It’s summer and things tend to slow down for many businesses—unless you’re selling sunscreen and flip flops! But you shouldn’t take a summer break from prospecting. I know quite a few advisors who use the slower summer months to build relationships, so their business can continue to build momentum.
Here are some of the best ideas I’ve heard over the years:
- Analyze your book. If you have more time in the summer with fewer client meetings, you may have a chance to look at your existing book of clients, and detect any patterns. You may already be serving a large percentage of doctors, dentists, divorcees, teachers, etc. You’ll also want to pay attention to how you met these clients. Is there a strategic alliance with an accountant or an attorney that you can better tap?
- Develop relationships with centers-of-influence. Whether it’s attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, realtors, human resources managers or trade journal editors, centers of influence are essential to growing your business. Take them out to lunch. Learn about their business and the kinds of challenges their clients or readers face. Provide them with case studies of complex problems you’ve solved. Offer to be an ongoing resource for them.
- Connect with CPAs. Accountants especially may have more time in the summer months for lunches. You could schedule a couple a week to discuss estate planning or tax strategies for mutual clients—as well as possibility brainstorming joint marketing efforts. Look for entrepreneurial-minded accountants, attorneys or insurance agents who serve your ideal clients.
- Write articles for niche publications. Niche editors are always looking for content. So, find the publications that can showcase your expertise to your ideal audience. One advisor in Florida submitted articles to be published in publications such as Radiology Today and Medical Economics. The articles then became part of his press kit he sent to other editors. He treated these editors as centers-of-influence, and came to be viewed as a reliable expert.
- Pursue speaking opportunities. Organizations are always looking for experts to speak at their events, and may be starting to line up their fall schedule during the summer months. This advisor in Florida was invited to speak to some of the industry conferences, and regularly received around 10 physician referrals per month.
- Develop more effective marketing materials. During the summer, you might have time to examine your marketing materials and educational packets. The Florida advisor created a web demo that walked potential clients through his planning process uniquely tailored for the high-end physicians. Another advisor created a Divorce Workbook to serve women going through the process of divorce and distributed it to divorce attorneys.
- Host a water park party. Summer is a great time for client appreciation events. If you have client families with children or grandchildren, there’s no better way to cool off in the summer than hitting a water park. Slides, wave pools, and water cannons make for refreshing entertainment for all ages. A realtor in Wichita, Kansas hosts a summer water park blow out each year. She gains introductions to new prospective clients, too! Talk to the group sales director at a local water park. Plan to host about 20 families and encourage your clients to invite their friends. Send out invitations and RSVP requests several weeks in advance. Host the event on a weeknight. Greet your clients and guests with their tickets at the entrance. Reserve a pavilion and provide hot dogs, drinks and ice cream. Have a banner made with your firm logo, and hand out balloons to the kids. You may even start a tradition.
- Invite clients to a night at the theater. Summer stock theater productions are always a favorite. Pick a weeknight performance and send your invitations out to clients and strategic allies. Plan to invite between 15-24 guests, including referrals. Team up with a local restaurant to host your guests before or after the play. Make sure you get your seats together and be sure to greet all your guests individually. Hand out a packet with information about the theater, as well as a one-page investment questionnaire, and info about your firm. Follow up with each guest afterward.
- Take in a ball game. Summer means baseball season, and some of your clients would like nothing better than to visit a major or minor-league ballpark. Talk to the group sales director for the stadium. Send out invitations. Plan to host several dozen clients and their guests. For even more fun, rent a van or small bus to transport clients and their guests to the game. During the trip over, make a short pitch about your investment business, and let clients know that investing is a lot like baseball: you have to play opportunistic offense, exceptional defense and avoid errors.
- Host a luau and pool party. If you have a pool, consider hosting a summer luau. Invite 20-30 clients and their guests. Get creative with your decorations! Partner with a local Polynesian restaurant to cater the event and hire a band or DJ. Encourage your guests to wear Island attire, including grass skirts. Hand out pineapples or coconuts as souvenirs. Give each guest a packet with a one-page investment questionnaire and info about your firm. Follow up with each guest afterward.
- Hit an art festival or art gallery tour. Many communities offer summer art festivals or gallery tours. Become a sponsor and ask the group sales director about opportunities to invite some of your clients to attend with you and meet some of the artists. You may be able to cordon off a pavilion just for your clients. Hand out a packet with information about the art festival, the artists, as well as a one-page investment questionnaire and info about your firm. Follow up with each guest afterward.
It’s a mistake to write off summer as “down time” for marketing. Summer does mean some clients and other professionals will be taking family vacations. But when they’re not out of town, they may be looking for something fun to do—or a business connection! Summer is a great time to ramp up your marketing activities – not to slow down. So, take advantage of the season’s great weather and grow your business!