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Turn lunch into great referrals

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With do-not-call regulations, personal introductions are more important than ever. Host a “lunch and learn” as a productive way to meet prospects.

A lunch and learn is an event that puts you in front of five to 10 prospects who have been invited by one of your clients, friends or even another prospect. Spend 10 to 15 minutes talking about an important financial topic. If you can keep the attendees in the same age group, industry, financial situation or other commonality, you can further tailor your remarks to them. You want to bring real value to these folks, so make sure your information is timely and relevant.

Some agents hang around for the lunch while others leave the folks to socialize or discuss the topic among themselves. Three ways to get people to lunch are:

  • Ask your clients. A client who is unwilling to introduce you to someone for one-on-one contact may be willing to help put a small group together. Also, a client who has already given you some referrals should also be willing to help.
  • Try the fish bowl approach. Ask a restaurant owner for permission to set up business card fish bowl offering a free lunch for up to 10 people. To remain do-not-call safe, make it clear you will call them. When you call, explain the type of work you do. Tell them in exchange for listening to some brief but valuable information about some aspect of financial planning, you will pick up the tab for the lunch.
  • Consider your “natural market.” You can have your friends, family and colleagues help you assemble groups.

This concept can easily be translated to other venues, such as a golf lesson or group manicure. Be creative. Tap into the interests of your client because they know people with similar interests.

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Bill Cates is the author of “Get More Referrals Now!” and “Don’t Keep Me a Secret!” Go to for more information and to sign up for his newsletter. Bill can be reached at [email protected].


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