You can buy lists and contact by mail, phone or e-mail, but you want to meet business owners face to face. Here are some conventional (and unconventional) ways to make this happen.
You are a benefits professional or an insurance professional also helping business clients in the benefits space. You believe that every business with employees needs a strong benefits plan. You can buy lists and contact by mail, phone or e-mail, but you want to meet business owners face to face. What are some conventional (and unconventional) ways you can make this happen. Since you’re experienced and “This isn’t your first rodeo,” we’ll skip the “Join the Room” and ask for referrals, digging deeper instead.
- Conventional: Service organizations: Most communities have chapters of service clubs such as Rotary in their area. Rotary International has 46,000 clubs worldwide. Membership is by invitation and members are often business owners and professionals. You join with the goal of being of service in line with their goals, yet you have the opportunity to get to know many local business owners on a personal basis.
- Unconventional: Business council at a local non-profit. There are approximately 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the US. You can name a few in your community, including museums, a hospital, and a symphony. Many have a membership program that allows individuals to connect and support the cause. Some have business members with a business council. When the business council has events, you can connect with local business owners on a social level. Many non-profit organizations have ways to increase the visibility of the businesses that are their supporters.
- Conventional: Networking groups. This is a bit obvious. One of the best ways to get leads is to join an organization where providing leads on a regular basis is a membership requirement. Insider of business networks ranks five organizations as the best in the US. Using Le Tip as an example, they have 740 business categories and 120,000 members in the US and Canada. You have a requirement to provide guidance regularly, but so does everyone else.
- Unconventional: Knights of Columbus. This is an example from the Catholic Church, but other religions should have similar service organizations. You should find local business owners and professionals among the membership. Local business owners usually know everything that is going on in their community.
- Conventional: Professional organizations. You have a niche market. This gives you an edge over your competitors. Your niche most likely has a trade or professional organization. Don’t assume you’re an outsider, ineligible for membership until you check out your local chapter’s website. Many associations have affiliate memberships for businesses that sell services used by members. If they do, the affiliate list should give you a good feel.
- Unconventional: Your barber. Hair stylists qualify too! It may sound like a stereotype, but everyone has to get their hair cut, and the dynamic between the barber, the person in the chair, and the people waiting can resemble Off Broadway theater! I’ve been waiting to get my hair cut and hear about soon-to-be-marketed real estate long before any realtor. Naturally I contacted an estate agent friend as soon as I got home.
- Conventional: While we’re on the subject, real estate agents know all kinds of good information. They know when a new mall is opening and which businesses are coming in. You want to know some agents active in the commercial side of the market. Once the deals are closed and on the public record, it should be okay for them to talk about it.
- Unconventional: Teach a class. Among my 4,200+ LinkedIn connections, I have several hundred professors in the fields of accounting and financial planning. I am amazed at the number of established financial planning professionals teaching at local universities. If you’re learning about retirement planning, chances are that people who are business owners who take your class will consider reaching out or referring you.
- Conventional: Business agents. If you’re looking for business owners who need a benefits plan, it makes sense to find out who has recently bought a company going forward. As the name implies, business brokers help people buy and sell businesses. New business owners often have an interest in creating new relationships, especially if they can reduce overhead.
- Unconventional: Find a favorite coffee shop. This is an example of how the business finds you. If you choose an area with a concentration of local businesses, chances are that the owners of nearby stores and shops will be regular customers at the established coffee shop. You want to find a place with a bar and stools. You want to show up for breakfast or lunch regularly. You will gradually get to know regular people and become yourself.
Business often comes from unexpected places. You have a formal strategy for finding new customers. These are ideas to consider as additions. Most of the time you find the business, but sometimes the business finds you.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, The Enchantment of the Wealthy Investor, is available on Amazon.