Get prospects to like you first: Meet people through volunteering

Everyone wants high-net-worth clients. The challenge becomes letting them know who you are and how you can help them. One way to get on their radar is to be the lowest-cost provider. I wouldn’t recommend that. Another way is to meet them socially, which you can do by becoming active in a local nonprofit where they are already involved. Here are some tips about how you can do that.

  1. Choose the right nonprofit. There are many, and they often attract wealthy donors. First, you want an organization that aligns with your interests and values. Then, to find out who the nonprofit’s wealthy donors are, review its annual report and donor list, which typically are on its website. Rationale: People can tell sincerity (and opportunism) when they see it. Your passion will come through.
  2. Attend meetings. Ideally, they have an event or a meeting once a month. If the board meets and the membership doesn’t, see if the board meetings are open to general members as observers. Rationale: You will identify the major players. They will see you, put a name to your face and realize you are making an effort.
  3. Contribute money and support the mission. There are people who simply join and attend the free events. Others commit their money as well as their time. Generally speaking, the more you need to pay, the smaller the audience for the event. Rationale: People see more of you because you attend more events and you become a familiar face. The people watching determine you are not a lightweight.
  4. Join a committee. They will have several, so select one that aligns with your professional skills. You can sell, so fundraising or membership are good fits. Event planning is good too if you are skilled at organizing. Start as a worker bee. They never have enough. Rationale: The “old guard” among the membership sees you giving time. They see you can get things accomplished. They know you are not someone involved because it looks good on your resume or profile.
  5. Get to know members better. This starts with key members who are also volunteers. Your committee should have a few. Go out for coffee or drinks with individual volunteers. Ask how they got involved and what issues the organization faces. If you have ideas for the committee, float them as trial balloons with them. See what each one says. Rationale: Now you are getting to know the key players. You are becoming a resource. This gets them thinking.
  6. Await developments. Let them make the next move. What you are not doing is just as important as what you are doing. You are not trying to take over. You are not playing politics. Rationale: After a few months, you have passed several tests that no one tells you about. You want to be judged as genuine, interested in the cause, willing to work, dedicated and able to deliver results. If so, you will likely be brought further into the organization and into positions of increasing responsibility. Suddenly, a lot of wealthy people know you by both name and reputation.

Try some of these ideas and you’ll present yourself as someone people respect, want to know and do business with.

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

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