Using Your Hobby to Prospect for Clients

Using Your Hobby to Prospect for ClientsCan you imagine saying to your partner, “Honey, I’m going sailing. For work?”

David Edwards, president of New York-based Heron Financial Group, found a way to leverage his love of sailing with successful client prospecting.

“What you need to do is create opportunities for prospects to get to know you in a ‘non-salesy’ environment,” said Edwards. Sailing fits the bill, for Edwards.

Why does Edwards’ strategy work?

  • He’s putting himself where his prospective clients are. According to a video made by Edwards, his firm services “time-stressed executives, between 45 and 55 years old, with at least $1 million dollars in investable assets.”
  • Edwards marries sailing and boating to prospective clients, whenever he can. “Sailing and investing have a lot in common. You have your plan, your skills and experience, but when bad things happen you just have to deal with it,” he said.
  • He uses sailing analogies to explain complex financial topics, such as comparing an overly aggressive portfolio with a high-performing sailboat “which would shatter into pieces” if it hit a storm.
  • He handles his marketing and prospecting differently. “It’s very hard to make more than a fleeting impression on somebody, if we simply have a banner up or our logo on a T-shirt. We’re not going to get the impressions that we’re interested in.” Instead, he creates lasting connections. “We bring in a video crew to record the regattas. I appear on camera before the start of the day with a producer. We talk a bit, and then we get out on the water and race. By the time I get back to the bar in the afternoon there’s already a 15-minute video running. I just stand close to the video screen with a beer. People go, you’re on the screen, you’re here, let’s talk a little bit.” At these prospect get-togethers, Edwards chats with his guests and raffles off a case of champagne or rum while standing next to the video. Those who participate in the raffle must submit their name, cell phone number, and email address and receive a copy of our privacy policy. When Edwards and his team get back to the office, the contact information is entered into the CRM, and the leads will begin to receive their “monthly commentary” email.

“Roughly 25% to 35% will unsubscribe immediately, but that’s OK. The remaining 65% to 75% of leads will continue to receive the emails and contact with us when they’re ready. We see it takes about nine impressions before they come onboard,” he said.

With a business fueled primarily by networking and referrals, a smart financial advisor will connect business to activities he/she enjoys. Passion drives motivation. No one needs to push you to do things you love. You’re emotionally engaged, having fun and feeling great.

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