You have bought into the idea of social prospecting. Having joined a few local organizations likely to attract high-net-worth individuals, you have attended events and met several new people. You would like to get to know them better and determine if a social connection has the potential to be a business connection. How do you take the next step?
- You need to make the first move. This is like dating. You cannot say: “They should make the first call. I am not going to pick up the phone.” If you want to cultivate the relationship, you need to take the initiative.
- Call about the next event. You met them at a monthly meeting or an exhibition opening at the museum. Call and tell them about the next upcoming event at the same place. They might have forgotten. Plus, it reminds them how you met. You might ask if they want to grab a bite before or afterward.
- Extend an invitation based on personal interests. “You mentioned you try to get to the beach at Lighthouse Bay whenever you can during the summer months. My husband and I are going for the day this Saturday. Want to come along?” They expressed a shared interest. You are presenting an opportunity. Shopping is another opportunity, especially if there is a shared interest like wine.
- Invite them to your home. This is a generous offer on your part. You are offering to entertain them. People are often curious about how other people live their lives. It is one of the reasons real estate weekend open houses are so popular.
- We are going out for dinner. Please join us. Some people might think inviting someone you just met to your home is too forward. The person you met might be wondering What does he want from me? A softer approach is suggesting you meet up for dinner. Here is a good strategy: Invite another couple both you and your new connection know in common. This should smooth things out quite a bit. They can call the mutual friends to “check you out.” If they fear the evening might be a disaster because they might be bored, they know they can spend time chatting with the friends you know in common.
A key message is that cultivation can take forever if you only see the people you met once a month at the organization’s scheduled meetings. What if they miss a meeting? You can speed up the process by getting together between scheduled meetings.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.
For more on networking:
3 easy steps for meeting HNW prospects
Ways to use gifts to say thank you — and drive referrals
Why clients don’t do more business with you