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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

How best to prospect during the holiday season

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Holiday time presents some fantastic opportunities for you to network, meet new people and eat too much good food.  I’d like to address some of the phoning issues that arise this time of year.

The first challenge is when you call a prospect who says, “Call me after the holidays.” Or “Call me in January.” Or “I’m just too busy during this time of year.”

The best way to handle this is to have a response that offers a reason to meet with you now. Some examples: I understand you saying that and many people I’m speaking with are feeling overwhelmed as well.  But they found that after meeting me that in this very stressful time, an appointment with me, over coffee was the one break they could look forward to in the middle of the chaos.  I’d like to be the one to give you that break.  When would be a good time — this week or next?

I appreciate you asking me to call in January and a few people have asked me to do that as well. But they found after meeting with me, that they were glad they did, since this is a time to be thinking about family.

And our conversation is, in fact, about their family and it’s a terrific time to have that discussion.  I’d like to be able to do that for you.

Sound fair enough?  What is the least hectic time for you and your spouse – days or evenings? I hear what you are saying. Most of my business clients are super busy at this time. But they found after meeting me some of the ideas we may explore might be calendar-sensitive. And so to at least discuss them would be timely. 

I think this is important enough to schedule before year’s end.  I’ll make myself available when it’s best for you.  Is early in the day for coffee easier or should we try for something after 5:00 when your office is quieter?

The second challenge around the holidays is when you are at an “event” and overhear or are part of a conversation about financial issues.  As my networking friend Andrea Nierenberg would say “Don’t pounce!!” I can’t stress enough that your behavior and verbalizations at a party/dinner/family gathering can be critical to everyone’s perception of your professionalism.  This is the moment to be quiet!!  One of two things might happen:  During a group conversation about the economy, people will be chiming in their opinions and at some point someone will ask you, ”What do you think?” Your answer (which can also be applied to the phone) should be “Because I’m in the financial services industry, I hear this whole conversation with a different ear.”

And if you have intrigued your audience, they will ask you for your opinion again.  I stress, DO NOT GET ON YOUR SOAP BOX.  Let them know that most financial concerns need to be addressed on an individual basis and that is primarily the way you share your ideas and opinions.  And shut up!!s

If you want to call someone that you spoke to or overheard speaking about their financial concerns, your script should sound like this:

Hi, this is Gail and I overheard you saying at the Smith’s holiday party that you had serious concerns about the economy and you’re probably most interested in how all of this affects you and your family (or business).  Because I am a financial professional, I hear those kinds of comments with a different ear and the reason for my call is to position myself as an additional financial resource to you (and your family/business).

I want to find a time when we can sit down and I can share with you the scope of the work that I do. Then you can use me and all the resources I have at (company) any way that makes the most sense to you.  What is usually the least hectic time for you — days or evenings?

Before leaving for an event, dinner, party or holiday whatever, look in the mirror and remind yourself “Don’t pounce; don’t get on a soapbox; I share information one-on-one and try to have a good time. 

And as my mother always says “Behave yourself!”

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