Are You the Real Deal or a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

Have you ever encountered a situation at a social event, where someone you don’t know starts chatting with you. You are enjoying the conversation and thinking you like the person, only to find out a few minutes, hours or even days later that they weren’t really interested in you, they were actually prospecting. You know this because when you say you aren’t interested in their service, they turn away from you and you never hear from them again.

There are many versions of this “come-on”.  The online “free” help scenario or the “let us just quote on your project – no obligation” pitch. I’m sure you’ve encountered something similar – everyone has.

One I fell for years ago was at a party where the husband of a friend said, “we are having a wine and cheese event at my company – why don’t you two drop in. It would be fun to have you there”. As it turned out, after one glass of wine and a few pieces of cheese and crackers, we were subjected to a one-hour corporate presentation showcasing their service.

I was more than angry – and the kicker is that I might even have been interested in the “service” his company provided, had he been honest with me.

So, what’s the lesson here?

We know it’s incredibly difficult for financial advisors to prospect for any new business. So we’ve encouraged them to reach out to women because, the future lies with female investors and if approached right, women are quite receptive. But that’s the key, they must be approached the right way which means that to win her business, you need to connect with her on a human level – get to know her, be interested, ask her questions and listen a lot.

But don’t be one of those wolves in sheep’s clothing – Don’t “pounce on her like prey”. In fact, don’t even think of her as a prospect or tell her what you do unless she asks. If the conversation naturally turns to financial matters – let her come to you. You can then share what you do and answer her question honestly. She’ll let you know whether becoming a client is in the cards.

And, under no circumstances, “trick” her into talking to you or attending an event so you can pitch your services. If you do put on an event, make sure she knows up front what it’s about and try to make it relevant for her to show you understand her interests and concerns. There will be plenty of time to talk about the services you offer…but only when it’s clear that she wants to know more.

If you view everyone you meet with genuine interest — not as potential “kill” – they may not all become clients but, in the worst case scenario, you could end up with a few more friends and you will certainly be building your reputation as a person worth knowing.

Remember wolves are hunters best avoided – that’s why you should aspire to be a farmer. But don’t forget that farming takes patience -- however patience leads to the best results. If you take your time, you will attract people who enjoy dealing with you and appreciate your contribution to their well-being.

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