7 ways to find business & grow your practice this summer
June 08, 2023
Summertime and the livin’ is easy. The famed first line from the opening song of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess likely describes what business feels like for financial professionals as the summer season hits. Clients and plan sponsors may choose to put financial decisions on the back burner since the market tends to experience lower trading volumes and higher volatility during the summer. They may be vacationing, spending time with family and friends, or prioritizing warm-weather hobbies and interests. Whatever the reason, your regular clientele may not be as available to meet or take your phone calls during the summer months.
Suddenly, you have a little more time on your hands — and a decision to make: You could slow your pace to match the summer doldrums, or you could commit to using these 7 ways to find business (instead of waiting for it to find you).
Remember: Not everyone is on summer hiatus
The summer slowdown may be anticipated, but it doesn’t mean everyone is taking a holiday from their finances. In fact, fewer time commitments could provide opportunities for them to research and revisit topics that could prove to be beneficial. Reach out to them to discuss:
- Rebalancing: When stocks decline, equities tend to be underweighted. Is it time for your clients to consider moving money in that direction? Rebalancing should be a recurring topic of conversation with your clients. If you haven’t followed up recently, you should allocate some time to reach out.
- A newly discovered good fit: Do some research into a fund or stock idea that you feel is a natural fit for specific client portfolios. Then, pitch the idea to your clients. Tell them why it makes sense in relation to everything they already own, and how the idea needs some fresh money behind it instead of selling existing portfolio assets. With a little finesse, and the discipline to stop talking as they consider your proposal, you might be surprised when clients happen to have cash on hand.
- Their perspective on stocks: As investors, your clients often have experience in — and opinions about — the stock market. Simple questions such as, “What’s the best stock you ever owned?” can open the door to engagement. Active listening will give you cues as to their potential readiness to invest more. It could also tune you into any decision-making they could be doing based on emotions. For example, rising prices could be fueling misperceptions about the profitability of big companies behind the price hikes.
Get involved in the community
Generating new business doesn’t mean you’re tied to your desk. Look for ways to connect with prospects right in your area through:
- Community college classes: Community colleges and tech schools often have a variety of affordable, non-credit evening classes that center around hobbies such as cooking, the arts, and even personal finance. Whether you attend to pursue a passion or get professional refreshers, regularly taking classes is a great way to connect with new people — and potential prospects. The inevitable “Where do you live?” and “What do you do?” small talk questions could lead to a business-oriented conversation, either with your classmates or perhaps with people they know.
- Block parties: Don’t be shy! Mingle with your neighbors at a summer block party. As the host or an attendee, you can strike up casual conversations with people in a non-threatening environment. You might even take the block party concept up a notch and make it a public networking event. Sponsor a tent at a charity race. Have a community picnic in the neighborhood park. Clients will love the opportunity to socialize outdoors and will likely bring friends.
- Special interest clubs: Love to bike? Can’t get enough yoga? Want to start sailing? Joining clubs geared toward your personal interests will put you in contact with like-minded people. What’s more, as you develop friendships, you are building trust — and that can go a long way when friends either need a financial professional or want to recommend one.
- Volunteering: Non-profit organizations depend on volunteers, and there are likely several ongoing opportunities in your community. Supporting a non-profit with your time and talents makes a difference, and it makes you feel good. It’s also an area that puts you in touch with tax-exempt entities such as schools, hospitals and churches that may be either actively participating in a 403(b) plan or considering it.
Since 403(b) plans and participants are typically underserved regarding independent investment advice, you could:
- Connect with people and organizations actively seeking sophisticated help with investments, financial wellness and retirement planning.1
- Increase your visibility in the non-profit sector to reach more non-profit organizations, contacts and prospects.1
- Network with successful community leaders, business owners and high-net-worth families who typically hold positions on non-profit boards of directors. You may already have relationships with some of these influential people that you can leverage to widen your circle of influence and expertise in the 403(b) realm, where there's less competition.1
Make meaningful connections
Gaining prospects takes work, and so does winning their business. You may have connected with someone because of a shared interest or volunteering event, but you may not know where they stand on discussing financial matters.
Finances can be a sensitive subject to be sure, but if you are intentional in how you use your shared experiences in gaining trust, prospects will likely be more willing to open up to you. Use affirming language and ask questions that put them at ease, such as:
- Tell me more: People generally need little encouragement to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Express sincere interest in what they care about, what they’ve done, and what’s on the horizon for them. It will break down reticence.
- What else are you involved in?: If you met the prospect at a volunteer or charity event, you likely support some of the same causes. Ask about the other organizations they currently support or have worked with in the past. You might discover you've shared acquaintances that could lead to future opportunities.
- What do you think about interest rates?: This may be a disarming question coming from a financial professional. It’s a general question about their daily lives that acknowledges that they have their own ideas about finances. Plus, it could result in them turning the question back to you and continuing the conversation.
- What do you like best about your financial professional?: Maybe that prospect you thought was looking for a financial professional already has one; it happens. Affirm the value of professional advice and ask what they like best about their current financial professional. It will reveal the quality of the relationship without sounding forward.
1CUNA Mutual Group, Taming the 403(b)east: Strategies and solutions for marketing to non-profits, accessed May 31, 2023.