By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli
As I’m sure that you’re well aware, social gatherings during the holiday season are a natural environment for networking, mingling, and being seen. They present a unique opportunity for strategic prospecting – the opposite of “going through the motions.”
However, there are a number of nuances that accompany the holiday season with regard to prospecting at social events.
First and foremost, unlike a fundraiser or the prototypical networking event, social gatherings during the holidays are essentially about merrymaking – having fun. Alcohol flows freely, people tend to be loose and chatty, and they aren’t inclined to make major decisions. That said, a mini close delivered strategically for a later get-together is ideal. Mini-closing isn’t a request to review their investments; it’s simply a request for a professional meet and greet over coffee or lunch.
So, consider the following tips to help you take full advantage of your prospecting opportunities at seasonal gatherings during this holiday season.
Plan your holiday calendar
You need to know the events your top clients are planning to host or attend. Simple questions like, “What do you have planned for the holidays?” go a long way. Then make certain you’re attending these functions if at all possible.
As you prep for each event, strategic prospecting requires that you make certain that in addition to your clients, you know who else will be attending and to whom you’d like to be introduced.
Increase your volume
You want to become a holiday socialite. That requires getting out there when you’d rather be home. By simply attending more holiday socials than you have in the past, you’re going to find more opportunities. Set a goal for the number of personal introductions you’re going to get and project the level of assets entering into your pipeline.
It’s also important to have your verbiage clear and concise, which includes being able to articulate your differentiators.
Dress for success
One of the top three criteria today’s affluent use to gauge someone’s professionalism is their appearance – how they dress. Most of us understand the importance of not under-dressing (looking sloppy or too casual). We must also be mindful of over-dressing. If you’re the only one in suit and tie, people may not know your line of work, but will know you’re selling something.
Work the crowd
View yourself as a local politician. Mingle, meet new people, and make new friends. These don’t equate to immediate new business, but you’re building relationships that may bear fruit in the months and years to come.
Be careful with alcohol
If you consider yourself comfortable with alcohol, think in terms of giving yourself a two-drink maximum. It’s important to remember that even though everyone else is having fun, in addition to enjoying yourself, you are strategically prospecting. Which means you have a game plan for the evening, pipeline goals for the holiday season. You are working, albeit undercover.
Approaching the holiday season with strategic intent, a game plan, that includes goals is what sets an elite advisor apart from the general population of financial advisors. By the way, where did these Tips for Prospecting at Seasonal Gatherings originate? Elite advisors!
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