You’re planning to attend a ritzy charity event. Here are five tips to help you prospect.

  1. Before you commit to going, find out who’ll be attending. Then do an Internet search for topical issues so you have some conversation starters. For instance, if it’s an event for pharmacists, you could ask people what they think about Loblaws’ recent acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart.
  2. At the event, make eye contact with the prospect and approach her with a smile. Give her a strong handshake and introduce yourself.
  3. Break the ice with a compliment. Say, “That’s a beautiful necklace.” Or ask a simple question that will evoke a positive response, like, “Are you enjoying the evening?” Odds are, the other person feels just as awkward as you do when meeting new people, so this will help both of you feel comfortable.
  4. Read: Beef up your book with prospect dinners

  • Ask open-ended questions or make statements that encourage her to talk about herself and her interests. For example, you could say, “Tell me how you found out about this event. Sounds like giving back to community is important to you.”
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    System 1 in action

    System 1 in action

  • Read her body language, including gestures and facial expressions. This will tell you how receptive she is to the conversation. If she’s happy to talk to you, she’ll maintain eye contact, nod and smile. But if she keeps looking around or checking her watch, then it’s time for you to excuse yourself and walk away.
  • Read: Market differently to prospects and clients

    Read more:How to talk to wealthy prospects

    Rosemary Smyth is a Victoria-based coach with Rosemary Smyth & Associates and author of 101 Success Tips and Strategies for Financial Advisors.