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5 ‘One Liners’ for Asking Friends to Do Business With You

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If I hear, “Go after your natural market” one more time, I will explode.

It’s true. Most advisors and agents are told to talk with friends and family about doing business. You probably find this awkward.

But the New York Times reported in 2013 that the average American knows about 600 people.

(Related: Want Wealthier Clients? Go to Them or Let Them Come to You)

Don’t take them off your radar. Many of them are entirely unaware of how much they need more life and disability insurance, and how annuities could help them prepare for retirement. And it’s very difficult to build a business if you focus on what you just won’t do.

This is a little like fly fishing. You cast your line with a lure and hope something happens. If it doesn’t, you reel it in and repeat the process.

You need some “one Liners” for social situations, to act as a lure. You toss it out. If it works, great! You continue the conversation or schedule one for later. If not, you reel your lure back in and either change the conversation or talk with someone else.

Here are five one liners for five different situations.

1. Saving Money

Is your firm owned by a bank? Can you offer mortgage refinancing to clients? Here’s an interesting fact about affluent people: They like to stay that way.

Scenario: You are asked, “How’s business?” You reply, “Now that the Fed has started raising interest rates, I can’t believe we are still lending money at (mortgage rate.)”

Stop talking. If your friend says, “That’s nice” drop the subject. If your friend takes an interest, say, “I think I may be able to save you money. Why don’t we talk on Monday…?”

Why it Works: The Fed has been raising rates. The mortgage refinancing train is leaving the station.

2. Already Have an Advisor

“I already have an advisor “ may be the response that comes out immediately after you answer the question “So, what do you do?”

“I already have an advisor” seems to mean, “Go away. I don’t want to be prospected.”

Scenario: You tell someone what you do and hear, “I already have an advisor.” You say, “I’m sure you are very happy with your advisor. Here’s my card. If anything ever changes, please give me a call.” Then you change the subject.

Why it works: You are planting seeds and establishing yourself as the alternative. People retire. Relationships sometimes deteriorate. Things change.

3. Referral Via Spouse

You don’t do the work in this scenario. Can your spouse or significant other spot an opportunity? Can your partner tactfully position you?

Fighter (Image: Thinkstock)

(Image: Thinkstock)

Scenario: Suppose, for this one, that you’re a  woman named Michelle. Your husband is John. At a party, John meets Jane Doe who asks, “What do you do?” John talks about his role as a stay-at-home father, and mentions that you’are a financial professional. Jane Doe starts talking about a financial problem. John replies, “You should really speak with my wife, Michelle. She’s helped other people in similar situations before.”

Why it Works: Jane Doe has a problem. Your spouse suggested you as part of the solution. Jane Doe wants the problem to go away and is motivated to talk with you.

4. Offer Something

You can get to people through their passions. Good news: Almost every hobby in America has at least one public company in the background. If you are licensed to sell securities, offering access to research reports tied to hobby-related companies is a great conversation starter.

Scenario: Your friends love cooking. You are at the extreme sports store at the mall. Your friends are like a kid in a candy store. You mention: “(Firm) is a public company. You would be amazed at their new plans. I just saw a research report about them. I’ll e-mail it on Monday. It’s no big deal. These reports come out frequently.”

Why it Works: They take an interest in the company. You follow with news. Next, it’s news on the competition. Over time, you’ve moved up the ladder to the industry and sector. Eventually, they should be interested in talking about portfolios. This takes time.

5. Common Issue

Most people look to friends for advice. Do you research health plan options or ask a co-worker “What did you choose?” Use the same logic with friends who share the same life issues as you.

Scenario: You have young children. So does your friend. You mention planning for college as a family priority. You did research and found out about college savings plans. You started them. “Our children are about the same age. What are you doing about their college educations?”

Why It Works: Your friends face the same problem you face. They may have found a different solution. Talking about that opens a dialog.

In each example, you are having a normal conversation, often in response to a question they asked. You aren’t pitching. You are fly casting. If they are interested, that’s great! If not, onto a different subject.

—-Check out Got Prospects on the Fence? Here’s How to Talk Them Down on ThinkAdvisor.