Who are the influencers in your community?

The word “influencer” means different things to different people. This is even more true based on your age. Younger people might associate “influencer” with social media and someone with lots of followers. Add a few years of age, and other people think of influencers as those who are often asked for advice on a 1:1 basis. Let’s stick with the individuals often asked for face-to-face advice.

1. People who are paid to advise others. Lawyers and accountants come to mind. They are often called COIs, or centers of influence. There might come a time in a client’s life when tax-exempt income is preferable, even if the yield is lower because the client is in a high tax bracket. Their accountant might say, “You should buy municipal bonds.” They say, “OK, who should I call?” They volunteer the names of a few financial advisors.

Action: You are a financial professional. You want these COIs to know who you are and how you help people.

2. People choosing speakers. Many community organizations and civic groups hold regular meetings. Being selected to speak before a group implies a level of subject matter expertise or authority. Some include outside speakers to make the meetings more interesting, although it’s hard to find good speakers! And sometimes a speaker even cancels at the last minute.

Action: Does your firm have compliance-approved seminar topics that are educational? Identify those influencers. Let them know the subjects you can address and how to contact you.

3. Religious leaders. They guide congregations. They are often approached independently for advice, including financial questions. They need a “safe set of hands” to whom they can refer people.

Action: Do you know a religious leader? Do they know how you can help people? Do you know other religious leaders? Do they know how to contact you?

4. People who know about money in motion. Real estate agents are a good example. If someone bought a house, it makes sense that there is a seller on the other side of the transaction. The new homeowner might have just arrived in the area. They need all sorts of professional services. The real estate agent is in a good position to advise them. The seller might be downsizing. What are their plans for the money they received? Has anyone asked them?

Action: How many real estate agents do you know? Who else knows about money in motion?

5. These are people with job titles including words like “development” and “advancement.” Colleges, hospitals and museums often employ them. They are looking for philanthropists. If those people have money to give away, it’s logical they also have assets to invest. They might have insurance needs too.

Action: What institutions are likely to employ them? Who do you know? Their prospects also have the potential to be your prospects. They might be able to suggest people for you to contact.

6. Officers at special interest clubs. Collectors like spending time with other collectors, so they join clubs of like-minded people. The people who run these groups know their subject backward and forward. Owning the right car might get you into the club, but some models of that car are worth 10 times the value of more common models. They can tell from collections who has serious money.

Action: Do you belong to any special interest clubs? Do you know anyone who runs one? Can they tell you which members might qualify to be good prospects?

In this case, an influencer is expanded to also include people who know other people who have money. Influencers can be great resources for adding names to your prospect pipeline.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

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