7 ways what you do for fun can lead to business

Insurance agents and financial advisors do not work all the time. They have personal lives too. Years ago, I surveyed financial advisors, asking, “What do you do for fun?” When you consider the popular answers, it becomes very easy to figure out how to change your approach slightly to use it as a business-building opportunity.

Is it a good idea to bring business into your personal life though? Actually, it’s a great idea! You bring passion to your outside interests, which showcases you at your best. People who share the same interests as you can quickly become friends. People do business with people they like.

Here is what I learned from the mail-in surveys I sent out several years ago about what U.S. advisors did for fun:

1. Children’s sports. This was the most popular category. They are sideline parents. If you have children in the local school system, they are probably on a team. You are in the stands, cheering them on almost every weekend. You are carpooling, getting children and their equipment from game to game.

Opportunity: If you have children, you have something in common with all the “big people.” You are parents cheering on your children. You see them all the time. You are peers. Wearing a different logoed item, and changing them from week to week, gets the message across where you work. Keep an extra logoed umbrella in the car. Lend it to someone who needs it when it rains. They will need to return it.

2. Personal sports. Almost all who chose this category indicated golf was their sport of choice.

Opportunity: If you are a golfer, you likely belong to a club. You can get paired up with other players looking for a game. You can compete in the club tournament. You can sponsor a trophy at the awards dinner. You can invite a client to play, suggesting they bring along a friend.

3. Religious activities. Many people are deeply involved with their faith. Their congregation can be one of the centers of the community. This brings people together weekly. There are usually several volunteer groups connected with the congregation.

Opportunity: I have been a lector (reader) in church for as long as I can remember. If you are gifted in public speaking, this is ideal. You cannot change a word. Pauses, volume and inflection help the words to stand out. You are well-dressed, standing at the altar for a short period. People tend to recognize you by sight.

4. Spectator sports. You probably thought this might have ranked higher because almost everyone has a favorite team. If you live in a smaller town, high school and college sports might get all the attention.

Opportunity: There are plenty. Find a good sports bar where people support the same team and become a regular. Perhaps you are a tailgater, showing up before the game, grilling hamburgers and brats while catching up with your friends. Season tickets can provide the opportunity to entertain clients (or a friend).

5. Chamber of commerce. A good chamber has abundant activities throughout the year, such as receptions for new members, luncheons, galas and awards ceremonies, and classes.

Opportunity: A chamber president remarked, “You get out of the chamber what you put into it.” What he meant was you need to be involved and attend events, not simply pay your dues. There are usually plenty of committees and they always need help. Everyone you meet is a business owner, self-employed or working at a big firm. You can meet their spouses too. 

6. Alumni association. You have met these people before. They are tight with their college. Some schools have private clubs in the city. Others have exchange privileges, granting them access to a nice club. There are local alumni clubs in major cities. There are plenty of events designed to bring graduates back on campus.

Opportunity: You share a common bond with everyone you meet. They went to the same school.  If the college is in town, your opportunities to meet fellow graduates greatly increases. If you live in a city at a distance, joining the local alumni club is a great first step. They might have monthly lunch meetings. Do they usually feature a speaker? You might think you qualify for only one alumni association; however, don’t forget your graduate school and high school.

7. Service clubs. This can include organizations like Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis, but expand the universe to include some local nonprofits too. Volunteer fire companies are a good example. Service organizations exist to provide service. This means they embark on plenty of projects.

Opportunity: If the world has givers and takers, giving your time, talent and treasure back to the community establishes your position in the “giver” camp. This will be noticed by others. These organizations tend to attract leaders in the community.

These are all activities agents and advisors choose to include in their spare time. Here’s an opportunity to enjoy yourself and make connections without being pushy.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

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