Prospecting your ‘B’ and ‘C’ books

By Bryce Sanders | April 8, 2013 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
3 min read

Most advisors have ‘B’ and ‘C’ books. If you’re a sole practitioner these are clients who don’t do much business. They may be reassigned or inherited accounts. If you’re in a team structure they might be your partner’s small and rarely contacted clients.

It’s likely they have money – it’s just not with you. Why?

  • They met another advisor and moved their money, but left a residual amount behind.
  • They feel unimportant because they haven’t received much attention.
  • They couldn’t connect with your personality or investment approach.

Twelve Steps to Win Them Over

Step 1 – Prework

Objective: Establish name recognition

How: Send letter of introduction or reintroduction. Mail a brochure with photo to connect name with face.

Step 2 – Contact them

Objective: Get an appointment

How: Thank them for their business with your firm over however many years and ask for an opportunity to see them.

Step 3 – Meet face to face

Objective: Learn about them through observation.

How: Meeting in their homes would be ideal because it gives you an opportunity to get a fuller picture of their personal styles and interests. If your office is in a premium location consider having the meeting there.

Step 4 – Learn about them

Objective: Gently flatter them by showing you’ve looked them up.

How: Review account forms, visit Google, LinkedIn and other sites to gather information. Note their achievements and other salient details.

Step 5 – Rationale for working together

Objective: Identify future benefits.

How: Explain why they’re getting attention now. Have they been reassigned? Has their previous advisor passed them along? Position yourself as their best option.

Step 6 – How the relationship will work

Objective: Build goodwill by being flexible.

How: Learn how they did business previously. Ask what they expect from you, and be clear about your expectations. Explain your process but leave open the possibility you can work with them as they’ve worked with previous advisors. Also ask how they prefer to be contacted and how frequently.

Step 7 – Learn about their investments

Objective: Build credibility.

How: Ask them about the best securities they’ve owned and comment on suitable investments they don’t have.

Step 8 – What do they want to accomplish?

Objective: Establish targets with emotional appeal.

How: Put a price tag on their goals, and if they haven’t considered financial planning, this can be a good introduction.

Step 9 – Win them over

Objective: Deliver on what you say you’ll do.

How: Review their contact and service expectations, and send them research reports. Also explain costs—both direct and indirect—in a straightforward manner.

Step 10 – Investments that perform as advertised

Objective: Gain trust as they become comfortable with you.

How: Start with simple recommendations with few moving parts: short-term government bonds, certificates of deposit, established stocks with safe dividends.

Step 11 – Refocus them on the relationship

Objective: Be accountable and move them towards your model, if appropriate.

How: Conduct periodic reviews. Explain how they did overall and how their long-term holdings performed. Make recommendations and discuss what happened with suggestions they didn’t accept. How are their assets held elsewhere doing?

Step 12 – Their importance as a client

Objective: Reinforce their value.

How: People need to hear a message at least six times before it registers, so make the point until it’s clear it clicked.

Also read:

Help prospects leave their advisors

Private clubs and social prospecting

Nine ways to generate new clients

Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, PA. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on