It’s like living on the International Space Station. During the pandemic, no one is socializing in person with anyone. It’s all done via video conference, social media, text and e-mail. In my opinion, this isn’t a permanent condition. We will see each other face to face, although there’s likely to be more spacing and less hugging. Financial advisors will still need to grow their practices.
One popular strategy today seems to be “Catch and release” on LinkedIn. You accept an invitation to connect. Your new connect makes a pitch for business. You politely decline. The connection vanishes. When done with large numbers of invitations, it’s the social media version of robocalling or having a dedicated cold caller. This is not the way to cultivate HNW relationships.
Actually, it can work very effectively. You just need to be the low cost provider. That’s not the business model for most financial advisors.
Time for a Simpler, Humane Approach
Let’s buy into the idea many people with money want to give back, or at least be an active part of their community. They support local causes. Museums, cultural institutions, social service organizations, religious activities, homeowners associations and school alumni groups are a few examples. The list includes some that don’t immediately come to mind, like animal shelters, parks, libraries and zoos.
Step One: Do research. Build a list of as many local organizations as possible.
Step Two: Apply a four point test to each one.
- Does it attract HNW donors? (Check annual reports)
- Have enough events and gatherings to provide opportunities to meet them? (Monthly is ideal. 200 people in a room is excellent.)
- Have high visibility? (Name recognition.)
- A positive impression? (You don’t want something that’s divisive.)
Step Three: You’ve got a big list. Choose four, each in a different category. You have an interest in the subject, mission or a sincere, open mind willing to learn.
Step Four: Join. Give each group one evening per month. Be yourself. Don’t attempt to run the organization. Don’t push business. It’s not a networking group.
Step Five: Set a goal to meet six new people every time you attend a meeting or event. Say hello to the people you met previously.
What Should I Expect?
Do the math. Four evenings a month. Meet six people each evening. That’s 24 people a month. Over 12 months, that’s 288 people. For an advisor with a clientele seeking to add additional HNW individuals as clients, that’s pretty impressive.
Time for a reality check:
- Subtract a third: They are charming. They aren’t HNW individuals. They can be great friends. They might refer. Why knows?
- Subtract another third. They are HNW individuals. They can’t stand you. What did a financial advisor ever do to them?! Take them off the list too.
- Cherish the remaining third. It’s almost 100 people. They seem to have money. You have interests in common. You get along. You will take an interest in what they do. They should return the favor.
Why Does It Make Sense?
The reasons are simple. People do business with people they like. You aren’t pushing business. This creates the air of success. They are learning about you at their own pace. They are mentally “trying you on for size.” You have about 100 new connections. There should be enough activity to fill the pipeline. You don’t stop. You keep meeting new people.