Newer agents and advisors smile and dial to find clients. You’ve been there, done that. You are an experienced producer and want to continue adding new clients to your business.
You’ve completely cultivated your natural market. You regularly ask for referrals. What else can you do?
The following are five strategies for experienced producers to find new clients.
1. Executive education seminars
You have a client in a middle to senior level of management at a local company, a major employer in your market. They are agreeable to making introductions.
Rationale: Layoffs hurt. We think about the people who lost their jobs. Don’t forget about those who remain who must double up on work. The company wants them focusing on their workload, yet it also wants to provide services like retirement planning guidance.
Homework: Talk with your friendly contact. You offer to do a continuing series of educational seminars on retirement planning onsite over several weeks. The target audience is middle and senior level management. Can your friend secure management approval?
Objective: Teach them about the options they have available. You are teaching, not selling. Executives are comfortable utilizing outside consultants when they don’t have the time or expertise required. You hope to be contacted afterwards and hired as their advisor.
How: Utilizing your firm’s planning tools, help executives determine if they can maintain their lifestyle in retirement.
Cost: Virtually zero.
2. Client/prospect dinners
People often buy after being introduced by a mutual friend to a person they like.
Rationale: Clients know other people just like them. Strategic partners such as mutual funds and money managers are often open to sponsoring intimate dinners for an advisor, a couple of clients and their guests.
Homework: Ask around the office and learn which strategic partners are willing to support dinners.
Objective: Simple. Have a good time. Let them get to know you as a person. Your host, the strategic partner would likely act as the “Wall Street Specialist” and talk about the market.
How: Invite one or two good clients to dinner (usually without spouses). Ask them to also invite a co-worker or neighbor.
Cost: Almost zero, unless the strategic partner wants you sharing dinner costs.
3. Retirement party for a client
You have clients who are retiring after a lifetime of work. This is a cause for celebration! Why not celebrate with a few of their co-workers?
Rationale: Your retiring client likely has friends at work who will be retiring soon, too. They probably are in the market for the same advice you gave your client.
Homework: Review your client list. Who is retiring in the next month or so? Invite them to a celebratory lunch with you. Ask them to invite a couple of office friends who are retiring in the next 6-9 months.
Objective: Your client’s friends take a liking to you and ask for your advice, becoming clients themselves.
How: Once everyone is seated and the iced teas arrive, propose a toast to your client. Ask what they plan to do on the first day of their retirement. They will answer and, without prompting, thank you for the investment advice you have provided, making their retirement even more secure.
Cost: You are picking up the entire bill for lunch.
4. Executive conference calls
Busy managers don’t have time to attend evening investment seminars. They still have needs.
Rationale: Executives are comfortable with conference calls. They don’t need to travel. They can leave and return to the call if their attention is needed elsewhere.
Homework: Get permission to market your call within a professional society. Send out hard card, wedding style invitations. Offer a topic of interest to professionals holding that post. Your firm can supply the subject matter expert from the home office.
Objective: Participants on the call see you as an expert in an area where they need help. They become clients.
How: Recipients reserve by phone because they need to get the dial in and passcode. You conduct your call, keeping within the allotted time. You cultivate business by continuing to answer questions afterwards or calling people to gauge additional interest.
Cost: You are printing and mailing invitations. The conference call facility has a cost, too.
5. Welcome to city
High level executives often relocate. Get on their radar screen shortly after they arrive. Be memorable.
Rationale: Relocated executives need to make several big decisions quickly (house, country club, private schools). Their spouse might not be enthusiastic about the move. Provide the help they don’t realize they need.
Homework: Review your local business journal and daily newspaper for “People on the Move” news. Most cities have a magazine named after the city. Buy a stack of copies of the “Best of” or “Reader’s Choice” issue.
Objective: Get noticed by the executive and screener so your call gets through. Many people prefer face-to-face relationships with advisors.
How: Write a short “Welcome to (city)” letter on company letterhead. Attach to the magazine and overnight the package to their office. Call in a few days, confirm receipt and ask to speak with them.
Cost: You are buying magazines and paying for overnight mail.
Thinking out of the box has advantages. If you haven’t heard of an idea, chances are your competitors aren’t using it either.