When you engage in social prospecting, you mingle with plenty of people in the community. In many cases you spouse or significant other is alongside. They know and understand what you do. Can they help bring business your way? Yes.
Your spouse respects client confidentiality, yet also has a good idea how you’ve helped other people in very specific situations. They also know your ideal client profile.
Example One: It’s the simplest. A corporate spouse was telling me about socializing at business conferences or at the country club. Spouses get together for lunch or drinks while their other half attends meetings or plays golf. Over time, they get to know and like each other, forming relationships. They discuss what they do for a living, but the conversation transitions into what the spouses do. When an interesting profession comes up and there’s either a need or a mediocre provider in place, the spouse of the executive suggests both couples should get together for dinner to discuss investing.
Lesson: Although the spouse isn’t employed as an advisor, they can tell the advisor’s story. Once one spouse has won over the other, it’s time to bring the other players to the table.
(Related: How to Find the ‘Hidden Rich’ in Your Area)
Example Two: A couple lives in Northern California. (Let’s call them Jonathan and Jennifer.) The husband is an advisor. They are involved in the community and attend events. Each circulates around the room. Jennifer gets into conversation with a guy. He asks: “What do you do?” She explains she runs the household and raises the children. She says her husband is a financial advisor. The guy starts talking about his investments. Jennifer patiently listens until he gets to the part when disaster struck. She stops him saying: “You should really talk to my husband Jonathan. He helps people with that kind of problem.”
That’s good enough, but Jennifer does more. She circulates back to Jonathan saying: “Don’t sit down yet. See that guy over there? He’s a doctor and he’s got a problem. Why don’t you sit as his table tonight?” Jonathan walks over, takes an empty chair and introduces himself to the person seated to his left and right. The doctor says: “You’re Jonathan. You’re the financial advisor. Your wife said you might be able to help me with a problem I’ve got.” Can getting an appointment be any easier?
Lesson: People will talk about their investments with someone who understands the business, especially if they know the person isn’t licensed to sell them anything. Spouses know how to spot opportunities.
Example Three: It’s my own. Jane and I are meeting another couple for drinks and dinner at a club near our home. She and the other couple are standing at the bar. I’m not. They are asking: “Where’s Bryce?” Jane says: “I think I know what happened. Bryce was leaving. His phone rang. He will never walk away from a ringing phone. It was probably a client with a problem. He took off his coat, sat down and is helping the client. Who knows when he will get here? Let’s go over to our table and order dinner. He’ll come when he comes.”
Lesson: One of the attributes a prospective client wants in their advisor is someone who will sideline their own personal plans when a client needs help. That’s just been demonstrated.
Example Four: In some social situations spouses are invisible. It’s assumed they either stay at home or have a part-time job. Obviously that’s wrong. I heard a story about a couple where the husband was a local shopkeeper and his wife was a financial advisor. After playing golf, everyone would get together and the husband would be asked: “What do you do?” His reply was: “I run the local bait and tackle shop. But you should really ask my wife that question. She’s the one with the really interesting job!”
Lesson: In a scenario where spouses might be relegated to the sidelines, the spouse can become the center of conversation.
Your spouse doesn’t need to be selling or handing out cards. They aren’t offering advice. They are staying alert for opportunities and making connections when it’s appropriate. They are indirectly telling others why you are a good advisor.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealth Investor” can be found on Amazon.