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(Photo: Tandem/USFWS) (Credit: Tandem/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Want to get some whales as life insurance or annuity clients? It’s a long process, but every journey begins by taking that first step. Fortunately, the December holiday season puts that opportunity within your grasp.

Here’s the plan: Nobody is asking anybody for business.

The object is to meet people, get on their radar screen and connect afterwards.

(Related: 6 Ways for Social Prospectors to ‘Read the Room’)

Here’s your game plan:

Step 1: Determine who you want to meet. This might be influencers like local politicians, heads of accounting firms or partners in law practices. Build a list.

Step 2: Make a list of the high profile non-profits, cultural organizations and business groups in your area.

Step 3: Do some online research. If it’s the local Chamber, look at the officer and membership lists on their website. If it’s the museum or hospital, look at their annual report listing donors at different levels. What names from Step One are featured on the lists you gathered?

Step 4: You’ve got groups that count your high profile folks as leaders or major donors. Visit their website or scan the local paper for details about their holiday fundraiser. It might be a gala or cocktail party. It’s highly likely they will attend.

Step 5: Buy tickets to attend. If it’s a members only event, give serious thought to joining. After all, a museum membership can come in handy during the New Year.

Step 6: Run those names from Step One through LinkedIn. Who do you know in common? If it’s a local name, there’s a chance that friend will be at the event too. If you know them well, you might even score an introduction.

Step 7: Run those names from Step One through Google. Have they been in the news? Received any awards? Did their company make a big charitable contribution or score a big contract? These are good conversation starters.

Step 8: Dress well and attend these events. Plan on spending the evening, not doing a hit and run. Scan the room to determine who you know. Approach them. Ask if they know the person you want to meet. If you already belong to the organization and know the membership or development director, they know everybody.

Step 9: If you can’t get an introduction, walk up and introduce yourself anyway. Your Step Six LinkedIn research has identified people you both know. The Step Seven research gives you material for a compliment. Who could be offended by that?

Step 10: Make conversation. Draw them out. Talk about their interests. Your goal is to identify interests in common.

Step 11: Tactfully disengage yourself before you both run out of things to talk about and the conversation gets stale. Repeat the process a few more times.

Step 12: Retreat to the rest room to make notes about these conversations. You will never remember details.

Step 13: Circle back at the end of the evening. The coat check line is usually a bottleneck. Mention you enjoyed talking with them. You have several interests in common. Mention them. You would like to keep in touch. “How do I do that?” Stop talking. The ball is in their court. If they offer contact information, gives yours in exchange.

Step 14: Happy New Year! Reconnect in January. Suggest getting together based on one of those shared interests. Gradually get to know them over time. They should take an interest in what you do. Build a personal relationship.

Step 15: Over time you’ve gotten to know them. You’ve learned about a problem they face or a need that needs addressing. They may have even brought it up and asked your opinion. Reintroduce what you do in the context of being part of the solution.

Is this a long term process? Absolutely. These people are whales. You got access because you made the effort during the holiday season.

— Read How to Order Wine Like a Boss (Without Paying Like One)on ThinkAdvisor.


Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.

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