Finding your Acres of Diamonds

Have you ever heard of a book called Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwell? I believe everyone who is old enough to understand business should read that book. There hasn’t been a single publication of any kind that has improved upon that message since it was written.

The book questions, “Are you one of those people who look for diamonds in faraway places? Is the grass really greener there? Is there an opportunity that has been in front of you all the time? Have you taken stock of your life lately? Perhaps there are diamonds sitting just outside your back door. Now I’m not suggesting you physically go and start digging up your backyard, as the story says, so how can you find the acres of diamonds in your own backyard?”

Sniffing out opportunities
There are a huge number of articles written about prospecting and presentations and illustrations and on and on. But, what about how to find the opportunities right under your nose? Do you have the skills for sniffing out opportunities?

My son, Sam, has a Beagle. He got the dog because he is a hunter and wanted a dog that could follow a trail. Sam also has a lap dog. He is a purebred King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. Sounds royal, doesn’t it? The beagle is also a purebred, but they are bred to accomplish different tasks. The lap dog, Titus, lies in your lap. He’s a very kind, loving snuggly dog. That’s all he does. He snuggles. The Beagle doesn’t care to snuggle. When he was just a puppy he ran around the yard sniffing the ground. It was the funniest thing I’ve seen a puppy do. Sniffing everything. He sniffed dirt, pinecones, poop, lizards, flowers, plants, concrete, water, everything. If it was in the backyard he knew what it smelled like. I’m sure that if you wanted that dog to find a flower, he could find one. More important to Sam is that the dog can sniff out a rabbit or raccoon.

Most advisors are not as able to sniff out opportunities because they aren’t familiar as they should be with their own clients. It is easier to sniff out opportunities when you are engaged with clients on a regular basis. Just a simple, “How are you?” discussion can lead to business. If clients don’t readily share their personal life without you asking, they aren’t well-developed clients.

Developing trust
A simple test would be to ask about family. If they give details, they are feeling more comfortable. The less they volunteer, the more likely the advisor just sold them something and trust is an issue. It should go without mentioning that if you aren’t sincerely interested in their personal life, they will know that you are a fake, and only after their money. Also, you should rarely bring up business on most calls. If they have something on their mind, they will bring it up.

For many years I never brought up investing to my brother. We are very close, but he didn’t want me to know about his money, until he had more. Finally, he asked about some optional ideas. He is now a client.

This is a very personal business. People are willing to talk to friends about very intimate things, except their money. They must feel that the advisor is extremely competent and they will hold personal discussions in confidence. Be careful not to talk critically about people. A client may take that as a clue that you will do the same to him/her. In fact, don’t’ talk about people at all. It only leaves clients with the wrong impression.

Kim Magdalein is an advisor with 30 years of speaking and writing experience about prospecting and marketing in the industry. Co-founder of Seminars for Less nearly 20 years ago, he is a leader in seminar marketing, assisting financial advisors and insurance agents. Contact Kim at