Greensboro: “Can you offer me some suggestions for holiday prospecting?” asked Tina, a new advisor on a recent coaching call. “I have a couple holiday gatherings coming up and I know I need to send some holiday cards, but what else do you suggest?”
This isn’t the first time we’ve been asked this question, so we thought it might be helpful to offer you the some tips we’ve gathered for holiday prospecting. Many advisors go into December thinking that it is hard to catch-up with people this time of year or that you have to spend a lot of money to make an impact. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s been our experience that elite new advisors finish the year strong.
Now is a perfect time to create a social marketing calendar for December. The goal is to sail into 2012 with some serious momentum. A heavy dose of social prospecting, inexpensive gift giving, and schmoozing clients and COIs is the ticket. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you’re planning for the coming weeks:
December is a great time for holiday get-togethers. You’ve got family gatherings, holiday parties, office parties, New Year’s Eve parties, and much more. People make time for family, friends, and good times during this festive season.
The secret is approaching each social event, whether it’s a holiday gathering or social lunch, with strategic intent. Before you go, think about the people you’ll be seeing. What do you know about them? How is their family? What are their hobbies?
We recognize the inherent dichotomy between the social and professional mode. Nothing will ruin a social event faster for an advisor than being in professional mode. After all, no affluent investor is looking for another stockbroker, which is how advisors are perceived when they’re too quick to talk business in social settings.
When you’re at a social function, give the impression that that you are thoroughly enjoying yourself, mingling with the right people, and engaging in personal conversations. People love to talk about their favorite topics; themselves, their families, and their passions.
With well-honed affluent sales skills, you can sell at any type of gathering. Few places are off limits. The secret is focusing on the personal side of things and leaving with a way to follow-up with the people you’ve met. Sometimes this is about business; other times it’s social.
December Action Item: Start planning your social marketing calendar. Who will you connect with? What holiday social events are coming up? What event could you host? Fill your calendar for the month of December.
Many advisors make the mistake of spending too much on holiday gifting. They send a mass gift to all clients. It’s a big expense with minimal impact. We’d suggest sending a hand-signed card with a picture of you and your family to all clients, prospects and COIs. It’s inexpensive, somewhat personal, and shows you were thinking of them.
For your very best contacts (top 4-6 clients and COIs), consider going a step beyond. We’ve seen advisors hand-deliver wreaths, baked goods, or other holiday treats that really have an impact. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to build relationships over the holidays. You can really save money if you or your spouse can bake some gifts or make wreaths. (If you’re not that handy, they’re not that expensive to buy.)
December Action Item: Make a list of your top 4-6 contacts that should get something special. Pick the delivery date (mid-December to see those who travel over the holidays) and make arrangements for the hand-delivery (call clients the day before to let them know you’ll be dropping by their home/office).
Spending Quality Time with Clients and COIs
The holidays are a perfect excuse to get together with clients and centers-of-influence like attorneys and CPAs. You’re request is to simply grab a lunch and catch up before we all take a little time away from the office.
Each interaction with a client or COI is an opportunity to gather intel. Who are they seeing over the holidays? Who did they have over for Thanksgiving dinner? How are their parents doing? You’re not only deepening the relationship, you’re looking for opportunities to be introduced.
December Action Item: Make a round of calls to clients and COIs to set the stage for relationship building in the month of December. Shoot for three lunches, coffees or after-work cocktails per week.
By the time we finished our conversation with Tina, she was already filling her social marketing calendar with holiday lunches with COIs, a party at her home, and three other events she plans to attend. In just a few minutes, she’d really improved her December calendar. You can do the same. It’s amazing what taking an hour to plan can do for your results.
Remember, December can be ideal for social prospecting. Stay busy, approach each interaction with strategic intent, an you’ll go into January with a full head of steam.
For tips on converting social contacts to business contacts, re-visit our article on “Social Prospecting for New Advisors, click here.