Are you a top down or bottom up person? It makes sense to determine the organizations and events that attract HNW individuals, get involved and meet people socially. When business comes up in conversation, you are pretty confident they have the assets to quality as a client. Bottom up prospecting means finding people who will talk with you, then determining if they qualify. Top down might take longer, but can be more rewarding. More fun, too.
Five Do’s For HNW Networking
The strategy is straightforward. Here’s what you should be doing:
- Do - Choose four organizations likely to attract HNW individuals. These are museums, cultural organizations, historical societies, zoos, the SPCA, the Chamber and the country club. Most have relatively low financial barriers to entry. Pay the dues and you are in. Country clubs are a world of their own.
- Do - Give each organization one evening a month. The ideal group puts 100-200 people into a room every month. It might be a meeting, exhibition or a fundraiser. That’s your evening activity. Arrive when the doors open, stay at least a couple of hours.
- Do - Set a goal to meet six new people each evening. This isn’t easy. You are prospecting on your feet. You lead with innocent social conversation, like “What’s your connection to the organization?” “Where do you live” and What do you do” are standard icebreakers.
- Do - Say hello to people you met previously. Different people attend on different nights. You will see familiar faces. Walk over and chat. Make them feel special. Learn what’s happened in their lives since the last time your paths crossed. You are seeking to identify interests in common.
- Do - Attend events. These organizations are usually nonprofits. In addition to having regular meetings, they hold galas, Golf outings, BBQs, house tours and other events where you buy a ticket to attend. You want to become a familiar face. Attend as many as you can.
Five Don’ts for HNW Networking
It’s easy to make mistakes or not use your time to your best advantage. This is made more difficult because many of the “Don’ts” are human nature.
- Don’t – Pick four organizations in the same category. You like museums, so you picked four of them. That’s a bad move because you are not alone. You will tend to see the same faces from museum to museum. It reduces the pool of people you have the potential of meeting.
- Don’t – Utilize the hit and run strategy. It’s been a busy day. You’ve committed to attending the meeting, so you show up. You arrive late. You leave shortly afterwards. If anyone asks you explain are very busy and don’t have time for this sort of thing. You might feel your brief appearance communicates you are important and in demand. Wrong. People just assume you are rude.
- Don’t – Just talk with your friends. The words “open bar” and “free food” can be compelling. It’s tempting to stand by one or the other all evening. You would like to meet people, but know it’s impolite to talk with your mouth full. You see friends from other firms at the event. Some of your gym buddies too. You spend the hours catching up. You aren’t meeting any new people, which was the point of coming to the event.
- Don’t – Ignore people you met previously because there’s no business potential. You will meet people who are charming, but don’t have significant assets. Maybe they do, but their advisor is within their family. You pass them by without slowing down. They smile and wave, but you ignore them. This creates bad feelings.
- Don’t – Only attend the free events. One of the reasons you joined is to support the mission of the organization. Since the paid events are fundraisers, it sends the wrong message if you only show up when you don’t have to pay. The friends you have made will likely attend the gala. If you attend, you might sit together.
So what’s the goal? In addition to getting involved in the community, raising your visibility and doing good, you have a business objective. If you attend four events a month and meet six people each night, you’ve met 24 people each month or 288 during the year. Let’s assume a third don’t have significant assets and another third do, but can’t stand you. That leaves the final third, 96 people with assets who share common interests with you. Once they get to know you, isn’t it likely some of them will become clients.
One final thought: That’s what I wrote my book about. See below.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.