How a Simple Sandwich
Got a Top Prospect’s Attention
By Dan Richards
December 17, 2013
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Many advisors generously support charities and good causes in their communities and around the world. Here’s how to communicate that support to clients.

Last week I got a call from an advisor who mentioned how a small initiative had sent a positive signal to a significant prospect whom she’d been trying to get in front of for some time. The conversation with this advisor – ­­let’s call her Emma – demonstrated once again that it’s the little day-to-day decisions that make the biggest impact on our business.

Each week, I send out an email to over 25,000 advisors and head-office decision-makers. Earlier this year, one of those emails profiled “social enterprise” catering companies. Guided by professional chefs, these firms provide training and jobs for people who have had challenges finding work, whether it’s because they are new to the country, youth who’ve been on the street, or people suffering from physical or mental disabilities.

How to win multi-million dollar clients

Among those catering firms is one in Emma’s home city that focuses on providing employment for people with mental disabilities. Emma happened to have a client lunch coming up to provide an update on markets and decided to give this firm a try.

What really stood out

When the sandwiches arrived, Emma’s assistant put them on the sideboard, along with some business cards and a couple of brochures describing the firm. About a dozen clients came to the lunch, which she offers on a quarterly basis to anyone interested. Among those attending was an accountant Emma has worked with, who brought along one of his clients.

The lunch went well, with good questions and dialogue after her presentation. Later that afternoon, Emma followed up with the accountant to get his feedback.

“Frankly, I had to twist my client’s arm a bit to get him to come,” said the accountant. “But as we were walking away, he thanked me for inviting him. He said he’d found your presentation interesting, had learned a couple of things and that he’d likely be in touch about sitting down to talk. If you don’t hear from him in a week, let me know and I’ll follow up with him.

“The other thing that really stood out for him was the company you used for the sandwiches. He took one of the brochures and asked me if I’d noticed this – it turns out that his grandson has a mental disability. He’d never heard of them and plans to talk to his daughter about looking into this organization. He’s also going to start using them for his own business.”

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