Working a local diner

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Jan 19, 2010 4:11 pm

There's a small diner near my office (in the northeast) that is loaded with people with cash, that are 60+.  The county is the wealthiest in the state and a couple of the towns around it are always in the top 10 or 20 wealthiest in the country.


 
Anyway, I go there a couple of times a week with my kids at lunch and am getting to casually know some of the people, the manager and the owner of the place.  Admittedly it's usually as a result of them talking to my kids or vice versa.  But, I'm trying to figure out the best way to use it to pull in clients.
 
Maybe I should just keep going and let things unfold naturally, to not scare people off, but that might just yield a few friends and zero clients. 
 
I don't want to do something like ask the owner if he'll let me have a seminar and invite the patrons, as they probably ban me from the place.  There's a pretty famous person that frequents the place and the locals are protective of him, asking questions about when he comes is always is greeted with skepticism and flags an outsider.
Jan 19, 2010 4:31 pm

One idea could be to ask the owner if he can reserve a table for you every Tuesday/Thursday/Whatever morning for you and 5 or 6 of your clients.  They don't have to be clients, they can be COI's or friends, but the owner doesn't have to know that.  If he sees you in there with them once or twice he may ask you what you do and then you can give him the 30 second commercial.  I wouldn't ask him to sit down with you right then or there, but after a few times bringing in business to him you may wanna drop a hint that he too can get the same financial value that you are giving to your "clients" that you eat with every Tuesday morning.  Of course I wouldn't "drop the hint" to him until he has asked asked you what you do or what your weekly morning breakfast meetings are for.

 
Just an idea.
Jan 19, 2010 4:34 pm
Boone:

  There's a pretty famous person that frequents the place and the locals are protective of him...

 
Who is it?????  C'mon, you can tell us!!
Jan 19, 2010 4:38 pm

It's Prince, isn't it?!

Jan 19, 2010 5:03 pm

Boone, you in Montgomery or Chester County?

 
Either way, play this one cool.  I would just make it your regular "hang out".  But be careful about bringing in the kids TOO often.  There is a big difference between seeing someone in public in their professional way, versus seeing someone trying to corale a couple of rugrats all the time.
 
I would not try to turn it into a "pickup" joint.  You need to be seen for a while before anyone really cares who you are.  Despite some of the goofy stories we hear at our Jones training, every moment of every day does not need to be a prospecting moment.  Some places are meant for passive prospecting, as in, don't be trying to sell people!  Leave the proactive selling for networking events, or something otherwise more suitable for proactive selling.  Now, having some clients or friends in for lunch and a talk is a little different.  But I would not try to make a point of "prospecting" anyone cold.
 
Not sure if I'm making sense to you, but there is active and passive marketing and selling.  I have a higher end restaurant next to my office.  I go there at least once a week.  I know everyone, inlcuding the owner.  I got to know them, held some dinners there, but NEVER even MENTIONED anything about helping them.  But, wouldn't you know it, one day the manager starts asking me more about what I do, and mentions that they have no retirement plan, etc.  So I meet with owner, her CPA, etc.  Blah, blah.  They still haven't done anything, but I am at the top of the list.  And they know what I do, and they know that I spend a LOT of money at their restaurant.  So now everyone in the place knows me, I know some of the regulars, and I usually come in with people in suits (I only meet with wholesalers at lunch ).  So it has turned into a few little things, but more than that,  I have started making some great connections.  Again, some types of prospecting are passive, and some are active.   
Jan 19, 2010 5:30 pm
B24:

Boone, you in Montgomery or Chester County?

 
 
I used to live in Chester County, up until '98.  Assuming you mean Pennsylvania.  Went back last month to go catch an Eagles game.  Stayed with an old buddy in Malvern.  Drove through Downingtown, Exton, King of Prussia...that place has BOOOMED in the last decade.  Can't imagine the amount of wealth that has poured into that area.
Jan 19, 2010 7:57 pm

What you guys say makes total sense.  I appreciate all of the feedback.

