Auditioning for the TV drama “The Sopranos,” Eugene Bozzi, LUTCF, apparently wasn’t coming off as natural. The casting director asked him to do less. So the 12-year MDRT member from Linwood, New Jersey, threw his lines away and went with his gut.
“That was great!” the casting director exclaimed.
The importance of being authentic is just one of the many parallels Bozzi has seen throughout decades spent as both a full-time financial advisor (focused on life insurance and retirement planning) and a part-time actor, with brief appearances in movies like “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “In Her Shoes” and shows like “All My Children” on top of countless roles in plays, industrial films and more.
While he kept his acting to a minimum to embrace his most important role of dad, he saw many parallels between what makes someone a successful advisor and a successful actor:
- You have to be on. “Advisors don’t necessarily have to do a performance, but we have to be our best. To me it’s all about energy to connect with the client. For example: Today I had three people pop in on me. They’re asking me questions, and all of a sudden I have to be on. Forget my cold and whatever I’m doing. That’s like a performer. For advisors, it’s not like we’re not being true; we have conviction in what we’re doing. But we have to be ourselves on our best day even if we’re not feeling our best.”
- Resilience in the face of rejection. “I went on a ton of auditions. You don’t connect on most of them. You still have to put your best foot forward knowing that you might not get that part. You have to treat each audition with the mindset that you’re going to get it. When meeting with prospects, especially for newer advisors, each one won’t be a sale right off the bat. Just like actors need to have a lot of auditions to secure parts, new advisors need a lot of appointments. If you’re an actor in New York and Los Angeles and have two to three auditions a week, it’s not going to work.”
- Big or small, treat everything the same. “I did a ton of industrial films, training videos where I would be the middle manager in the workplace. Going into that audition, I knew it wasn’t a big payday if I booked it. But instead I focused on the value of honing my craft, meeting people and making some money too. You can’t look at it like, ‘It’s only a small part, it’s not even worth it.’ The big picture is you’re meeting people, learning and networking. The same goes for prospect meetings. You don’t know what will come of it, but you’re practicing your skill and craft, and you don’t know where meeting someone will lead down the road. Unless you’re on top, actors and advisors make money consistently by not just elephant hunting.”
- Believe in yourself. “Sylvester Stallone wrote a little-known script called ‘Rocky.’ He was living in a one-room apartment, washing dishes out of his tub. He turned down $100,000 to make the movie and did it on his own. It was a big risk; he didn’t know it would end up being an Academy Award-winner that led to a franchise, but he believed in himself. It’s the same for advisors. Anyone can get a break, but you’re not going to have staying power unless you can come across well and believe in your abilities to serve and learn. I am 30 years in, and I’m still learning and going to classes, seminars and conferences.”
- The value of life experience. “When an actor early in their career really has to come across with emotion and subtext, you can tell if the layers aren’t there because they haven’t really had the experience. They’re just doing the best they can with what they learned in the classroom. Now compare that to the old saw who’s been around and has had death in the family, has seen someone suffer, had heartbreaking relationships, raised a child. Pick whatever life experience; now you own that, and it’s a matter of tapping into what you already own. It’s the same with advisors: When I came in the business at 19, I tried to imagine how that 40-year-old was with his family, or what that person about to retire needed. I generally didn’t want to talk to anyone over 35 because I knew connecting would be hard. Now, having all these layers of experience, I don’t think there’s anyone who I can’t relate to in some way.”
- Don’t forget where you came from. “Brad Pitt wasn’t always Brad Pitt. If you look at these actors before they made it, they took low-paying jobs. They didn’t know they were going to turn out to be who they turned out to be. But they had vision, persistence, energy and a positive frame of mind. Similarly, advisors building toward Top of the Table may have spent 30 years working on their craft. Overnight success? Sure, after 15 years of trying.”