While it’s true that summer can present some challenges in terms of traditional networking, savvy salespeople can use this time to build relationships with existing clients and take advantage of creative prospecting opportunities. Summer is a time to be proactive and original with client engagement events.
I believe there is a traditional approach to connecting with your current clients; how about some of these ideas:
- Hour-long group lesson with a golf pro at a local country club
- Wine tasting and tour at a local vineyard
- Box at an MLB or minor-league baseball game
- Meet-and-greet with an artist at a local gallery
- Special class with a dog trainer or pet nutritionist
The key to hosting an event like this is encouraging your client to bring along a friend. The advantage is two-fold; first, you can reward your client, and the second is the opportunity to meet more people like them, not to mention the word-of-mouth benefits if you create an exciting and memorable event.
There is one big caveat here – the success of events like these depends upon knowing your clients and what they do with their leisure time. If you have a core group of clients that do not enjoy golf, that lesson with a golf pro will likely be a bust. Although we are just heading into summer, viewing this year as an opportunity to learn more about your clients might be wise. A great way to do this is to develop a client profile page that you connect with them to complete. You should be upfront about why you are doing this; tell them you are interested in learning more about them and their interests. This will put you in the perfect position to plan successful opportunities in 2024.
The second approach is more creative and lends itself more toward prospecting. Summer is the time when people come out of the woodwork for events. There are festivals, parades, concerts, and more. Nearly all these events have sponsorship opportunities that come with a presence at the event such as tent or table for you to interact with participants.
Choosing a suitable event to sponsor is the key here. I’m in Pittsburgh, so here are two examples:
- Picklesburgh – a three-day food festival featuring all things pickled, attended by nearly 250,000 people. Is this a great event for a veteran advisor? Nope! But perhaps for someone young who is interested in quantity, this can be a fantastic experience.
- The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix – a vintage (essentially classic British racing cars) road race and festival held in a park over two days. This event primarily attracts a high-net-worth crowd and includes tickets to a VIP tent with cocktails and catered food – it’s a great networking space.
What you do with your tent at these events makes ALL the difference. Activate your space in a way that people want to come and engage with you. Giveaways are a great connection point, mainly if you invest in something special and unique. For example, maybe a photo opportunity where you get the prospect’s email address to send them the photo. Suppose it’s a pet-themed event; a portable dog dish or branded but cute dog bandana would be a big hit. A branded Instagram photo wall is always popular.
Another thing to consider for events is partnering with colleagues or perhaps teaming up with a wholesaler to ask for assistance in sponsoring a booth. This can help you to spread out the staffing of your space, as well as share costs. You can always try this approach on a smaller scale at a church or community festival.
The key to success with these approaches is to get creative and innovative by planning moments people don’t usually get an opportunity to experience. Make the most of your investment by making the occasion memorable, fun, engaging, and interactive, but also be sure to find a way to capitalize on capturing prospect contact info.
If you have any creative ideas on how to network and prospect during the summer months, we’d love to hear them! Drop me a line or comment below.