Building your business within an extended family structure is an excellent way to add long-term depth to your book.
Strategies if you're in
You're a family member by birth or as an in-law. They know you work in the financial services industry and it's likely you'll enter relationships with a level of credibility.
- Raise your visibility. Every family member needs to know who you are, what you do and why you're good at it. Ideally, at least one family member without a vested interest in your success has done business with you and can give enthusiastic endorsement.
- Meet everyone. The family may be large, and you want each of them to connect your name with your face. Learn who they are, what they do and where they work.
- Show respect. Send holiday, birthday and anniversary cards. Give younger relatives holiday presents, like your relatives did when you were small.
- Learn what's important. They want to keep their money in the family? You can help because you understand estate planning. Is educating the children a priority? You can explain college saving strategies.
- Be an open book. When someone becomes a client, explain exactly where and how the firm makes money and how you're paid. They may assume a hefty fee goes directly into your pocket, when in fact you receive only a portion.
- Promote privacy. Their financial affairs are confidential, so don't share details with anyone, including your spouse.
Strategies if you're out
You're not a family member but know at least one person either as a client or long-time friend. They hold you in high esteem.
- Cloning. You have a client in the family who's satisfied with your service because you've helped her money grow. Who does she know within the family in an almost identical situation? Does the teacher know another teachers in the family? Will they introduce you?
- Stay in the comfort zone. She may not feel comfortable sending referrals your way, but might invite you to anniversaries, birthday parties or other family events. Meet family members in comfortable surroundings.
- You're on stage. Dress well, look successful and behave with decorum. You want her to be proud to introduce you as her financial advisor. You want other family members to think, "She has a winner here."
- Be easy to understand. When asked what you do, say, "I help people manage their money. I work very well with families, helping solve their financial problems." If appropriate, follow up with, "If you ever want to talk, give me a call."