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Opening hopes and dreams with the bucket list board
Opening hopes and dreams with the bucket list board

May 01 2024 / Round the Table Magazine

Opening hopes and dreams with the bucket list board

A bulletin board in the waiting area with photos of clients' bucket list activities helps set expectations.

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Visitors to our office walk in and see a chalkboard with client photos representing their bucket list accomplishments. This is our bucket list board, and we have a different theme every year. This year’s theme is “Defy your age.” We ask our clients to submit photos that demonstrate what they are doing to defy their age. It might be a young family doing something that is so financially secure, you would think only an older couple would finally be able to do it. Another example is a photo we just posted of a 78-year-old client wearing a zip-line parka to use while zip lining.

So, when clients and prospects are in our waiting room, they’ll look at pictures of people doing fun things, and they’ll either ask our client relations specialist about it, or I’ll bring it up when I come out to greet them. “Oh, did you have a chance to look at our bucket list board?” That sets the tone for our firm.

Talking about the numbers used to be my crutch. When I got into an appointment, I was all about the numbers, but now I have the bucket list board to talk about, and that pulls me into a different type of conversation. We’re talking more about our clients’ hopes and goals and asking what they want to accomplish in the future. The bucket list board sets the expectation while the clients are in the waiting area that our firm is already helping other people attain their dreams, so we can do the same for them. When they come into the meeting room, and we’re sitting down, they’ve had a little time to think about what other people have shared with us, and that brings down the walls, so they can share their own hopes and goals.

It’s been fun to watch what people have done. We started with the bucket list idea after we listened to Ben Nemtin (author of “What Do You Want to Do Before You Die” and a 2019 MDRT Annual Meeting speaker), and it’s been really fun to watch people say in January, “Oh my gosh, I would love to do this, but it’ll never come to fruition,” but by December they’re sending us a picture of themselves doing it. It’s pretty cool.

We keep all of the pictures and writings from the bucket list themes after that year is done and move them to another spot on the wall. So, when a new client comes in — we mostly work off referrals — they see all those bucket list accomplishments.

Everyone who sends a photo signs a media release saying they understand their pictures are going to be in our office for anybody to walk in and see. We don’t have them on our website right now, but as we get more virtual, we plan to post those photos as a collage on our website for virtual clients to see. It’s just fun to share those, and it helps people realize that we’re about more than just the numbers. 

Rebecca Gonzalez is an eight-year MDRT member from Spencer, Wisconsin, USA. Contact her at rebecca@rebeccajgonzalez.com.

Watch Ben Nemtin’s 2019 MDRT Annual Meeting presentation at mdrt.org/ben-nemtin-video.