to provide additional income in retirement. Because you did a great job for that other family member, they bring you in to advise on reinvesting the proceeds when their grandparent’s CDs come due.

In all these cases, you were ready to help regardless of reward. Because you gave of yourself, other people noticed. Business can come from unexpected directions.

(Image: Lightfield Studios)


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