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A Reason To Smile

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A Reason To Smile

October 19, 2015

by Dan Solin

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Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Converting a prospect to a client is a lot like evidence-based investing; it’s simple to explain but can be difficult to implement.

Before I started coaching other financial advisors, I never paid much attention to smiling. If something amused me, I smiled. Otherwise, I didn’t. I certainly didn’t understand the science behind smiling or the impact a smile has on others.

Smiling begins in the womb

For years, it was commonly thought that babies learned to smile from being held by their adoring mothers and copying their facial expressions. However, advances in ultrasound technology have demonstrated that babies in the womb start smiling about 26 weeks after conception.

Smiling makes you happier

One seminal study looked at pictures taken of women in college. It followed their lives over a 30-year period. The study found that the participants who smiled the most had happier marriages and a more general feeling of personal well-being.

Another study examined two sets of photographs of the same person. The first were in college yearbooks. The second were from a variety of pictures taken from childhood through early adulthood. In both studies, the participants who smiled the most had reduced levels of divorce.

Smiling increases longevity

A study reported in Psychology Today looked at the smiles of Major League Baseball players in trading cards for the 1952 season. It then analyzed the 150 players in those cards who had died as of June 2009. Baseball players who didn’t smile at all lived an average of 72 years. Those who smiled slightly lived an average of 75 years. But the players with genuine, broad smiles lived an average of 80 years.

Other benefits of smiling

Mark Stibich, Ph.D., a behavior-change expert, describes these additional benefits of smiling:

  • Makes us more attractive
  • Reduces stress
  • Alleviates pain
  • Changes our mood
  • Makes those around us happier
  • Boosts our immune system
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Makes us feel good by releasing endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin
  • Makes us look younger
  • Makes us appear more confident and successful
  • Helps us stay positive

Smile to convert more prospects

The power of smiling is undeniable, but how can you use it in your efforts to convert more prospects in clients?

One study measured the physical facial features of 1,000 people who appeared in images taken from the Internet. The researchers looked at 65 variables in an effort to determine how they would impact the social judgment of participants who rated the images. The purpose of the study was to try to isolate those features that impacted first impressions.

The researchers found smiling faces created an impression of greater approachability and friendliness.

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