How do you connect your financial advising services with Hispanic medical and dental practices? For Mariana Ruiz Posada , financial advisor and director of multicultural marketing at MassMutual Greater Houston, it’s as easy as dancing – or picking up a dental scraper.
“It’s important to call on the experiences from your life prior to entering the industry,” Ruiz Posada said in an interview, “and use them to help you grow.”
Ruiz Posada’s experience with the medical community started in 10 th grade. A routine dental checkup resulted in an after-school job in the dentist’s office. It wasn’t her dream career, but the work as a dental assistant and then as an office manager continued through — and largely paid for — her college years as she pursued a degree in economics.
And, as it turned out, even after graduation the dental industry wasn’t done with her yet.
Success through Common Culture
“My focus on this market started about six years into my career as a financial advisor,” Ruiz Posada said. “I started working with physicians as part of a study group focused on the Hispanic market. With my experience and background, it was easy to find common ground.”
It was even easier with Hispanic dentists, given her understanding of everything from procedures and instruments to industry lingo. A lot of the materials and supplies have changed since Posada was an assistant, she said, but the treatment plans largely have not. And it makes things much easier to walk through the door already familiar with her clients’ environment and business needs.
Lead Generation through Community Involvement
Ruiz Posada’s work doesn’t stop at work. As part of her mission to help the Hispanic-American Medical Association of Houston grow and improve as a community and financial entity, she does a lot of things she doesn’t get paid for, including giving free financial consultations.
She also volunteers her skills as a dental assistant for the Hispanic Dental Association’s annual event offering free dental work for people who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
“It seems like a lot of extra work to put in,” Ruiz Posada said, “but it’s given me a lot of success in two ways.”
One is personal: volunteering and helping members in her community have, she said, opened the door to wonderful friendships over the years.
The other bump is all business.
“Doing volunteer work has helped me boost my career immensely. It’s a huge winner for business because I find that in this industry, especially in the medical market, doctors don’t have a lot of time. And they spend what little time they do have figuring out whether they can trust you. Once they decide they can, they count on you to work in their best interests.”
By volunteering her time to work alongside her clients and prospects in a field she already knows, Ruiz Posada has been able to prove her value and pitch her services without ever setting foot in a sales meeting.
Dancing through Relationship Management
Any advisor already knows that a huge part of the job is in the creation and maintenance of relationships. For Ruiz Posada, it’s all about community — in more ways than one.
It’s critical, she says, to actively reach out to professional organizations and entities to build your network and get the word out about your value.
But professional networking can be much more than just attending conferences and swapping business cards.
“To me,” Ruiz Posada said, “the dance floor is my golf course. In Hispanic culture, dancing is very important, a huge mode of expression. Both of the organizations I do most of my business with have a gala once a year and I make it a point to participate. Dancing allows me to spend time and reinforce professional relationships, but it’s also a nice way to combine energies and develop friendships.”
Business Wins, Emotional Rewards
Of all her successes on and off the dance floor, there’s one of which Ruiz Posada is particularly proud.
Hispanic business owners, with little financial experience but a thriving manufacturing company in the community, approached Ruiz Posada for estate planning advice. She had to start from square one, explaining what a life insurance plan is and why they would want one to protect their lives and their business.
She worked with them through the process of financial analysis and business evaluation and helped them settle on the policy that best suited their needs and tied into the greater estate plan they created with their attorney.
“I had a man across the table from me, successful and absolutely used to calling the shots and being the strong male in charge. But he was nearly in tears with relief that I’d been able to walk him through the process and help his family protect their livelihood and their future. It was a big win for my business, but also hugely emotionally rewarding. The best you could ask for in any case.”