Wednesday, December 24, 2008

10 Ways to Get More Business During Your Lunch Hour


By Lori Tripoli

... asked experts for their ideas for drumming up new business in as little as an hour. Here’s what they told us:

1. Put on a seminar. Give a talk to potential clients at a lunch-time meeting. “Some of our representatives do informational meetings on parent-care solutions that deal with the challenge of aging parents,” explains Kim Richardson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Associated Securities Corp. in Los Angeles. “They’re a good draw for new clients because everyone deals with the issue at some point in time,” she explains.

2. Set up your own study group. “A group of our representatives runs a practice management group that meets informally,” Richardson says. “About six associates share their best practices and network with each other,” she continues.

3. Research potential clients. “For us, it’s about targeting the segment of the market we want to go after,” explains Sylvia Diez, team director for PNC Wealth Management in Pittsburgh. If, for instance, you’re interested in getting business from executives at large public companies, you might research ... those companies so ... observes Bill Stone, senior vice president and director of investment for PNC Wealth Management in Pittsburgh. ...

4. Practice your pitch. One mistake financial advisors sometimes make is not branding themselves well, observes Richardson. “Have your elevator speech ready” should you come across a potential client, she suggests. ...

“Ensure that your opening description about your services to a potential prospect offers a clear definition of who you serve and the value you bring,’ says Richard Steiny, president of AssetMark Investment Services in San Mateo, Calif.. “Don’t allow your definition to be a ‘catch all,’ which will not excite anyone and will only attract ‘average’ clients,” Steiny says.

5. Read a company’s annual report. ... Reading them can help you “know more about them before you ever meet,” observes Stone.

6. Return phone calls and e-mails. “It’s easy to do business with us because we are accessible,” Diez says. ...

7. Ask for a referral. ... “The willingness for a client to refer builds from the very first meeting in terms of the trust and service level that is perceived,” says Steiny. “Some advisors like the phrase, ‘Please don’t keep me a secret; who else do you know that could benefit from my service?” Steiny notes.

8. Draw more business from your current clients. “So many representatives ... don’t go back to their existing book of clients. Go back to that same group of individuals and re-engage them,” suggests Ryan Shanks, vice president for business and practice development at Associated Securities Corp. in Los Angeles. “Let them know what new services you can provide,” he says.

9. Get a lawyer. “Lunch hour is a great time to begin to meet other professionals within your community to develop joint business referrals,” explains Steiny. ...

10. Meet the press. Get your name out there. A great thing to do during lunch is “to phone local reporters and leave a comment about that day’s financial news on their voice mail,” Finora says. “When done with discretion and consistency, more often than not, this leads to a press relationship, which is a great draw for new clients,” he says.

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