When I was an advisor, I had those “I have no business” moments. We all do. You feel like a fighter pilot with flame out, hitting the ignition button repeatedly while hoping the jet engine restarts before the plane hits the ground. Where will prospects come from?
OK, so this isn’t a “business by the end of the week” strategy. It’s longer term, but when you have lots of data points, they often arrange themselves in a bell shaped curve. Some prospects become clients almost immediately, others never do.
You’ve heard about the New York Times article making the case the average American know about 600 people. How many people do you know? Have you ever counted them up? Let’s try.
Who Are My 600 People?
As an advisor, you know far more than 600 people. You have a book of clients. Let’s not count them. Let’s assume you are that average American.
1. Your family. You have a spouse. Children. Parents. In-laws. Grandparents. Aunts and uncles. Nieces and nephews.
Tally: Think about the number of people who show up at Thanksgiving or family reunions. Let’s assume they add up to 20 people. Running total: 20
2. You live on a cul-de-sac or in an apartment complex. You probably know at least 10 other sets of residents.
Tally: Ten neighbor couples adds twenty people. Running total: 40
3. People from the old neighborhood. You haven’t lived here forever. Although you haven’t stayed in touch, you know at least 10 people from each place you used to live.
Tally: Let’s assume over 10 years you lived in two other places. Add another 20. Running total: 60
4. Christmas card list. People buy about 1.6 billion holiday cards each year. Regardless if you send them or not, you probably have a list somewhere. Yes, there will be overlap with other lists, but if you send out 100 cards, there are likely plenty of names that are off your radar.
Tally: Let’s assume your 100-name list has 40 names that haven’t showed up on a list yet. Running total: 100
5. Stores and restaurants. You and your spouse buy stuff. Even if you do online banking and never walk into a post office, you get your hair cut, laundry and dry cleaning done. You buy wine and groceries. You buy more wine at a different store. You go to big-box stores often, seeing the same staff. Maybe you go to the office supply store.
Tally: You listed 20 stores and restaurants that get your business. You know at least two people at each one. That’s 40 people. Running total: 140
6. Service providers. You buy car insurance. Someone delivers the mail. Who does your lawn service? Repairs your car? Sells you gasoline? You have a family doctor, a dentist, an accountant and maybe even a lawyer.
Tally: There’s probably another 15 businesses that provide a service and want payment. You are their customer. Assuming you know two people at each, add another 30 names. Running total: 170.
7. Gym buddies. You work out. So do lots of Americans. You have a routine, visiting three or four times a week. You see the same faces. You also know people who don’t come anymore.
Tally: unless you wear your earbuds and don’t interact, you should know about 20 present or past members. The gym has an owner or manager too. Running total: 190.
8. Community involvement. You belong to or support something. It might be the local museum, historical society, symphony, library, fire company or ambulance squad. They have meetings and events. You recognize faces and say hello.
Tally: You support one or two causes. OK, you don’t go often. You still recognize at least 10 faces. Running total: 200.
9. Gala guests. You attend stuff. Either the firm buys a table or you buy tickets on your own. Often these events draw the same crowds. They all seem to know each other. They own businesses or do something for a living. You see them a couple of times a year.
Tally: Attend two or three events a year and you probably see 20 people you know. They have spouses or partners. Running total: 240.
10. People at church. It’s likely you attend religious services. You probably go at the same time and sit in the same place. You know the religious leader. You recognize staff members. You know a few of the lay ministers. You might be one yourself. You sit among a sea of faces and you recognize everyone in the pew ahead and behind, left and right.
Tally: You might not socialize, but you know at least 30 people. Running total: 270.
11. You take the train or bus into work, same time every workday. You stand on the platform and see the same people. You walk together after parking your cars. You make small talk. You know where a few of them work.
Tally: There are 20 familiar faces. Running total: 290.