 
Good call, I live in Chester County.  The famous person isn't famous because he's an actor, musican or whatever.  He's rich and famous for something else.  I'm not trying to be a goof about it, but if I give you the name it will be a dead giveaway and the place will be crawling with advisors that will be stealing my potential clients.....lol
 
 
Jan 19, 2010 8:12 pm

Lol, bet I can guess.  He's directed a series of really crappy movies over the last several years?

Jan 20, 2010 10:13 pm

yep.  now keep quiet!....lol

Jan 24, 2010 5:18 pm

This is a bit diffrent but might work. When I first got in the business I went to 4 resturants near my office. The places I went. I worked out a deal with each of the owners to run a monthly "free lunch" give away.. (Not the Amariprise way).. I would pay the resturant $20 per month. People would put their biz cards in to enter. Once a month we would pull a card from the bowl, they would right the name down.. I would call them to let them know they won the lunch. (Thats it..).. I would take all the cards then from the bowl and scan them through my business card scanner to my database.  I used a doller letter follow up with the leads.. sending them $1 in the mail telling them i would call them in a week to see what  they had done with it. That part might be a bit hokey for your target.  Best of luck.

Jan 24, 2010 5:49 pm

You'd send cash to their work address?  Was there ever an answer other than "I got some Junior Mints out of my vending machine?"

Jan 25, 2010 2:57 am

Boone you are not going to get M Night Shamay whatervers money.

Jan 25, 2010 11:17 am
Pokerguy:

This is a bit diffrent but might work. When I first got in the business I went to 4 resturants near my office. The places I went. I worked out a deal with each of the owners to run a monthly "free lunch" give away.. (Not the Amariprise way).. I would pay the resturant $20 per month. People would put their biz cards in to enter. Once a month we would pull a card from the bowl, they would right the name down.. I would call them to let them know they won the lunch. (Thats it..).. I would take all the cards then from the bowl and scan them through my business card scanner to my database.  I used a doller letter follow up with the leads.. sending them $1 in the mail telling them i would call them in a week to see what  they had done with it. That part might be a bit hokey for your target.  Best of luck.

 
2 questions. What is the Ameriprise way? I have seen there fishbowls before... whats the difference between there's and yours? Also how in the world did you get an ok from compliance to send dollar bills to prospects? I knew a guy that used to hot glue gun a nickel to his business card but he had to quickly do away with all that.
Jan 25, 2010 12:06 pm
mlgone:
Wet_Blanket:

It's Prince, isn't it?!

 
Correction..............The Performer Formally known as Prince
 
It's The Artist....
 
 
...and there goes my last Man Card.
Jan 25, 2010 1:29 pm
Wet_Blanket:
mlgone:
Wet_Blanket:

It's Prince, isn't it?!

 
Correction..............The Performer Formally known as Prince
 
It's The Artist....
 
 
...and there goes my last Man Card.



Wait... we get more than one!?

Jan 25, 2010 2:38 pm
fa09:

... Also how in the world did you get an ok from compliance to send dollar bills to prospects? .

I thought you were a Jones guy. At Jones, we've actually got an envelope specifically for sending out $1 bills to clients.
 
Really.
Jan 25, 2010 6:48 pm

Why not just ask the owner of the restaurant to do seminars? Whats so bad about it?

Ameriprise lunch and learns did bring in clients. It was not a bad gig.

You setup a fishbowl/whatever at the restaurant, once a week, or whenever you come by and pick up business cards. Call the person, invite them and 8 of their coworkers out to lunch. You meet them, introduce yourself, 5 mins speech between when they order their food and it comes, when the food comes, you collect your surveys/feedback sheets, pick up the bill, and on your way.

When you get back to the office, give each a call to thank them for coming out to lunch.

Setup with restaurants to have a fixed price under $10 a head, and you are good to go.

I got quite a few clients and referals at AMP doing lnl.