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Tee Time

The golf course is a wonderful place to spend four hours of quality time with affluent women clients.

By Helen Thompson

Robinson Financial Group, headed by Chris Robinson, ChFC, CFS, has a collection of marketing silos—several prospecting and marketing strategies it might be working on at any time. Robinson’s favorite is “passion prospecting,” built on the notion that just about everyone has something he really enjoys doing. By inviting people to an event that ties in with their passion, you can get a foot in the door you might not otherwise get.

Robinson enjoys golf. And he started noticing that the types of people who are passionate about golf also happen to be the people he wants as his clients. It wasn’t a big leap for him to start thinking about ways to get their attention. “If you’re a golfer, you’re very passionate about it,” he says, “And then you might be willing to go a four- or five-hour round of golf, whereas you won’t take a phone call because you don’t think you have even 10 minutes.” And not only will people accept an invitation to a golf game, they’ll also bring their friends.

With a twist
Robinson, a NAIFA-Dallas member, had been prospecting among golfers for some time with moderate success when something happened that opened dozens of doors for him. He was visiting existing clients—a married couple—and asked the husband if he’d be interested in a golf game. To his surprise, the wife spoke up. She was the one with a passion for the game.

Robinson asked her if she’d be willing to invite a couple of her friends for a foursome on the nearby retirement community golf course. He admits he was a little hesitant about it. “I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it,” he says. “Usually guys play with guys, and girls play with girls, and that’s the way it is.” Even in couples in which both husband and wife play golf, they seldom play together, he says.

But what he discovered was that for women, golf is a much more social experience than what he had seen with men, who, in his experience, tended to be more competitive. “The women are out there to have fun, and aren’t going to get upset about a bad shot,” he explains. As a result, it was a very relaxed environment, everyone had a great time, he met two new people and made a client out of one of them.

Recognizing a 50 percent conversion ratio as very high but a probable one-trick pony, he decided to try again and see what happened. This time, he invited the same client to his country club course. She arrived with three friends and their husbands—and made clients out of two of the couples. “These are educated, independent women with strong personalities, playing a strong-personality sport,” he says. “Often, they are the ones controlling the family finances.”

This has become his favorite prospecting technique. When he’s playing, he doesn’t bring up what he does for a living—the prospects always do. “They know what you do because the person introducing you is already buzzing about the great things you’re doing for her,” he says.

Opportunities abounding
Robinson’s firm started sponsoring events for women golfers, including tournaments, chipping contests, short-game clinics, “lunch-and-learn” events and breakfast presentations. At these events, he’ll sponsor drawings for cool golf gear. Attendees drop their card in for a chance to win something they want, and all who enter also get Robinson’s e-newsletter.

Not only has he gotten exposure to hundreds of prospects through these activities, he’s also positioning his business as the go-to financial-planning business for the golfing communities in North Texas. His target is women nearing retirement or recently retired, with at least $500,000 in assets.

He notes that retirement-income management is a huge part of the business he’s doing with these clients. But the prospects he is seeking are difficult to find, Robinson says. “Once you find clients you have something in common with, they become advocates, and then you can get into another circle,” he continues. “I’m consistently meeting high-end, quality prospects and having this great opportunity to build friendship and trust—the foundation of my business—during the four or five hours I’m with them.”



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