Would you like to grow your business without spending a lot of money and have fun at the same time? Doing so may be easier than you think. A recent study published in Investment News highlighted that the majority of affluent investors – those with more than $500,000 in investible assets – choose advisors based solely on personal introductions from friends, family members, business associates, or other professionals. That same study showed that only 6% of that same group indicated they would be influenced by public seminars. Sadly, many advisors spend all their time chasing the 6%, when they could be attracting more clients with less energy and expense. How? By hosting intimate social events.
Intimate events are different from traditional client events. Traditional client events include wine tastings, golf tournaments, or holiday parties where you invite large groups of clients and their guests to join you in an activity. While this should definitely have a place in your marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the only type of event you host. Intimate social events are designed to give you quality personal time with your clients and their friends. When you organize this type of activity, no fancy invitation and no extensive planning are needed. Here’s what you have to do:
1) Select an activity you personally enjoy and that your clients will enjoy.
2) Call a few clients and invite them to join you in that activity.
In order to make this successful as a marketing strategy and not just as a social pastime, there are some additional factors to consider. For one, be sure to select activities that are limited to 10 or 15 people. You don’t want these events to become too large. You also want them to have an air of exclusivity so you can say something like: “I’m taking a few friends on a small fishing trip next Saturday and I’ve got space for three. I would love it if you could come!” This will show your client that they are important to you because you chose them over someone else.
Another important factor involves how you ask them to bring people along without making them feel like you’re only interested in meeting their friends. This can be done by giving them a reason to invite someone. Here are some examples: “I’m going to play golf next Friday afternoon with a friend and we need two people to round out our foursome. Would you like to bring someone and come along?” “I’m having a small cooking class at my home for about 15 people. I’ve got space for five more, and I would love it if you and a few of your friends could join us. Are you interested?” More than anything else, intimate social events are an exercise in relationship building. If you make your clients feel pressured to bring a guest you won’t be as effective. In the end, you want them to come along because the event sounds like it will be fun, and because they want to share a good time with their friends.
At this point, you may be wondering how you’re going to get business out of this. Frankly, that can’t be your sole motivation. You will grow your business as a byproduct of these activities, but if you go into this with the mindset that you’re only out to get clients, you’ll turn people off. If you select activities you are truly passionate about, and you allow your personality to shine through, people will naturally be attracted to you.
When you are the host, guests will take an interest in you, and at some point, ask you about your business. When this happens, be careful not to bombard them with too much information. Remember, this is a social event. Not to say you shouldn’t be prepared for the question, but you’re better off keeping it short and sweet. In response to the inquiry, “What do you do?” you could say something like: “I develop custom money management strategies to help people protect their wealth.” Unless you want to end the conversation quickly, don’t say something boring like, “I’m a financial advisor.” The key is to say something intriguing that will prompt them to ask more questions.
Once the conversation turns to business, don’t let it go too far. The best thing you can do is remind them you are there to have fun, and if they would like to talk more, you would be happy to do so at another time. Before you part ways, be sure to get a phone number so you can follow up. Another option is to say something like, “I’ve really enjoyed talking with you about this, but obviously now isn’t the best time. How about if I mail you some information on what I do? Let’s make sure we exchange information before you leave.”
Finally, you must follow up on any interest you generate. You can do this by phone, mail, or e-mail, but since you initially met this person in a social setting, it will probably work well to invite them for lunch instead of a formal meeting at your office. You can simply call them and say, “I really enjoyed talking with you at the basketball game last night. Would you like to grab lunch this week and we can finish our conversation?” It’s really that simple!
None of the events we’ve mentioned in this article are expensive to host. In fact, they’re downright cheap when compared with the cost of mailing seminar invitations. And whether you have 50 clients or 500, intimate social events can be planned quickly and easily. Best of all, they’re fun! When you center them on things you’re interested in, you get to write off the expense of doing what you enjoy, meet great people, and grow your business at the same time. What could be better than that?