Face to Face

Attitude: You Don’t Have to Call Your Clients

by Tony DiLeonardi

I again have learned the significance of choice.  So many times I would grumble about having to do this or that.  Recently, I was taught a valuable lesson.  It's a change of perspective that caused great liberation and optimism.  It's the concept that says the following:  "I don't have to do this, I get to do it." That subtle change of view I believe can cause great impact.

This has caused me to think of financial services clients.  I know sometimes it is very difficult to wake up and do certain things each day.  Sometimes we dread just one of our to-dos that it causes us to procrastinate the entire day.  Numerous books have been written on the topic. Sometimes, one of the toughest things to do is to contact clients that you either have bad news to share with, don't want to talk to or simply may not like.  Or sometimes you fear what tangent they may go off on, or what new questions or challenges they may introduce. More than just saying I must call them today, how about considering saying, "I get to call them today." That's right, you don't have to call your client ever again; you GET to call your client today.

After all, this is your chance to set yourself apart, deliver on your noble calling and build multi-generational wealth and trust with them.  Not a bad reason to call. Perhaps we should look forward to the privilege of helping our clients do what they say they want to do.

I was reminded of this simple, powerful concept again when I had the chance to meet a baseball legend - Ernie Banks.  I have referenced the meeting I had with Ernie a few times in my posts.  As you can tell, my meeting with him had a significant impact on me. 

As I have mentioned before- for those who don't know him, he is "Mr. Cub."  He played for 19 years for one team, one owner, in one city, for one mayor, in one stadium, under one light - the sun.  He is a member of the baseball Hall of Fame, The 500 Home Run Club and his number is retired from the Chicago Cubs and hangs on the foul pole in Wrigley Field.  He is known for his optimism and positive spirit.  It is said that he coined the phrase "Let's play two." A phrase he used every day there was a ball game to show his love for the game.  It's worth noting that he played only day baseball in Wrigley Field (under the July and August heat) and he never won a championship with the Cubs.  (But then again, no one has since 1908.)

When I first met Mr. Banks, it was one of life's surprises that seemed to occur- if we are aware, conscious and available.  It came at a time that I had been pondering a concept I titled "regret minimization."  The concept, simply stated, is doing those things in life that you think about but rarely, if ever, act on.  That's when this meeting opportunity came to me.  And as you can see, I acted.

I met Ernie on a Tuesday at 11 am.  And I can sincerely say I am wiser and more optimistic because of that encounter.

What did I find? He was fresh with relevant, creative business ideas, energy and most of all optimism.  He talked about core principles, perseverance, history, family and loyalty. One of the reasons I wanted to meet with him, I hate to confess, was to see if this reputation of optimism that was older than I, was real.  Or, I had thought, was it trumped up? Was it simply lore, legend, a sweet old story? "Let's play two" is a phrase every Chicago Cubs die-hard fan knows. It was, as legend has it, how Ernie greeted every baseball game he played. Kind of the glass is half full mentality. Was it real?  I wanted to know.

This lore - this genuine optimism - was real and still is!  He is the real, genuine thing. His optimism, attitude and legend was not a gimmick, it was part of his being.  I walked away from the meeting a better man for just spending three hours with him! That is a rare gift.

Do your clients feel that way after a meeting with you?  Do mine?  Why not?  How can they? Do we crave a spirit of optimism, desire a view of the world that is liberating, need new perspective and  simply want to be better for knowing someone?

I believe Mr. Banks has another story to be told, not just that of his life, his baseball career and his baseball success.  He has many stories of perseverance, triumph and pure joy.  Those are the stories that truly last. This is what makes legacy. This is what needs to be honored and held up for example to the youth.

The other reason I wanted to meet him is because I am a cynic.  After I met him, another thought came into my mind.  A thought I'm not proud of. I wondered quietly if he was thinking clearly. Glad it was not the primary thought, but overtime, life does this to you if you are not careful.  The stresses of the world, the disappointments of people, the culture of bigger and better causes you to consider, look for and find the negatives that may or may not truly exist.  After hearing him with great clarity and excitement share several business ideas with me, I had this urge to simply dismiss him.  Discard the ideas not on their merits, but rather because they were coming from this "old man." In reality, I thought, I was discarding him, not simply his ideas.   I wondered if perhaps he was not thinking as clearly as someone half his age, who by society's standard would be a captain of commerce, a business leader. But a man of his age, simply should be left behind to smile and rock.  So goes the "silent generation" of today.

And then it hit me.  Why?  Why would I think that?  Have we as a society discarded the wit, wisdom and wealth from our wisest and most experienced citizens?  Do we think they are finished contributing?  I sure hope not! This meeting was a great reminder for me, and perhaps hopefully you, that there are indeed great things to learn, experience and act on that come from the most treasured people group on earth today - those who have lived long and lived well - the so called silent generation. Many of those people are your clients. Additionally, this group still has much to contribute - we ought to let them. We ought not to silent them! So again, aren't you lucky, you GET to call your clients today and they get to talk to you?

Enjoy the game, and begin believing again-believing in yourself and in other people. Think about it, you get to call your clients today! You sure are lucky.