Research the highest-earning professions in major cities and you’ll see doctors near the top of the list. They’re a great target market, but how can you get close to them?
Doctors are difficult to prospect for two main reasons:
1. Accessibility: They’re extremely busy and rarely have time for phone calls.
Read: Get beyond cold calling
2. Screeners: Doctors aren’t just advisors’ favorite prospects. Real estate agents, pharmaceutical salespeople and charities want in as well. Efficient gatekeepers put everyone but patients at arm’s length.
How it’s done
1. Hospital Fundraising
Fundraising at hospitals is big business. You write checks, they invite you to cocktail parties and events at the hospital. You’ll get to mingle with top doctors and senior staff.
Pro: You’re ‘in’ and attending regular events.
Con: It’s not cheap and the timeframe’s long.
2. Booth at a medical convention
Medical societies have local chapters and often have conventions covering larger territories. One advisor I know takes out a booth at a medical convention and gets enough leads and commitments to justify the expense.
Pro: You’re surrounded by doctors.
Con: Taking out a booth isn’t cheap, and you need to be able to tactfully work the crowd.
3. Local Society Dinners
Doctors socialize with peers online. Many of these websites can be accessed by the general public; click the events tab and look for past dinner meetings. Did they have speakers? What kind? My own research has shown financial advisors often present at these dinners.
Pro: Professional societies often have associate memberships.
Con: You need to earn your stripes by contributing to the association in a material way, and that takes time.
4. Hospital Cafeterias
Hospital cafeterias are often open to the public. While it would be disastrous to openly prospect, you can become a familiar face.
Pro: You’re part of their world on a regular basis.
Con: Like dating, you can’t be too forward. Take your time, get them comfortable with you.
5. Country Club
If you belong to a country club you’re likely in the company of doctors. Direct prospecting is out. These doctors likely play golf or tennis, stand around the bar, serve on committees and attend events. You need introductions and shared interests.
Pro: You’re a successful person surrounded by other successful people.
Con: Pushing business turns you into a pariah. This is a long-term, introduction-driven process.
Medical societies often award scholarships or grants. It’s likely there’s a foundation in the background. Do some research; if they have a foundation, it’s likely some financial reporting is public. Find out who’s in charge. When do they review the performance of money managers? Are they open to presentations from outside managers?
Pro: It’s straightforward, and you don’t need to pay to gain access.
Con: Longer timeframe, as they may review performance annually.
They’ve always been your best source of new business. When you next meet with your good clients for portfolio reviews, ask some questions. Perhaps they have some names of local doctors. Do they socialize with any doctors? Could they introduce you?
Pro: Clients who believe in you can help put you in front of people.
Con: They may not be articulate, so you might need to coach them.