An entry-level strategy for prospecting in community organizations

Many insurance agents and financial advisors have misconceptions about how involvement in the community leads to business. They assume you join an organization, word gets around and people approach you to do business. They assume the business effortlessly finds you. It doesn’t. You need to put in some effort and raise your visibility.

People need to know who you are, what you do and why you are good. You need to know who they are, where they work and what they do. 

Strategy for success

Let us assume you are willing to invest in your business but do not have money to burn. Community involvement is new to you. What is a good entry-level strategy? Let’s use the example of a local chapter at a college alumni association that has a luncheon once a month. This sounds good to you because the people most likely to attend a weekday lunch meeting are either retired or own their own business. Here’s how to attract clients to you through this type of community organization.

  1. Attend monthly meetings. Become a regular. Put it on your calendar. Sit next to different people at every lunch. Arrive on time and do not be the first to leave. Mingling before and after the meal is when you get to talk with people.
  2. Do you know everyone? If your chapter has a couple dozen members, it is easy to introduce yourself to each one. Not everyone attends every meeting. As you’re meeting new people, take an interest in them. Remember the who, what and why. If the group has a lot of members and you can’t meet everyone, make it a point to meet the officers and the established people everyone looks to for advice.
  3. Offer to be a speaker. Do they have a speaker at each luncheon? How long do they talk? What do they talk about? What were previous topics? (You might find this on their website.) How far in advance do they book speakers? Suggest a (compliance-approved) topic that is educational, not sales oriented. You are starting to establish yourself as a subject matter expert.
  4. Do they raise funds? Colleges need fundraisers. A big source is the alumni base. This is a major reason why there are local alumni clubs. Volunteer to help.
  5. Does the group have a newsletter? If so, do they accept ads to help defray the cost? If the answer is yes, take out a business card ad for the next It gets your name in front of people.
  6. What are donor levels? If the school is local to the area, they may have on-campus events. Colleges often have a special category for higher-level donors. This might get you invited to a black-tie dinner of wealthy graduates once a year. Let’s say the amount is $1,000. That is a lot of money, but check with your firm to see if they have a matching gift program. You might be able to give $500 and the firm does a 1:1 match, bringing the donation up to $1,000. Now you are in with the deep-pocketed graduates.

By attending a monthly lunch and getting to know people, you are gradually getting the word out about who you are, what you do and why you are good. You are seen as a subject matter expert, and people get comfortable with you. As they share details about their personal lives, you will spot ways you can help them.

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

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