If you’re like most financial advisors, you probably have dozens, perhaps hundreds of connections – many of whom have a lot of money to invest. And most are centers of influence that you do not want to offend.
Just imagine for a moment you are at a church gathering.
You turn to one of the members, who happens to own a very successful small business, and say, “Hey Fred, what’s your liquid net worth, excluding the value of your home and other properties?”
That is a social blunder of the first order. Please don’t do this. Ever.
But there is a socially-acceptable way to prospect your connections without ever breaking that social taboo by soliciting their business.
And it is all about how you position yourself.
You want to claim that emotional real estate in their mind by sending them material that makes them feel good. You can do this via email, or through the postal service. You NEVER solicit or pitch. You keep these messages so low-key, that we like to call them “no key.”
Keep doing this consistently and when they experience a pain point such as a financial change of life, they will call you.
Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes you get immediate results, as happened to Andy who works in a community bank in Hanover, PA. Andy started this process with 35 connections on his list.
And from September, when he started to February when he reported in, this is what happened:
“I was out for BGM training in September last year, and have been using the system since then. In short, it’s awesome. I sent out the intro letter for the campaign two weeks ago and wanted to tell you what happened.
“First, I sent a letter to a gentleman who was the president of the local hospital for 30 years, and retired last year. He called me the day he got the letter, said he didn’t know exactly what I did (until he got the letter), and that he wanted to meet to talk about his personal investment portfolio…unbelievable!
“Secondly, my wife was out with ‘the mom’s group’ on Friday and one of the ladies mentioned she received the letter (her husband is the DA). Apparently, she went on and on about how good it was and that they want to meet with me. Further, another client was there and she chimed in to the whole group on how she has been a long-time client, and was very happy with my service.
“You can’t buy publicity like that as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know…and to say thank you…”
Since it is considered bad manners to solicit people you know, let’s just not do it. That means never or rarely asking for anything. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ask to add them to your mailing list. It’s as simple as turning to Fred on the pew, and saying “Hey Fred, I keep a private mailing list. I don’t ever solicit my friends. I do have some information you would likely find extremely valuable and enjoyable. If you don’t like what I sent, you can always get off. May I add you to this mailing list?”
More often than not, they will agree.
Several times a year, you send out what we call a “feel good” letter. This is a good, old-fashioned letter sent in the mail, printed on your stationary, and stamped with a gorgeous, oversized commemorative stamp.
These are letters based on the values we all share. We recommend you minimally send them out for Memorial Day, July 4, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
You remain active in your social circles. And once a year, you call the connections on this mailing list and ask them if they would like to continue receiving your letters. Occasionally, you can and should invite one or two of them to attend an event with clients. These events should all be social events. This is part of the way “connections” become prospects and then clients.
But remember this: Don’t prospect your connections. Let them come to you.
By following this process, you could generate a lot of new business.