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Life Health > Running Your Business > Prospecting

7 Ways to Entertain Prospects

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What You Need to Know

  • Affluent people may already belong to a golf club.
  • They might not belong to your club.
  • Even when they can easily afford to join your club, they might enjoy playing there for free.

Wealthy people value their privacy. They retreat to places where strangers won’t be hitting them up for business. The Chamber of Commerce has always been a giant networking group. Prospecting is expected. The country club is not a giant networking group. When the real estate agents wearing matching jackets arrive, the prospects scatter. But how can you entertain prospects and get them interested?

This ties into another characteristic of wealthy people: They enjoy doing certain things. If they can do them without paying out of their own pocket, you can get their attention. Let’s look at a few examples.

1. Golf at Your Country Club

When an insurance broker set up shop in a new town, he was advised to do two things: Buy a new Cadillac and join the most exclusive (and expensive) country club.

The broker would play golf a few times a week. He would invite fellow Chamber members or his accountant and a couple of their clients.

The only requirement was that the guests must be business owners. After playing a round, he would buy lunch.

During the meal he would ask, “Can I call next week and set up an appointment? I have some ideas I would like to share. I think I can save you some money.”

Why it works: The guests might belong to a private club but not the best club. They get to play the best course. They get lunch, too. This has created an informal obligation to the host. When the host asks for an appointment, that’s a difficult request to refuse.

2. Tickets to a Sporting Event

When I was an advisor, the firm would have tickets available for the U.S. Open. Your firm might have a skybox at the stadium. This is an opportunity to invite a couple of prospects to enjoy the game with you. You will need to understand any compliance rules regarding business entertaining.

Why it works: Serious sports fans want to see every game their team plays. Watching from great seats or a skybox has appeal.

3. The Museum Exhibition Opening

Many firms sponsor shows at their town museum. Some cities have blockbuster exhibitions that make the news. Museums have both business and individual memberships. These include guest passes. Invite a prospect or two.

Why it works: There’s an exclusivity to opening night. The press takes pictures. They are the first in their social group to see the show. This confers bragging rights.

4. The Reception or Seminar at a Top Restaurant

Your office might do the organizing.

You get to be a participant. The city has some hot restaurants or spectacular hotels. Your firm books a speaker that’s a celebrity author or an economist with a household name. Maybe drinks and dinner are served. As an agent in the office, you are encouraged to bring a guest or two.

Why it works: You gain the prestige of the location. Your prospect is getting to see someone famous, perhaps with a photo opportunity. The prospect will learn something, too.

5. The Seminar on a Timely Topic

Taxes are in the news. What will happen in Washington? How might tax law changes affect your clients and prospects? They want answers. You invite them as your guests, sitting alongside them.

Why it works: The topic meets two key seminar criteria: It features information they need to know. If they called their accountant to learn the story, they might be charged for the accountant’s time. Here they are getting information for free.

6. The Client/Prospect Dinner

One of your strategic marketing partners (wholesaler) makes an offer. Invite a couple of clients or prospects to dinner at a fancy restaurant. The wholesaler comes along. It’s all low-key; everyone gets to know one another. The agent and wholesaler split the cost. Business isn’t discussed except in general “state of the market/interest rates” terms.

Why it works: It’s a free meal at a place the guests would usually patronize. The client inviting the guest has informally presold them on you. Talk around the table tells your story. You follow up afterward.

7. The New Restaurant

You know this prospect favors this type of cuisine. Maybe they are a gourmet, trying every new restaurant. You get lunch reservations in advance for this hot new place. Close to the date, you invite them.

Why it works: They want to go but can’t get a table on short notice. They are impressed you got one, although you planned weeks in advance.

People may understand an invitation comes with strings attached, but you are tactful and they are willing to listen. You have appealed to an interest of theirs that gets their attention.


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