Do you know the "three-foot rule"? Wealth adviser David Edwards, president and founder of Heron Wealth, which provides financial planning, investment advice and estate planning to individuals and families across the U.S. and in Europe, cites it as one key element of his success.
In a nutshell, the rule says that whenever you're within three feet of someone, you MUST introduce yourself and get a conversation started. Being able to network is a skill that can help any adviser thrive -- and in Edwards' case, the three-foot rule has landed him a handful of multi-million-dollar accounts.
Here's how he does it.
"I had the best vodka and soda of my life at a high-end bar in London last year" Edwards says as he recalls how, using the three-foot rule, he began a conversation with a man from North Carolina who was enjoying a cold beverage in that same bar.
"I introduced myself asking what brought him to London," Edwards said. "We chatted about various topics, eventually talking about what I do. He told me that he was looking to change financial advisors but that it might be a while since he was going through a nasty divorce. We exchanged business cards and I followed up with him a month later. Long story short, he ended up investing $2 million with my firm."
Go where ideal clients gather or are likely to be: Edwards makes sure he has "outposts" in places he loves and would be frequenting anyway -- even if he weren't a wealth manager always seeking new clients for his growing New York City-based business. For instance, Edwards competes in sailing regattas from New England to the Caribbean and coaches a hometown team in New York Harbor. "I hang out in places where my ideal clients are likely to be -- the ski slopes in Utah, polo matches in the Hamptons, sailing regattas in the Caribbean," Edwards said.
"I even talk to younger prospects - HENRYs -- high earners, not yet rich -- at Heron's cooperative workspace in Manhattan where, with just a little bit of conversation and chutzpah, I identified two very good potential clients for one of my younger wealth managers. It's amazing what just rubbing elbows can do. While most people are sitting in the corner looking at their phones and tablets, I reach out and engage people as they refill their water bottles and grab a fresh cup of coffee."