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Practice Management > Building Your Business

The Drinker's Guide to Prospecting

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Do you enjoy the occasional cocktail after work? Do you know more about single malt scotch than anyone else you know? Is wine your passion? If drinking in moderation is part of your lifestyle, it can also be part of your client acquisition strategy.

(Related: 7 Ways to Stay on Your Prospect’s Radar)

Here are seven how socializing over drinks can introduce you to new people and strengthen client relationships.

1. Find a bar.

Not just any bar. You want lawyers as clients? Find a building with multiple floors of law offices. There’s probably a bar in the base of the building. That’s now your regular spot. Show up like clockwork. Sit at the bar. Watch the game on TV. Don’t talk business, talk about your favorite team. You will gradually become accepted as a regular. People will take an interest in what you do and vice versa.

Outcome: Lawyers have lots of occasions where they need to recommend a financial advisor or insurance agent to a client. You are a likeable person who is now on their radar.

2. Bartender at your private club.

You belong to a city club or private golf club. It has a great bar. The bartender has been around forever. You become friends. They see most of the new faces as new members join.

Outcome: Your bartender can help in two ways. They can point out the lone person at the end of the bar, explaining they are a new member and provide a short profile. At other times, they can engage the new member, pointing you out as an active club member they should get to know.

3. Get people to ask, “What do you do?”

As an insurance professional, you know the walls go up when you approach a stranger socially and start the “What do you do?” conversation. It’s a more relaxed conversation if the roles are reversed and they do the asking. Grab an empty chair at your regular watering hole, sip your drink appreciatively and say: “At last, a moment to relax. This tastes so good! It’s been a heck of a day.” Alternatively you might say “It’s my busiest time of the year.” Stop talking.

Outcome: Nothing might happen. However, the person to your right might say: “If it’s your busiest time of year, what do you do?” You answer briefly, ask them the same question and take a keen interest in their answer.

4. The Midtown bartender.

Midtown Manhattan is home to lots of corporate headquarters. Visiting executives are a common sight. A financial advisor developed a friendship with the bartender at a famous steak house. The bar was always packed. The TV was set to a financial news program. A patron would start a conversation with the bartender about the stock market. After a while, the bartender would say: “If you want to talk about the market, you should really be talking to that guy at the end of the bar…”

Outcome: That guy at the end of the bar was the financial advisor. The bartender was literally sending prospects in his direction! Since many of these people are from out of town, state licensing is an issue. At this point, you are just chatting about the market.

5. Go wine shopping with a client.

Wine is your passion. You have a client who is equally enthusiastic. You invite them to go wine shopping on a Saturday. It doesn’t even have to be for wine! FYI: The Reidel wine glass folks have a warehouse sale a couple of times a year in Edison, NJ.

Outcome: You both have a great time indulging your shared passion. You learn about each other.

6. Organize a wine tasting.

Wine is your passion. (We established that already.) You love learning the back stories of different wines and regions. You put together a wine tasting as a client/prospect event.

Outcome: Your clients are bringing people you haven’t met before. Everyone has a good time. Your client tells your story for you.

7. Invite your client out for a drink.

It doesn’t get much simpler! It’s a perfect day. You both work nearby. There’s a nice sidewalk café near the park. Invite them to join you after work on a Friday afternoon.

Outcome: You get to know each other on a personal level. You identify shared interests. People do business with people they like.

There are many ways you can combine business with pleasure!

— Read 10 Ways to Tactfully Get Your Point Acrosson 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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