Sidney C. Walker
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December 2013

Holiday Prospecting...
by Sidney C. Walker


The Holiday Season is upon us. I usually tell my coaching clients to get out and meet as many people as they can this time of year (assuming you want new clients). Go to as many parties and Holiday events as you can. Tell your friends you want to go to parties with them.

Once you get to a social event, your job is to meet as many people as you can and get their names along with some idea of how to contact them. Exchanging business cards is easy. When people don't have a business card, go for an email address. You can say you want to send them an article or a name of a potential client or information about something that came out of your conversation. When you send your email, send all your contact info and then ask for theirs as well so you can put them in your rolodex. Then wait a week or two before you call them to see if they would like to get together again. Your normal telephone pitch will do. I like a teaching approach or sharing what smart people are doing with their conservative money.

How do you quickly connect with people? You may only have a few minutes. What you don't do is talk about yourself. Save that for later. Take a sincere interest in them. Ask them as many questions as you can that are appropriate to the setting. People are starving for attention. If you ask all the questions and take a sincere interest in them, they will consider you a brilliant conversationalist and will want to talk with you again. The most skilled networkers focus the conversation on the other person and try to find a way to help them.

Here is my favorite quote on the subject from Dale Carnegie: "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

I am not saying you keep what you do a secret, although some of the best networkers do. For sure keep it simple and follow whatever you say with a question that gets them talking about themselves. You can say, "I am a financial advisor. I help people maximize what they do with their conservative money. Tell me more about what you do. I am really interested in..." In my experience, if you give people an opportunity to talk about themselves or what they do, I have never had anyone say, "Before I answer your questions about me, I would like to know more about you."

I would like to leave you with a favorite fable that further emphasizes our theme. Here's how it goes...

A painfully shy man fell in love with a young woman. He sensed that she felt the same way, but he couldn't find the courage to ask her out.

Finally he decided he would mail her a love letter every day for one year, and then ask her for a date.

Faithfully, he followed his plan, and at year's end he was finally courageous enough to call her and ask her out on a date only to discover she'd married the mail man.

MORAL: You can send all the cards, calendars, letters, and emails you want. You can have all the fancy brochures, websites, business cards, letterhead, etc.; but there's nothing like meeting potential clients face to face.

If you're a relationship-oriented financial advisor and you like to build relationships with people, being face to face is your greatest strength! It is also a lot of fun and you get lots of energy from this kind of activity. Most important, it actually works better if you don't talk about yourself! At least not in the beginning.

Enjoy the Holidays,

(424) 228-5575 (Los Angeles, California)



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