Chicago — “We’re holding small social events for clients; some bring a guest, and everyone has a good time, but…” Bob began. “We struggle with the followup. We’re not contacting any of the guests because we don’t want to appear salesy. Do you have any suggestions?”

First of all, Bob and his team are on what we refer to as the affluent playing field. They’re schmoozing with clients and their friends—a combination of social prospecting and strengthening relationships with affluent clients. Approached properly, these small-scale social events are so effective that they’re considered one of only a handful of high-impact marketing activities. And I had a hunch about what Bob was missing.

Typically advisors make one of two mistakes with these social events: They can’t help coming across like salespeople when they’re around affluent prospects, or, as in Bob’s case, they’re so fearful of coming across as pushy that they have no rainmaker game plan for the event. In other words, they weren’t approaching the event with a rainmaker’s mindset, which we refer to as strategic intent.

Related: Core Marketing Activities of Elite Advisors

In all of our rainmaker coaching and development, one of the critical areas we work on is developing the habit of approaching virtually everything with strategic intent. In relation to Bob’s question, this means approaching every intimate social event with a rainmaker game plan. Granted, a lot of planning goes into any type of social outing, especially with clients, but strategic intent must be in the DNA at every step along the way.

The following is a version of an intimate event checklist that I shared with Bob. The objective is to make certain strategic intent is at work:

During the event, your objective is to develop rapport with each guest and be prepared to take one of two paths:

  • If you get an opening, mini-close for a second opinion in a manner that comes across as if you’re doing this guest a favor.
  • Orchestrate a second point of social contact – a round of golf, sporting or theatre event. (This will depend on their hot-button topic.) The idea is to begin developing a relationship.

Bring a digital camera to memorialize the event – and get prospects’ email addresses.

As a rainmaker, your objective is obvious: Uncover a creative point of contact. This can take the form of setting up a round of golf, agreeing to attend a sporting event, having dinner with another couple, attending an upcoming wine tasting – you name it. Heck, if your stars are aligned, you might have the opportunity to offer a second opinion.

Related: Getting Employees to Accept Change

Regardless of how you orchestrate this second encounter, the idea is to continue the process of developing a personal relationship that you began at the intimate event. Notice I said “personal” relationship. Why? Because trust is essential before an affluent prospect will consider becoming a client. And even in the second opinion opportunity, it’s important that you continue developing a personal relationship – before rushing into a business discussion.

It’s all about relationship management (affluent clients, centers-of-influence, and referral alliance partners) and relationship marketing (affluent prospects).


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If you have any topic suggestions or special requests, please contact Rich Santos, publisher of Registered Rep. and Trusts & Estates magazines, at rich.santos@penton.com.