Social settings offer great opportunities to reel in new clients. Here are some strategies for common scenarios.
1. Establish Yourself as the Alternative
The people you want as clients likely have advisors. It's a hassle to change firms so they stay even if they're not completely satisfied.
Scenario: Someone asks what you do for a living; you answer, and she replies by saying she already has an advisor.
Your reply: "You're probably happy with your advisor. Here's my card. If anything ever changes, please give me a call." Then change the subject.
2. Offer to Do Something
You can get to people through their passion. Wealthy people who love wine may not pay much attention to their portfolios, but they probably read every page of the consumer wine magazines.
Scenario: You and a fellow foodie are in the mall walking around a high-end kitchenware shop. He's enthralled.
Your reply: "Did you know (store) is a public company? You would be amazed at the other businesses they own. We just put out a research report on them—I'll send you a copy." You've initiated a dialog that can move from the firm, to the industry, to the sector and eventually to asset allocation.
3. Referral via Spouse
Can your spouse explain what you do and recognize opportunities?
Scenario: At a party your spouse is approached by a guest, who asks, "What do you do?" Your spouse replies: "I raise the children at home. (Your name) is a financial advisor at (firm)." The guest starts talking about her portfolio, and it's a grim tale.
Spouse's reply: "You should really speak to (your name). He/she may be able to help you with that problem..." You get a play-by-play of the conversation.
4. Common Interest
Young parents want the best education for their children. But how to pay for it?
Scenario: You and a friend each have two children in the local school. You have coffee together after bumping into each other while shopping.
Your line: "We've been trying to figure out how we're going to pay for the twins' college educations. We found out about college saving plans and set them up before Easter. What are you doing about the girls' college educations?" It's a shared concern, and you're an expert.
5. Asking For Something
Advisors are often considered successful. You receive solicitations for charitable contributions.
Scenario: You get a letter at your home address from the local hospital. It's having a capital campaign, and you notice one of your friends is on the committee.
Your reply: Mail a check for the charity to his home, not in the return mail envelope. Call to confirm it arrived. "I often do presentations on topics like identity theft for community organizations. If you and the committee would like one done at the hospital, I'd be glad to do it." You've politely said, "You asked for something, I complied. Now I'm asking for something...."
6. Saving Money
If you have ways to save people money, they're usually willing to listen. You work at a bank, so lending is part of your job.
Scenario: Someone asks how business is going. You respond: "With all the talk about the credit crunch, I can't believe we're still lending at 3.5%." You quoted the current rate for a fixed 15- or 30-year mortgage.
She replies: "3.5%? Is that on credit cards? Borrowing against stock? Refinancing a house?"
Your reply: "I think I may be able to save you money. Why don't we get together after work on Wednesday and talk about it?" You used the rate as the hook to get her interested. You gained a couple of days to research credit cards and asset-based lending. You never knew they were interested.