Friday, February 1, 2013

Ten Rules for Attracting New Clients

Ten Rules for Attracting New Clients

Yesterday I provided money managers with valuable insights into the proper conduct of an annual meeting.  Today I’m going to help you conduct a successful meeting with a prospective investor.  After many years of sitting through these sessions as a money manager and an investor, I think I have some idea about the factors that will help you reel in new clients.  I’ve been pondering this question after a money manager recently asked me about the key elements to attracting clients.  After our coffee, I realized that I’d given him bad advice, because I talked about investment performance, client services, and succession planning.  I’m sure I steered him in the wrong direction, so I’ve decided to make amends via this post.  If you’re going to make headway in luring me into your fund, I suggest you print up a laminated card to put in your wallet that captures the following ten rules.
Losing Business (2009)

1. Don’t wear your Rolex watch.  Your monogrammed shirt says more than enough.

2. Don’t have your driver let you out of the car at any place where I can see that you rode to my office in a limousine.

3. Don’t make small talk by mentioning your recent ski holiday in Gstaad or your trek to Nepal.

4. Don’t peak at your Blackberry or IPhone below the table.  I can see you doing it.

5. Don’t read me your pitch book as if it were children’s story hour at the public library.  I may only be an investor, but I can read.

6. Don’t dominate the meeting.  If you brought colleagues along, let them speak.  Otherwise, I’ll conclude that you’re grossly overstaffed.

7. Don’t answer my question by telling me that it’s a great question.  I’m sure you’ve heard the same question hundreds of times before.  Just answer it.

8. Don’t waste my time.  If you asked for a 30-minute meeting, wrap it up in half an hour.

9. Don’t tell me how eager you are to have me as a strategic partner.  We both know you’re only interested in the fees my commitment will generate.

10. Don’t tell me that you’re now headed to Pinehurst to play golf for the rest of the day when I ask who you’re meeting with next.  This is one time it is okay to lie.

If you follow these rules, you’ll have more than a sporting chance of landing my account.  Oh, one more thing.  Don’t laugh too hard at my jokes.  We both know they aren’t that funny, and you wouldn’t be laughing at all if I weren’t in a position to hire you. 

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