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Successful Prospecting

A good way to gain more prospects is to meet your clients in their home.

By Karl Lueders

This month’s ideas encourage you to make house calls and work with professionals whose clients have “crossover” needs.

Make house calls whenever possible.
Clients feel more comfortable in their homes than in any plush office, so it is a good idea to meet them there whenever possible. When meeting anywhere else, they tend not to reveal their whole hand.

I understand why some advisors prefer to meet in their offices—it increases efficiency. But what I lose in efficiency, I gain in trust and strong family connections. When you’ve worked in Queens for 20 years, you’ll understand that when you make home visits, you may end up getting other family members as well.

I also get to speak to both the husband and wife—something that does not always happen if I were holding meetings in my office. That may not matter in the short term, but if the husband dies, the wife doesn’t know you very well and is likely to take the money and run. Since more than half the wealth in this country is with women and they tend to live longer, it’s probably a good idea to include them in the conversation.

If the rest of the family sees me in action and gets positive reports from my clients, I have a better chance of acquiring them as clients down the road because they trust me.

Brochures and newsletters don’t breed trust—communication and performance do. The last thing I want my clients saying about their investment strategy to their friends is that they have no idea what’s going on. These people are my ambassadors. That’s why I make my clients listen to my whole spiel so that all of us can sleep better at night knowing we’re on the same page.

Frank Congemi
Mutual Services Corp.
Forest Hills, N.Y.

Work with professionals whose clients have “crossover” needs.
During my 35 years in the real estate business, I didn’t realize how powerful my expertise could be to the financial services world until a few years ago. It used to be that when I completed a sale with a client looking to take profits out of the sale of his home, I would refer that client to an insurance advisor who would convert my client’s profit into a tax-deferred annuity. The advisor would collect a commission, and I’d end up with a free lunch.

After watching a couple of those deals happen, I finally figured out how best to leverage my position after a day trip I took to Bakersfield, Calif., a couple of years ago. I got a referral call from an insurance agent in Bakersfield about a client who wanted to sell some property in Orange County.

The problem was that after the sale, the client would have had to pay nearly $1 million in capital gains. Between the insurance advisor and me, we were able to sell the man’s property and set him up with a trust that would defer his taxes over the life of the annuity being paid to him.

What I learned from this meeting is that I could work both sides of this particular fence. I earned my insurance license and partnered with an attorney and CPA to set up a financial services company here in Buena Park, Calif.

Although I’m able to service my existing database, I’m also too old to chase down new clients. So I began to forge relationships with insurance professionals and other real estate agents who have clients with crossover needs.

By helping solve their clients’ issues, I am able to free them up to do what they do best—whether it is selling property without worrying about the tax hit or investing the proceeds from a real estate deal.

I can’t tell you how successful this crossover has been for me. There’s no better prospect than the one who comes from another professional because that professional has established your trustworthiness with the prospect.

And as the business has grown, I’m now developing a seminar to share the information with more referrals at the same time.

Bob Buchanan
AmeriDream Financial Services Inc.
Buena Park, Calif.

Karl Lueders is a frequent contributor to Advisor Today.


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