How to Look Like the “Smartest Person”
In my first year as a financial advisor, I looked young because I was young. Repeatedly I was asked by prospects how old I was. This began to impact my self-esteem as an advisor because, real or imagined, I felt as though I was being wrongfully perceived as incompetent.
Then an amazing transformation took place on a Sunday afternoon. Six months prior, under very favorable circumstances, I had met a very successful business owner named Henry. He explained to me that he might someday have a need for my services and that he would let me know. I inquired if he would be interested in receiving my monthly newsletter and he said yes. For the next six months he received my newsletter… and then the phone rang. Henry was calling and asked if I would like to meet with him and his wife a week from that coming Sunday for dinner to discuss business.
My wife and I showed up promptly and were invited in to his newly constructed mansion. In the great room there was a fancy bookcase with lots of expensive looking books on the shelves. In the center of one of the shelves was a white three-ring binder that had my name written on the spine. I looked inside and guess what I found? Each of the newsletters I had been sending him! They were all well read with highlighted paragraphs and careful notes in the margins.
When his wife entered the room, Henry introduced me as one of the smartest people he had ever met. He came to this conclusion because of the insightful monthly newsletters I had been sending him. (Did I mention I never authored a single article?) Henry never read the fine print that gives credit to the vendor that wrote the content. Each newsletter was personalized with my picture and contact information.
I wonder what would have happened if I had only given Henry my business card rather than sending him my monthly newsletter. I doubt I would ever have heard from Henry again.