Las Vegas: "I'm not really sure where else to focus my prospecting efforts," John said to one of our coaches, Bill, on his first coaching call. "I've done a great job serving my clients, and I ask for introductions and hold some terrific intimate client events, but I feel like I could do so much more to pump up my pipeline. I just don't seem to be meeting enough people. What else can I do to rub shoulders with the affluent?"
What John was essentially asking is: Where is the money, and how can I move to it? Let me briefly set the stage.
After a bit of probing, Bill was able to uncover the following information:
- John had been in the business for four years, and had done fairly well.
- John bought a book. He paid for the bottom third of a veteran advisor's book—The bottom third of clients who the advisor no longer wanted to serve.
- He had developed a relationship with a large wealth- management team, and was being fed prospects that fell below their minimum of $250,000 in assets.
- John was holding public seminars, but wasn't getting results.
- Of late, John's activity levels had dropped significantly, and he was out of ideas. Referrals from the team were coming to him less frequently, and he had explored his current clients' potential as centers of influence, but there wasn't much there. (This, in reality, is why these clients were referred or sold to him in the first place—they were small with little potential or influence)
While John was good with a prospect, once he got face-to-face with the individual, his efforts to uncover new prospects were lacking...to say the least.
Our research and experience has uncovered numerous ways to get face-to-face with the affluent. However, one activity consistently rises to the top: arranging personal introductions. What John still needed to learn (and my associate let him know this) is that these personal introduction techniques can, and should be, utilized with not only your top clients, but with anyone you know, as well as anyone your friends, family or colleagues know. That's right -- your friends, family and colleagues can be great "centers of influence." It's all about strategically mapping out their relationships, and working to get face-to-face with the potential clients you uncover.
Let me walk you through the same exercise we walked John through. This drill is sure to increase the number of affluent opportunities you uncover. It's simply called, "Who can you know?"
Step 1: Identify people you know who have connections to the affluent in your community.
Start with your family members: your wife or husband, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and in-laws. Then move on to your friends and acquaintances: your close friends, old college friends, neighbors, your children's friends' parents, your golfing or tennis buddies, anyone you have met through common activities or interests. Finally, consider your colleagues and staff.
I know what you're thinking: My colleagues are fellow FAs, and their friends and family are off-limits. Well, that's probably true, but what about your support staff? Your financial planner or practice manager? The CPA or attorney you refer business to? And don't forget about former colleagues if you've previously worked in a different industry.
Opportunity is everywhere if you know how to look for it! An advisor I personally coached was able to uncover a $50-million prospect through his practice manager. This individual was a friend of the practice manager's family, and to date has already brought $10 million to the advisor. It all happened because the advisor worked through these three steps:
Step 2: Identify and track your friends' and family's centers of influence
As you compile your list of friends, family and colleagues, write down their names in a notebook--or use the template provided below--and ask yourself the following three questions about each:
- 1.) Who do they know and associate with? Who are their friends, family and colleagues?
- 2.) What are their favorite activities, hobbies and passions, and with whom do they engage in those activities?
- 3.) What civic, charitable and social groups do they belong to, and who else is a member of these groups?
Beneath the names of the family members you've listed, write down the additional names you uncover using the questions above.
Step 3: Now it's time to act! Set weekly targets for the number of new introductions you will arrange.
Activity drives the dream! Uncovering the names of people you want to target is a good start, but a "rainmaker" will always close the loop and get face-to-face. Set a specific action plan to arrange one personal introduction from the list every day.
If you perform this exercise properly, you will come up with dozens of new names that you can place into your pipeline. And, because they will all come from a friend, family member or colleague, you can ask for a personal introduction to meet them all. If you can't come up with a long list of names, you've got your work cut out for you. You need to talk to your friends, family members and colleagues, and ask them probing questions (as you would do with a client or prospect) so you can uncover valuable intelligence and accomplish the second step above.
The last time I checked, John had already uncovered over 40 new names, and generated some serious affluent opportunities performing this exercise. John was just hitting stride with step three, and has already scheduled over a dozen face-to-face meetings. It's not about who you know, it's about who can you know!
If you would like to enroll in our FREE Rainmaker Teleconference or download a FREE copy of our Who Can You Know Worksheet, please visit our FREE offer page.
Once again, we want to thank all of you who have emailed comments and questions to us. We will continue to do our best to answer each one. If you have any topic suggestions or special requests, please contact Rich Santos, publisher of Registered Rep. and Trust & Estates magazines, at [email protected].