Acquiring referrals is important, but gaining a warm introduction or a bridge is even better. I consulted with Richard Weylman, founder of The Weylman Center, an online university for financial professionals in the affluent market, on how to get these introductions. Here is the step-by-step process he uses to gain warm introductions to the right prospects:

  1. Create a list of prospects in your chosen vertical markets.
  2. Find out about these people. Start with the local association, club or organization membership list. Research every name using Internet sources, such as hoovers.com, google.com, zapdata.com, dunandbradstreet.com, infousa.com and usadata.com.
  3. Divide the list into groups of 15 names by chapter and club or local geographic area. Any larger number is too many. And if I take in only five or 10, there’s always a sense of needing more.
  4. When you meet with a client or prospect, present the list of 15 names in their market. Say, “Here are 15 people in your club or industry I would like to meet. Who do you know? Which ones know you?”
  5. After they review the list and comment, ask, “Who have I left off this list?” Be quiet and let them think.
  6. Ask for their help to meet the people they know. Be sure to suggest connection ideas: “Be my advisor for a moment — how would you go about meeting these people? Should I coordinate a golf outing or perhaps a breakfast or better yet, what would you do?”
  7. Listen as they review the list for social connections. Gently probe to discover interests they may have, and note these for future invitations and bridging opportunities.
  8. Close the discussion by outlining the date, location and invite: “OK, let’s see, you believe golf is the best for these two people? When are you available, and let’s make it a foursome.”

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Margie Barrie is a principal at Hagelman Barrie Training Solutions and also serves as national marketing coordinator for the LTCP designation. She is also a nationally recognized expert in training agents to sell LTC and the author of “50 Ways to Boost LTCI Production.” For more information, go to http://www.hbltci.com.