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  • Writer's pictureCj Harris

Take the Mask Off your Mind

Yesterday, I posted this “Whoever Counted me Out, Couldn’t Count” on my social media pages, because it spoke to me in SO many ways. So much so that I woke up today, and literally just stopped what I was doing, which was important by the way, to write my next article, titled “Whoever Counted Me Out, Couldn’t Count”.


I recall a time when I was asked to meet a potential client at the grocery store to discuss her financial affairs. She had recently gone through a divorce, and had never balanced a checkbook or created a budget.


She really needed help.


I remember getting a call from the banker who scheduled the appointment, who seemed extra excited because they were confident that this prospect was going to be a valuable client relationship for the branch based on the information they gathered when they thoroughly profiled the client.


Although I didn’t have all of the details, what I did know, was that I wanted the opportunity to win this relationship because I really wanted to help this client navigate through this situation with the least amount of worry or stress. Given her divorce and other headaches she was experiencing, as she was transitioning to her “new normal” I wanted to make life just a little bit easier, by being at her service during this difficult time.


I met with the client, and not only did I win the relationship, but I won her trust. She trusted me enough to refer her to my mortgage partner, so she could get a loan for her new condo, she trusted me to ensure she was partnered with the best bankers, who could help her navigate learning how to bank, save and pay her bills, and drum roll please, she trusted me enough to invest $1mm and guide her during the next financial chapter of her life!


And the funny part... I did this at a GROCERY STORE!


I remember the moment I realized I landed a client at a grocery store, I thought to myself... “There might be something with this whole grocery store thing... Maybe I will raise my hand to cover all of the grocery stores and cultivate a different, and untapped market. Hmmm....” I remember just a few weeks after closing the $1mm relationship, I was called into another grocery store location to help a client who had recently inherited money from his wealthy grandmother to the tune of $500k. He was a young minority blue-collar worker who had never invested and just wanted to “do the right thing to make his grandmother proud”. So, it was EXTRA important that I exercised care and due diligence to really educate him on the process of financial planning, and the process of building his portfolio to meet his long term goals while giving him a little additional income to increase his lifestyle without disrupting the long term purpose of the portfolio. Well, he trusted me enough to advise him on his $500k, and more importantly, I taught him how to be an investor, just in case, I could no longer serve him.


Back to the point of the grocery store, I kept uncovering these opportunities in locations that the average advisor would laugh at. I told myself, “Just because someone goes to a grocery store, doesn’t mean they are poor”. I actually saw where clients appreciated the convenience and didn’t want to deal with the “fluff” of meeting in a traditional office, as they felt more casual and open in that environment. I met empty nesters, retirees, nanny’s, stay at home moms, entrepreneurs, anyone who needed to make a ‘grocery store run’ I met them!

So in short, I was shortly thereafter promoted to run the wealth management business in all of the grocery stores in Illinois, along with one of my best friends and colleagues. We had an amazing manager, who was a natural-born visionary and could see the potential, as long as he had the right players stacked against the opportunity.


Together, we took what others considered as “a waste of time” as an opportunity to expand the investment offering to a group of colleagues and clients that have an even wider footprint than the traditional offering. When I asked myself the question, do I go into a grocery store more than a bank? The answer was yes! So there I had it... I leveraged that to capture and be at the forefront of a unique business model to expand and develop advisors and clients within their local communities!


Moral of the story, Take the Mask off Your Mind.


The mask might “cover our mouth” but it can never cover our mind.


Let's use this time to;

Continue to be a problem solver,

Continue to be strategic,

Continue to be creative,

Continue to think outside the box,

Pie in the Sky… YES I LOVE IT! Because your ideas count.

You might even have the cure.

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