If you have doctors or engineers on your client list and you enjoy working with them, consider developing a niche practice that specializes in servicing this part of the market.
These professions have their own organizations, giving members an opportunity to network. Many offer associate memberships for people not employed in the field because they sell products and services – like insurance and loans – used by members.
If you have clients who belong to these organizations, ask them to make introductions and give you the inside story.
Social prospecting within a cultural organization is easy. You join, meet people, raise your visibility and make friends. In a professional organization it's not as straightforward. Here are some tips:
- Executive conference call: Choose a specialized topic that can be addressed by a home office professional. Perhaps you address management issues related to employee retirement plans. Ask permission to mail invitations to their membership for your webinar or call. Participants call ahead to register and get the password. Follow up afterwards.
- Continuing education credits: Accountants and other professionals often need CE credits to keep licenses current. Does your firm have any qualifying seminars? If so, publicize and make them available.
- Speaking engagements: Do they feature speakers at meetings? Would a non-investment topic qualify? It's likely your firm has an identity theft seminar available. Who cares about identity theft? People with significant assets – and these are the people you want on your client list.
- Research reports: Does your firm produce research reports specific to their industry? Can you get permission to send these reports out regularly by e-mail or surface mail? Doing this can help build name recognition.
- Roving analysts: It's likely your firm has a research department with analysts who visit firms they cover and strategists presenting at conferences. A technology analyst addressing IT consultants could be a great fit.
- The mutual fund portfolio manager: A new fund is introduced and your local wholesaler organizes a roadshow with the portfolio manager. Are they free for dinner? Invite a few physicians from your group to ask questions of the manager for a new health sciences fund.
- Trade show format: Local professional groups sometimes organize meetings. Vendors setup booths, members wander between workshops. It's an opportunity to gain visibility.
- Annual meeting: Local chapters often gather for one big meeting at a resort. What kind of access can you get? One financial advisor told me he was asked to set up a hospitality suite in the hotel during the conference. Most attendees came through for drinks. He and his team exchanged cards and prospected afterwards.
- Foundation: Can your local client contact put you in front of the right people to discuss their foundation? One advisor I know used this approach to gain access to a specialty medical society. He attended their annual meetings to report on portfolio performance to the foundation's board. It showcased his skills and new accounts followed.