Vacations give you a chance to get away and recharge, but sometimes opportunity knocks.
Too many advisors say, “No, it’s my vacation. No business.” Some successful advisors go to the other extreme, always booking high-end trips with the aim of cultivating wealthy prospects.
If you visit a resort or take a cruise, the timeframe for developing relationships is compressed. Close proximity means you see lots of each other. Y. O. Y. O. is an acronym describing the advisor’s great advantage: You’re On Your Own. On vacation you aren’t judged by your house or car—it’s just you. Make a good impression and you can establish a connection with people who might be off limits back home.
Here are few pointers:
- Always dress well – GQ magazine made a great point years ago: it’s a lot easier to get where you want to be if you dress like you’re already there.
- Draw them out – The cardinal rule of dating is, ‘The person talking is the one having a good time.’ People remember a good listener.
- Interests in common – Show interest in his stories and share your advice.
- Commit to something – You know a great restaurant, have a great travel guide or took wonderful pictures. Send something after vacation.
After the vacation, get back in touch. Whether you soft or hard sell depends on the timeline you’re willing to accept. A few soft sell approaches:
- Personal note – Mail a handwritten personal letter on your return. Say you enjoyed meeting him and reference a story he told. It shows you were listening.
- Send an email – Start a dialog. For instance, you’re planning your next vacation and it’s a destination he’s visited. Ask for some advice.
- Photos – Print out and mail flattering photos of him (or of you and him) taken on the trip. Old technology makes a bigger impression: holding a real photo has a greater impact than glancing at a picture on a smartphone.
- Send that book – You promised to send him an interesting book, now deliver. Inscribing a personal message will remind him of you.
- Suggest getting together – If he’s local, suggest getting together for a drink.
Expect your new friend to look you up. A Google search will confirm you are who you say you are, and not some jewel thief wanted in three countries. You should do the same: check him out on LinkedIn to get a better sense of what he does.
Show curiosity. Your new friend mentioned he works in the oil industry, so ask questions that allow him to showcase his knowledge. Be complimentary and bring up recent positive news stories.
One advisor I know uses this hard sell approach: Call up the prospect and say, “I enjoyed meeting you on a personal level while on vacation. Now that we’re back I’d like the opportunity to meet you on a business level…” It’s direct, yet polite. He’ll respect you for not bringing up business on vacation and he can easily opt out.