Turning Relationships into Clients

Do you often feel awkward talking about what you do in social settings? Don’t be a wallflower!


  • Learn how to transition social relationships to business without damaging friendships.
  • Approach the topic without coming across as pushy or entitled.


We all know someone we run into regularly at social events, whom we know would be a great client, but we have never “found the right opportunity” to broach the subject and/or you’re waiting for them to approach you (since they obviously know what you do and would say something if they had an interest). Your reluctance is all based on fear: your fear of coming across like a “pushy salesperson” and their fear of being rejected by you.

The next time you run into your “social relationship,” find the appropriate time to say the following:


“Mary, you know we run into each other all the time at these social events, and I just want you to know something … if you ever have any financial or investment question, or need a second opinion, I would be happy to make myself and my team available to you. However, our friendship is far more important to me than any business relationship we might ever develop, so I will rely on you to reach out to me, if and when that need arises. I just want you to know that the door is always open to you. So with that in mind, how ’bout them Cowboys?”

Again, feel free to play around with the language. However, just be sure to maintain the two key concepts of “second opinion” and “the door is always open to you.” Now back to the fear of being rejected by you. You must understand how you are perceived in your community. Many of you have been extraordinarily successful in an industry that is both fascinating and mysterious to those on the outside looking in. People often see you (contrary to the characterization in the popular press), as a hybrid of Milton Friedman and Warren Buffett and assume you are given a stable of well-heeled, white-gloved clients to work with.

Consider this true story from an advisor who learned the hard way:

A number of years ago I was speaking on this very issue, to a group of around 150 financial advisors. When I concluded, an individual in the back of the room yelled out “Where were you six months ago?” To which I responded, “I don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, so where I was six months ago is a long-lost memory. Why?” He then went on to tell the following story: "Six months ago I was playing golf with one of my best friends from childhood, who was both my college roommate and the best man at my wedding. As we approach the first tee he says, ‘Since I’m now contributing to the financial health of your firm … this round’s on you.’ I of course asked what he was talking about. He said that he became a client of my firm a couple of weeks ago. I said … what? He said there was an advisor whom he was impressed with who worked for my firm and had been talking to him on and off for the last couple of years; and that heck, if the firm was good enough for me to work with over the last 15 years, it should be good enough for him to help with his investments. After I recovered from that punch in the gut, I asked him, ‘Why hadn’t you approached me?’ He said that he assumed I was ‘full’ and not taking on any new clients. If I had this script six months ago I would more than likely have my best friend (who was quite wealthy I might add), as a client. I just didn’t know how to frame the message in such a way that it didn’t look totally self-serving and as though I was trading on our friendship. I will never allow this to happen again!

Make the most of social events by effectively communicating to other guests how you help clients in similar situations without laboring the point.

Take Action

Explore the complete Compelling Conversations white paper now.

Why This Matters

Remember two key points for opening the door to a social prospect without coming across like a desperate salesperson.

See the CEO Advisor Institute Compelling Conversations Guidebook here.