A few years ago, I wandered into the fishing and tackle aisle of a big box store. While inspecting the lures, I noticed a boy about 10 years old standing by himself.

I was pleased to see he was interested in the more advanced stuff instead of just a bobber and worms. So I struck up a conversation by asking, “Anything good over here?”

He turned to me, smiled and replied, “Not really. I normally just use purple worms or a fake frog.”

That’s when I saw the giant frog lure he had in his hands. It not only covered his entire palm but looked big enough to be showcased at a county fair.

The sheer size of that frog, along with his honest answer, made me laugh out loud. “Wow,” I said, “that’s a pretty big frog, isn’t it?” I wasn’t trying to be condescending or trying to get him to change his selection; it was just so out-of-the-ordinary and unexpected.

Which is why I was surprised even further when without hesitation he confidently replied, “Not if you're trying to catch the big ones, SIR!”

The kid tipped his ball cap and left me standing there dumbfounded, and with a valuable lesson: Don’t be afraid to go big; and be unexpected or out-of-the-ordinary when you do!

It’s a prized lesson I took to heart several years ago and one I want to use to encourage other financial professionals to “go big” with clients and step into the unexpected as a way to grow their business and deepen client relationships. 

For me, it started when I left my cushy job as a bank executive and became an independent advisor. I needed an immediate way to get in front of people and start sharing my story. The problem, of course, was that traditional seminars and workshops were expensive and in the past hadn’t produced the results I wanted.

So I challenged myself to think big and outside the box. I soon realized the gap that wasn’t being addressed by traditional retirement planners was helping people plan for everyday life in retirement. Advisors typically would walk people up to the door of retirement and tell them everything was going to be great if they had a certain amount of money and reached a magical age, but then leaving them to figure out retirement living on their own. 

So I started examining what caused some clients to make a successful transition from work life to home life, and what was missing when it didn’t go well. As a result, I wrote my book Naked Retirement.

I’d love to tell you that it became a best seller overnight and that the paparazzi follow my every move but, alas, that’s not the case. So I repackaged the information into a workshop that differentiated me. And it worked. It wasn’t long before I started reeling in more clients and new opportunities.

First of all, my workshop overcame something called market sophistication—meaning that most people have already been invited to financial workshops on Social Security, long-term care or making sure they don’t run out of money. In fact, they’ve been invited to so many that, when they see the advertisements, they ignore them because they know what to expect (they’re market sophisticated). But how many have been invited to a “Naked Retirement” workshop that promises a fun and creative approach to planning for everyday life in retirement?