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9 ways to reach clients in a big city

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You are not alone. As an agent or advisor in a metro market you are competing with plenty of other professionals seeking to add clients. How do you compete in an over-prospected market?

The landscape

Big cities have a tremendous amount of wealth. This generates a tidal wave of prospecting calls to business owners and professionals who appear on those lists that are easiest to find. They have established secure defenses through the use of voicemail and screeners. You turn to social prospecting and discover seven other financial professionals have already joined the group. Your competitors may have even deeper pockets where event sponsorship is concerned. 

How to choose your organizations

What’s a motivated agent or advisor with limited funds to do? You’ve done the math: You intend to join four organizations and attend a meeting for each every month. At those meetings you plan on meeting six people socially and saying hello to those you met earlier. Six new connections four times a month yields 24 people. Over 12 months this yields 288 contacts. Even if a third of them don’t have assets and another third can’t stand you, this process has generated about 100 people who like you and also have business potential.

Now let’s consider organizations to join:

1. Cultural institutions – They are supported my philanthropists. You want prospects with assets. Philanthropists have money to give away:

Don’t: Just look at high profile museums. They are often magnets for competitors who may be well established and carry big checkbooks.

Do: Find newer, regional or specialty museums. They still attract well-heeled donors, yet may be off the radar screens of the big firms. Think zoos, aquariums and libraries too.

2. Medical and social service charities – They provide a structured framework for raising money for medical research or helping the disadvantaged. These are noble causes.

Don’t: Focus exclusively on national organizations that raise money through mailings. You want organizations and events supporting the local hospitals and charities.

Do: Consider animal shelters. They might be off the radar, but they often hold great events and are popular with local movers and shakers.

3. Business organizations – You want to meet business owners. Chambers of Commerce have plenty.

Don’t: Focus exclusively on the high profile “Chamber” associated with your city. It’s likely plenty of competitors are listed in the membership directory.

Do: Find the smaller chambers within specific districts of the city. Consider local chambers for people from a specific culture if you are a good fit. Check out the member directory for local chambers (available to the general public) to determine how many competitors (if any) already belong.

4. Your religious institution or house of worship – It’s an ideal way to give back. It attracts a cross section of the community.

Don’t: Push business. It goes over badly and people talk.

Do: Make friends. Volunteer. Get to know your religious leader. From time to time members of the congregation approach them for financial advice. You are a resource.

5. Homeowners associations:  If you make a comfortable living, chances are your neighbors are in similar circumstances. Neighborhood or resident’s associations are a good way to meet them.

Don’t: Look outside your neighborhood unless you are joining a city organization open to residents. You are a stakeholder in the place you live.

Do: Attend meetings, listen and learn about the politics. Learn the issues important to fellow neighbors. If you feel the same way, that’s an interest in common.

6. Alumni association – Many graduates maintain a link with their college. It gives you a common bond with all alumni regardless of age or social position.

Don’t: Be discouraged if your school is far away. They likely have a local alumni club that meets monthly over lunch. Do they feature speakers?

Do: Widen your horizons. High schools, prep schools and graduate schools usually have alumni groups. 

7. Hospitals – Visit the lobby and look at the plaques. People often give plenty of money to the hospital that saved their life.

Don’t: Limit yourself to the high profile hospitals when considering donating or volunteering. Raising your visibility can be expensive.

Do: Consider children’s hospitals or those focused on a specific disease. They do important work, yet may have a lower profile in the metro area.

8. Country clubs – They provide a relaxed, private environment. This has value to senior executives and other wealthy residents. You want to mingle with them.

Don’t: Be discouraged if it’s so exclusive that there’s a waiting list and other barriers to entry. When you consider initiation fees, dues and monthly minimum spending thresholds, it can be expensive.

Do: Learn about city clubs and yacht clubs. Often they have a bar, restaurant and possibly overnight accommodations. Many have experienced a decline in popularity. They can be an overlooked alternative.

9. Special interest clubs – Successful people often own classic cars, RVs or private planes. They like to affiliate. You can too.

Don’t:  Embarrass yourself. If you join a sports car club, the members will want to see your sports car. It can’t always be in the shop. You are expected to own the playing piece.

Do: Join a wine club. Wine is a great crossover category of collecting. Wealthy people collect yet the field doesn’t have high cost barriers of entry for newcomers. Enthusiasts often enjoy sharing their knowledge with newcomers who are eager to learn.

Be involved for the right reasons. The community supports your business and provides your clients. You want to give back. Invest the time to get to know people and give them the chance to get to like you. Choosing the right organizations provides the opportunity to socialize in a less competitive environment.