to 50 hours a week and a week has
168 hours, you are spending 70%
of the week away from your office. If you are building a clientele
within the general public, you are
surrounded by them at home.
You have neighbors and local merchants. You know people
from religious services. Your
children go to the local school.
You play golf nearby. If a New
York Times article figured the
average American knows 600
people, most of yours are probably near your home. If you live
in a well-to-do area with plenty
of double income couples, your
natural market is pretty big.
3. Find a niche market. Let’s
say you were an attorney and now
you are a financial expert for a
credit union. You know plenty of
lawyers. You speak their language.
Or you are a military veteran. You
belong to the local organizations
like the VFW and the American
Legion. As a graduate of West
Point, you are active in the alumni
Or maybe you discovered ear-
lier in your career you hit it off
with doctors. They started refer-
ring clients because you under-
stand the economics of running
a family medical office. Or you
might own a horse. You and your
children compete at horse shows.
You know plenty of other horse
owners, trainers and horse farm
owners. It’s a shame to let these
connections go to waste.
How to Find Prospects
We all want current member-clients to send their friends our
way. It’s a lot easier if you can
tell them who you want to meet
and find other ways to raise your
If your market is the first op-
tion, “Within walking distance of
your office,” the first step to de-
fining your market is researching
the landscape. What are the local
businesses on the main streets?
Who owns them? Most states have
a Secretary of State website with a
Department of Corporations sec-
tion. This section usually includes
a scanner to determine who owns
a local business. Enter the name,
get the profile and find the own-
ers. It’s usually free.
Walk into those big buildings.
There’s usually a directory. What
businesses are there? See a law
firm? They probably have a website listing the lawyers. Any professionals in the building? They
are usually listed by name.
Your membership in the Chamber of Commerce will get you
access to local business owners
too. You attend their meetings,
of course. This gives you a big
enough base to do some LinkedIn research and determine who
Maybe you chose “near where
you live” as your market. This
research can be a lot easier be-
cause you know these people al-
ready. Identify them by pretend-
ing you were planning a Christmas
party with unlimited capacity, in-
viting everyone you know.
List some categories of where
you know people from: The gym, a
religious institution, local school,
homeowners’ association, golf
club and neighbors. These are
silos. Start listing everyone you
know in each silo. These aren’t
strangers. The easiest way to bring
up business might be to sit down
with each one casually and ask
about what they do for a living.
Mention your assumptions. People love talking about themselves.
Assume they know a bit about
you too. Fill in more details.
Instead of pressing for business
that second, ask who they know
with specific needs you explain in
detail. It might be them.
If you think finding a niche
market suits you best, you’ve
got to populate that niche with
names, identify every organization affiliated with that niche and
raise your visibility. This means
joining professional organizations. Become a sponsor, so it gets
your name and logo out there. Attend every meeting and event you
can. Wear tactfully branded gear,
like a ball cap.
You have a large universe of
prospects within your niche. If
you are a military veteran, you
might have researched certified
government contractors with an
emphasis on local ones that are
owned by a fellow veteran. You
show those names to current clients within your niche. Learn who
knows who. LinkedIn can make
some of this research an activity
for a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Each Strategy Conveys a
Degree of Exclusivity
You are “the agent or advisor everyone uses” in your local parish
or the country club. You respect
client confidentiality, but word
gets around. You are the local guy
local business owners think of first,
because you are right down the
street. You’re the fellow vet who
attends all the meetings and helps
out other vets. You have a niche.
Note: When using websites for
prospecting research, always read
and respect the legal and privacy
notices on websites. Only use the
sites for the purpose originally intended by the site and get permission from your office or compliance manager before undertaking
internet research projects. n
CONT. FROM PAGE 1
Y Think about refocusing your credit union’s
products and services with a hyperlocal and
Y Look to your personal connections within
different local businesses to start conversations
about your credit union.
Y Instead of pressing for their business, ask who
they know with specific needs that you can
explain in detail.
‘The easiest way to
bring up business might
be to sit down with each
one casually and ask
about what they do for
a living. Mention your
love talking about