A research by the Oechsli Institute showed that investment advisors maintaining both personal and professional relationships with their clients are three times closer to them than those having only business relationships.

This statistic doesn’t apply only to investment advisors, but also to all professionals and entrepreneurs (lawyers, accountants, etc.) If your business is built on long term relationships you nurture with your clients, then this insight applies to you.

And the good news is, summer is the best time to get closer.

Social prospecting is a combination of strategies designed to attract new clients during activities related to, for example, community service or philanthropic action, sports club membership, golf outings and other private events.

In order to be successful, social prospecting must achieve a balance between its social and prospective aspects. You should not spend all of your time selling yourself – you might end up on the black list. Whether it’s a professional networking activity or not, you should always be at your best.

[tweetthis display_mode=”box”]4 steps to effective prospection this summer![/tweetthis]

No1:  Always make a good first impression.

In his book Enchantment, Guy Kawasaki provides some good advice to keep in mind for our summer outings:

  1. Show a true smile: a genuine smile raises the cheeks and pleats the corner of the eyes – it spreads from the mouth to the eyes.
  1. Dress for the occasion: dress more or less like most of the other participants. If you dress up too much, you might be perceived as a “show off”, and too casual could be insulting.
  1. Maintain a positive attitude: when you meet people, ask yourself how you can be helpful to them, instead of how they could be useful for you. If someone asks for your help, always say yes.

No2: Pay attention to the person in front of you

Don’t get carried away by the ambiance of the event, you need to remember the names of the people you meet. Did you know that one of the best ways to create a relationship with someone is to call them by their name?

However, it may be quite a challenge to remember people’s names. And this does not only apply to the more “mature” people amongst us. A study shows that people of the Y generation (between ages 18 and 34) are more likely to forget what day it is than people 55 and over (15% vs 7%), and where they left their keys (14% vs 8%). They also forget to bring their lunch (9%) or even to take a shower (6%) more often than older people.

Here are a few tips to help you remember names:

  • Each time you are being introduced to someone, be 100% present. Listen carefully to the name and concentrate on the person’s face.
  • Connect some feature about the person to their name. For example, Michelle may have the same haircut as your brother Miguel. Nancy might be dressed fancy (you get the idea…)
  • Look at the person each time you hear their name.
  • During a conversation, use their name repeatedly (ideally, 3 times).
  • End the conversation by thanking the person with their name.

No3: Be prepared

We live in a time where people’s identity is closely linked to their profession. It is therefore very likely that you will be asked “What do you do for a living?” Be ready to reply with a short an effective answer that will pique their interest, rather than with a dull speech full of professional lingo.

No4: Have a follow-up plan ready

If business takes over the conversation, then be ready to follow-up on it. Tell the person, who should fit your target market, that you’ve enjoyed the conversation and you would like to call them in about a week to schedule a meeting and continue the conversation.

In the meantime, send them an interesting article about what you have been talking about. Invite them to join your LinkedIn network. It’s time to show that you are a top professional, proactive and always one step ahead.

The follow-up plan is the most important part of it all, often overlooked in the process. It makes all the difference between casual conversations and business results.

Take advantage of the summer to relax, socialise, and prospect… Oups! I mean, prosper. 😉


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