In 2015 gamePlan Financial Group Inc. was at its peak. My income grew from $85K to $212K, I had 3 other Advisors, and after 16 years it was time for me to take that experience and help other Advisors thrive, so I sold the practice to a private equity firm for 3x earning and am writing about it today. Here’s my story of how that happened.
But first, we need to go back in time a bit.
Built on a Ball Diamond
My dream as a kid was to be an MLB Umpire. I knew when I was 5 that’s what I wanted to do. Umpiring Little League started for me when I was 12 and by the time I was 18 I had umpired a national championship, a western Canadian championship and a BC Summer Games, all gold medal games behind home plate.
At 20 years old I attended the Academy of Professional Umpiring, where I graduated with honours and was awarded a 1996 Spring Training Assignment with the Seattle Mariners camp in Arizona. I went from moving lawns in Qualicum Beach to literally bumping into Ken Griffey Jr in a span of 6 weeks. Out of 350 students, 8 of us were awarded Spring Assignments. I was super proud, especially being a kid from Canada. I had planned for this for a very long time.
The Ego Doesn’t Serve
For 5 years I worked my way to the AA level (2 levels below MLB) and had some significant historical firsts: I worked the first professional game ever for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the first no-hitter in the Colorado Rockies organisational history. Every morning I woke up and got to relive my dream. Being on the field with the likes of Tommy Lasorda was surreal, every day felt like Saturday.
Until 1 day I walked onto the field, and a question crashed into me like a linebacker taking down a receiver. The question was: Tyler, is everything you’re sacrificing in your life, is it worth the magic of being on the field. The answer was no.
While the three hours of magic I got to experience every day was a gift, being on the road 200 days a year for the pursuit of a big paycheque and an even bigger ego wasn’t appealing. Not to mention there was a failed MLB Umpire labour negotiation in 1999 that cut ½ my chances of making gone. So I left, and that’s when I became a financial Advisor.
Training Hasn’t Evolved
My new Advisor training in 2000 was no different than it is today for new Advisors coming into the industry. Talk to family and friends, work that warm-market and ask for referrals and, if you have time; network. I did all of that and business just wasn’t coming in fast enough, and at the volume, I needed to feel successful.
So there I was, a broke Financial Advisor, living at home in a bedroom full of baseball memorabilia commemorating all my previous success. I felt like a fraud and was about ready to quit. Staring at my childhood piggy bank wondering if there was anything inside I reached a low.
Mentorship is the Key
Instead of quitting, I called my Grandmother a very successful Real Estate Agent, and I asked for help. I wanted to study and learn how she did it. While in her office I noticed she had stacks of magazines, rows of index cards and boxes of greeting cards displaced in her organised chaos. This early Internet era didn’t have Facebook, CRMs and HTML 5.0, but in the year 2000, it did have LinkedIn.
What I learned that day was my Grandmother was a master at staying top-of-mind in a genuinely trusted way. Not by promoting real estate but my knowing what truly motivated and interested her clients. She would send recipe cards, magazine articles and handwrite notes in greeting cards.
Have Empathy & Intimacy in Your Marketing
She had an empathetic and intimate relationship with her prospects and existing clients. This was her secret. Her successful system wasn’t about promoting her a dynamo Realtor or letting people know about her latest listing. She knew early on that people don’t care about that crap.
Today we can look back and say she was old school, but there wasn’t new school yet! To create scale, I saw the value in her approach but knew I could go further faster by leveraging LinkedIn, and so I became a very early practitioner. There is great power when daily habits are built around the platform. It’s a goldmine for prospecting if you make it a routine. Yet “getting clients” is still the biggest objection I hear from Soloprenuers today and it doesn’t have to be.
Follow a Proven System
Today LinkedIn is the #1 platform for professionals. It has 41% of the world’s millionaires, 44% of users earn over $75K a year, and there are 106 million people on it. When combined with Facebook, Solopreneurs have a tremendous edge at delivering value and staying top of mind. But particular nuances need to be made for those wanting leverage LinkedIn is a trustworthy way which is why I created the Sales Appointment Engine which is based on scientifically proven model at building trust.
Learn the 3 LinkedIn Secrets That Will Accelerate Your Trust & 2x Your Income in 18 Months
Social media, when utilized in the correct system, accelerates your trust and increase your referability faster then any networking group or centre of influence can. Yes, we still need to network and cultivate a relationship with those influencers, but social media is where top Solopreneurs are building business fast.
Yogi Berra once said, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.” I like to say, “don’t wish things were better, you get better.”
Ty Hoffman is a Qualified Trust Partner with Reina, and a Business Acceleration Coach who helps Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners ignite their client acquisitions by focusing on trust-building.
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