You have no free time. So when do you prospect?
Here’s the upside: you’re busy because you know lots of people.
I asked successful advisors: “Have you gained clients through your involvement in the community?” and 71% said yes. When asked how it happened, 65% said someone approached them. That means you have an almost 50% chance of getting clients just by going about your regular day.
Here are 7 ways to improve the odds.
1. Know everyone
Do you know the members of your homeowners’ association? What about the key people who belong to your golf club?
To Do: Find out who they are, what they do and where they work. Do that by volunteering your own information to get theirs.
For instance, you can say: “I work at (X). I’ve been curious — what do you do?” Gather these background details a little at a time. If you see them often, it gets done fast. Then, make sure they know who you are, what you do and why you’re good at it. Use some of the techniques I’ve outlined in the past.
2. Attend meetings
Visibility is credibility. If you already attend parent meetings at school, arrive early and stay afterwards. Chat with people. If it’s a sports club, visit often. Does this take time? Yes – but you are attending these meetings anyway. You are changing your approach slightly to benefit your business.
To Do: At regular meetings, ask questions periodically. Give your name and relevant info. Let people see you are intelligent and articulate.
You could take the business route and offer a talk on identity theft. Your firm probably has a pre-packaged seminar on the topic. If not, check with your dealer and other wholesalers calling on your office. It’s likely their firms have designed one and cleared it through your firm’s compliance area. The topic has a public service feel.
If your outside activities are a refuge from the office, focus on your hobby. Have you renovated an old house? That could be a compelling 15-minute talk with a few slides for visual effect. Your business credentials will be mentioned in the introduction to clarify you aren’t in the home renovation business. People will listen and appreciate the information you’re sharing. They’ll assume you’re good at your profession too.
To Do: Find out your passion outside work, and decide if it be a good 15-minute talk for community groups. Word gets around; other community groups may want you to tell your story, and offer a new batch of prospects. Just make sure you clear all outside activities with compliance.
Take your hobby to the next level. Does a local organization have a newsletter? Could you do a short regular column on your hobby? Maybe your local newspaper would be interested. Or, your organization might run a financial column supplied by your firm with your name attached.
To Do: Figure out if your hobby (like bike riding or fly fishing) could provide content for several articles. Then, secure compliance approval and start writing pieces. Make sure the newsletter includes your contact information in your byline.
5. Address a critical issue
Your place of worship or homeowners’ association has a problem. If you can help solve it, consider offering your services pro bono. It will raise your visibility and show you deliver results.
To Do: Does the problem involve money? If so, it’s a good fit. You want to be identified as an expert with money issues.
6. Advertise in publications
Lots of groups have newsletters. Often, they feature inexpensive business-card ads. Inevitably, members will see your ad and learn what you do. Often people prefer to do business with people who share their interests.
To Do: Inquire about rates and how many people your organization’s newsletters reach. If the costs are reasonable, run ads in your group’s newsletter.
Are your children involved in school sports? Sponsor a trophy. At the award ceremony, two people stand on stage: the winner and the person who hands over the trophy. Which sounds easier? And remember: people are taking photos, and publicity may follow.
To Do: Find out which of your current activities could involve awards and trophies, and the cost to sponsor one.
You don’t have to run an organization. Focus on name recognition and getting to know everyone involved in the organizations to which you already belong.