A financial advisor — I'll call him William — is a $2.5 million producer with a stable of wealthy clients that he built up through cold calling and by purchasing books from retiring advisors. During the course of a long conversation, he told me that he recently had dinner with one of his established clients who operates a highly successful business with a partner that William had never met. The purpose of the dinner was to convince his client to turn over $250,000 that had recently become liquid.

What's wrong with this picture?

I asked William that same question, but he didn't have a clue about the answer. It then dawned on me that if a $2.5 million producer didn't know, then many other advisors wouldn't either.

William's mistake was in not seeing beyond the $250,000. He missed the bigger picture and the opportunity to be a true rainmaker.

The Power of Strategic Intent

Strategic intent involves approaching each prospecting activity with the clear objective of uncovering and pursuing serious money. Adopting this mindset is what enables rainmakers to see beyond the immediate and go after the opportunities that will take their business to a much higher level. After explaining that to William, he immediately saw that asking for an introduction to the partner should have been his goal. William immediately determined that he would call his client that day and ask for that introduction.

To better understand the difference strategic intent makes, let's examine the contrasting examples of two advisors who participated in similar high-impact rainmaking activities.

Robert attended a fundraising dinner held by his city's sports council. He had served on the planning committee. Three good clients were there, but instead of spending time with them, he followed through with his plan to focus on four wealthy people he had gotten to know through other activities and events.

Robert worked the crowd like a skilled politician. The drill was always the same: small talk followed by, “Listen, I want to run some business ideas by you. How about breakfast or lunch next week?” By allowing himself only two or three minutes with each prospect, Robert was also able to seek out and socialize with several wealthy people that he suspected could be prospective clients.

Derek attended a similar function with the hope that someone would suggest to him that they get together later to talk business. Entering the room, he was relieved to see two of his clients and ended up spending most of his time with them, plus a few other attendees that he knew. He also introduced himself to a few people who looked “affluent,” but since he viewed this event as “strictly social,” he made no effort to actively prospect for business — or to even listen during the conversations for ways to connect with them in the future.

Derek loves socializing, so he enjoyed the evening. He later commented to his wife that he saw and even met people that he felt would make ideal clients, then grumbled about how difficult it is to initiate a business discussion during those events.

Robert's experience was much different. He left his event having arranged meetings with six prospective clients — the four he targeted, plus two others he met while circulating. Both had made statements during the conversation that opened the door to suggesting a future meeting. Robert approached his event with clear strategic intent. His results demonstrate both the mindset and the skills of a rainmaker.

A rainmaker understands the importance of numbers. It's not simply how many people you meet and talk with at a given activity or event. Rather it's realizing that the more face-to-face opportunities you have with serious money opportunities, the more likely you are to find new affluent relationships. That's why a true rainmaker approaches everything with strategic intent. It fuels the activities that drive this numbers game.

Who do you want to be, Derek or Robert? The choice is yours.

Writer's BIO: Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients. oechsli.com