“Go after your natural market.” This advice has been given to financial advisors for ages. Who is your natural market, though? It’s human nature to take people off the list for different reasons. Yet it’s difficult to grow your business if you focus on who you won’t approach. Put another way, “Everyone should have the opportunity to say no.” If you ask nicely, they may even be flattered!
Identifying your relationship silos
Silos are those big, round towers you see on farms. They’re self-contained units. The contents of one are different from another. The relationships in your life are in silos too. When you start naming your silos and counting the contents, you will be amazed at the number of people you know. That’s your natural market. These silos may include:
1. Immediate family. These are your grandparents, parents and siblings.
2. Extended family. Add to this silo aunts and uncles as well as their parents and children. You might see them during major holidays when someone hosts a big party.
3. In-laws. If you are married, there’s another family network that’s a mirror image of yours. You can even include the in-laws of your siblings in this group.
4. Family at a distance. Although you are separated by distance, you are united by family connections. Do they know what you do?
5. Immediate neighbors. They live nearby. You can see their house. They borrow your tools. Your children play with their children. You are in and out of each other’s houses regularly. They might even entrust you with their key.
6. Former neighbors. You liked them a lot, but they moved away. Why? Because they got that great promotion. They still remain good friends. You send them holiday cards and vice versa.
7. New neighbors. They bought your former neighbor’s house. They seem nice. They relocated from another state. When people are new to an area, they need lots of local services. You might be able to share your knowledge. What you do fits into this category.
8. School parents. Your children attend the local school. You’re an involved parent. You attend evening meetings. Your children may play school sports or are involved in other activities. You stand alongside other parents as you cheer them on. Your children have playdates. You know them pretty well.
9. Stores where you shop. You want people to do business with you. Let’s not forget there are many businesses where you are their customer. They should have the opportunity to learn about what you do.
10. School alumni. You went to high school and college and may still keep in touch with your classmates. Your college has a local chapter of the alumni association. You attend meetings. If you don’t, you should start.
11. Friends at the gym. You work out four times a week. You see the same people for about 45 minutes every time. Do you know what they do for a living? Do they know what you do?
12. People you see at religious services. You attend on weekends. You sit in the same place and see the same faces. Perhaps you chat during the coffee hour afterward. Although you would never be pushy, it’s polite to take an interest in your fellow congregation members. Does the leader of your congregation know how you help people?
13. Fellow commuters. You take the same train or bus to work every weekday. You see the same familiar faces. You sit together and talk during the journey. Who are they? Do they know what you do?
14. Fellow nonprofit volunteers. You’re involved in the community. You might belong to five organizations and contribute to 10 more. You attend meetings and events. You volunteer. You see the same faces all the time. They are part of your natural market.
15. Mentors. Do you keep in touch with your former teachers, coaches or professors? Do you still ask them for advice? They are “invested” in your success. Do they know what you do for a living?
16. Former co-workers. You had really good friends when you worked at that engineering firm. Then you entered the insurance industry. Do you still keep in touch with your former co-workers?
17. Sports. You may either play a sport or attend sporting events. Do you see the same people where you golf or in the stadium seats around you where you have season tickets? Do they like you and talk with you?
These categories only scratch the surface. Make a list of how many people you know in all 17 silos. You will be surprised at the size of your natural market.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon. Watch more from him in “3 words that generate client referrals.” You’ll find more ideas from MDRT members worldwide and in multiple languages at mdrt.org/learn.