Some advisors hesitate doing business with friends. They have good reasons. Here’s something that’s always confused me. You are a financial advisor. You are good at your job. Your clients come first. You will put your personal life second if a client has an emergency or needs help. You lose sleep when they lose money. You will give this spectacular level of service to people you don’t know well, but not to your nearest and dearest friends. At least drip on them. 

The Logic Of Dripping
Given enough time, dripping water can make a rough stone smooth. People need to know three things about you. Who you are, what you do and why you are good. They know the who. Remind them about the what and why. You are gently soliciting business. You hope one of two things will happen. 

1. Something you said gets them asking questions.
2. When they have a need, you are top of mind.

How To Drip
Dripping isn’t about being obnoxious. It’s like fly fishing. You cast. Hope a fish bites. If not, you bring the line back in.

1. Be in front of them. Sometimes, in order to get someone as a client, you need to become their client.

a. Your favorite restaurant. Become a regular. Visit at least monthly. Always seek out the owner and say hello. Send them business. When a friend comes to town and says they want the best seafood, send them to your seafood place. Tell the owner ahead of time. You said “They have the best crab cakes in town.”

b. Seminars or recognition events. Monday is the quietest night for the restaurant industry. Some aren’t open. If you are planning an event with a meal, do it at their restaurant on a Monday. The owner will be thrilled. He will want to annuitize this stream of income...

2. Requesting specific referrals. You ask for referrals often. “Who else can I help?” Their mind goes blank. This logic has been around forever: The more specific, the better.” You might say: “Who do you know that’s retiring in the next six months?” Maybe “Who do you know that’s also got questions about why the market is doing what it’s doing?”

3. Answering “How’s business?” (1) We have our standard answer. “It’s great.” Why? No one wants to hear you complain. Are they really interested? Try this instead: When they say “How’s business” hear it as “How have you helped someone recently?” You tell a short, anonymous story about how you made a difference in someone’s life. From my experience, I once had a longtime client who couldn’t stand her job. I let her know with a little shifting around in her portfolio, she could quit tomorrow if she wanted. She actually waited two weeks. People see the difference you made for someone. They wonder if you could do the same for them or someone they know.

4. Answering “How’s business?” (2) The problem with the previous example is you don’t have success stories like that every day. You can’t make stories up, so you need another approach. Try hearing “How have you stopped someone making a mistake with their money?” You likely do that often. It might be the 40-year old who wanted to do a big retirement plan withdrawal without knowing the tax consequences. You explained and offered them an alternative way to get the money they needed. Friends think of friends about to make the same mistake. Introducing them to you is doing another friend a favor.

Dripping can be easy. These are only a few ways to work it into your social routine.

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 can be found on Amazon.