tailgating (Photo: Shutterstock)

You’re either into football or you are not. Our lunch guests this Sunday were football fans. They talked with great enthusiasm about the elaborate tailgating parties taking place before games.  They remarked some people show up for tailgating and never enter the stadium. Others have such a good time partying, they have to almost be carried to their seats!

Jane and I are “Concert in the Park” fans. It’s one big picnic. Same theme, no vehicles. These venues provide opportunities for financial advisors this summer.

4 Ways Tailgating Helps Make the Right Connections

If it’s an outdoor symphony orchestra concert or the big game, people are setting out food, seating and drinks. It’s like having your own pop-up restaurant!

1. You invite friends and clients. Let’s assume these friends are also prospects. You’ve set up your food arrangements. At the concert in the park, Jane and I have collapsible tables that when assembled, seat 10. The plates, cutlery and stemware is all plastic. Very elegant. It’s not over the top because the catered groups nearby put anyone to shame.

What happens: Your friends and clients get a great meal. They see people they know and wander off to say hello. People visit you.

Outcome: They had a great time. Your guest think: “Wow!  This guy knows how to throw a party! He knows some heavy hitters, too.

2. You have extra seats. Your table is filled, but you have some extra seats, glasses and plates hidden away. As people you know wander by, you wave them over and pour them a drink. They mingle. You discover some people didn’t bring food. You invite them to join you. The extra chairs come out, everyone scrunches together.

What happens: During the wandering/socializing phase, you are entertaining lots of friends with free drinks. You did your good deed for the day fitting in that extra couple.

Outcome: Your friends and clients meet really interesting people. They think you are incredibly gracious inviting that other couple to join your table.

3. You seek out the rich and famous. You didn’t organize your own tailgating party. You didn’t invite guests. You know plenty of movers and shakers from the Chamber. You walk through the parking lot or concert field, stopping by and saying hello to people you know. Coincidentally, they are those movers and shakers. They ask you to stop for a drink. It would be rude to refuse.

What happens: You meet people in a relaxed social situation. You make a positive impression because you are well dressed in casual clothing. You are introduced to their guests. If you don’t see anyone you know, you seek out the tents set up by realtors and other local businesses.

Outcome: You’ve made connections.

4. Bring a few extra bottles of wine. You are busy entertaining your guests. Suddenly you see the group across from you has no wine!  They didn’t know the “no alcohol” rules was “relaxed” for this one day!

What happens: You grab an extra bottle, walk over and offer it to them gratis. Perhaps they offer some of their food in return.

Outcome: You’ve made more new connections. Maybe they bring their chairs over and sit with your group. Your guests think you are not only gracious, but also well prepared.

Outdoor events like tailgate parties and concerts in the park are an inexpensive way to entertain clients and prospects. They are also a great place to make connections.

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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.