Social Prospecting: Does Anyone Else Know You're an Advisor?

Good fences make good neighbors. Many advisors clearly separate their business and personal lives. That’s not you. You’ve bought into social prospecting. You’ve joined the right organizations. You are in the same room with the right people. Because you aren’t pushy, you find yourself in a paradox: How will people know who I am if I don’t tell them?Everyone needs to know Who you are, What you do and Why you are good. The first two are easily accomplished through introductions. The last takes place over time as you drip on them, with anonymous success stories, often related when they ask; “How’s business.”But do you stand out? Are you the first name that comes to mind when someone says: “I need some financial advice?” When I wrote my book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” I interviewed plenty of HNW individuals who were deeply involved in the community. Here’s what they told me: 1. “I knew the wife first. The four of us went to dinner and talked professions.” This art dealer ran her own business. In this case she had clients who became friends and vice versa. She only knew one half of the couple. As the friendship deepened, they decided to bring spouses to the table. Lesson: Your spouse has friends. They might have their own social circle. Try to meet these friends in a social setting. 2. “He belongs to everything and gets all the business.” At other times, this property developer explained “It’s a small word” when it comes to philanthropy and community organizations. People support each other’s causes and events. The advisor described here made himself part of the world of these influential HNW individuals. He turned up at the same meetings and events. Lesson: You need to be involved in more than one local organization. Ideally it draws the movers and shakers. 3. “I saw their picture in the paper.” This retired cruise ship captain (and lottery winner) knew this person was a financial advisor because they saw them pictured, probably attending a charity event. They were familiar with the organization. Now they knew there’s an advisor who supports the causes they consider important. Lesson: You belong to non-profits. You attend events. You know the professional staff. If you dress well, they can probably get you into publicity photos taken during events. These often run in the local paper. 4. “They knew he was interested in investments and asked him to help the organization manage their money.” This was an observation from a retired portfolio manager, but it reinforces a point a NYC advisor shared: “Get close to the money.” You report at meetings. People surmise: “He must be a good. He must be honest, because the organization has him managing their money.” Lesson: Is there an endowment or foundation in the background? Do they have money invested for the long term? Can you compete to manage part of it? 5. “Giving back to the community is a differentiator.” This owner of a flooring and tile company realized there’s lots of choice when it comes to finding a local financial advisor. But how many of these advisors reinvest in the community by volunteering and writing checks to good causes? This business owner did. He recognized a kindred spirit. Lesson: You are involved. You give to worthy causes. Get the word out by tactfully sharing this information. 6. “They come to meetings regularly.” This elected official has seen more than one advisor join an organization, yet not attend meetings or extend themselves. They assume business with come to them. It doesn’t work that way. Lesson: Be a regular at meetings. Ask intelligent questions. This lets people connect a name with a face. Pick a project where you can make a difference. Volunteer for a committee to help get the job done. 7. “They entertain and give money to causes. They get on committees. They seek out your company. They ask you to lunch or invite you to their home.” This professional fundraiser was describing advisors who extend themselves. They make the first move. They proactively get on people’s radar. Often the people they entertain repay the favor, bringing the advisor into their social circles. Lesson: When you meet people, don’t wait for something to happen. Don’t leave it as a “nodding relationship” when you only see each other at events. Have a strategy to cultivate relationships. 8. Younger people have a better opportunity because of their children’s involvement.” This art dealer rebutted an objection advisors often give: “I can’t do social prospecting. We have kids. We are too busy.” The art dealer makes the point parents get to know each other when their children gather at parties or events. Lesson: When you meet other parents at school events or social activities, take an interest in them. Get to know them. 9. “Visibility = Credibility.” This financial planner was explaining your role in the community burnishes your professional reputation. Potential clients see you giving back. They know who you are and what you do. You are a familiar face. When they need help or advice, your name is close to the top of the list. Lesson: Can your involvement be higher profile? The more people see you, the more comfortable they get with you.This is “Straight from the horse’s mouth.” HNW individuals explaining how they know who is a financial advisor in their groups. Do you use any of these strategies? How do people know you are an advisor?Related: Social Prospecting: What’s In It For Me?