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You Never Know Whom They Know

You Never Know Whom They Know

Don't think a gardener can be a referral source to the rich? Think again. Discounting even one potential networking opportunity can be disastrous.

Ivan Misner, Entrepreneur

The moral of that story? Always pursue the networking opportunity of an event—you never know whom you’re going to sit next to.

An associate of mine tells another great story about a financial advisor who received an enormous amount of business referred to him by a gardener on Cape Cod. Now, how can a gardener be a primary referral source for a financial advisor? Well, not only don’t you know who they know, you also don’t know how well they know who they know.

The gardener had an upscale clientele: big houses, rich people. He told the investment advisor that he would bring him some referrals. And the investment advisor thought: This person can’t possibly help me. He’s a digger in the dirt. He’s a peon. What leverage, what credibility could this laborer have with his rich bosses?

Well, the gardener worked all summer long at these big houses. And who lived in these houses in the summer? The wives, of course. Who made the decisions about the gardens? That’s right, the wives. So all summer long, the gardener was developing good professional relationships with the wives.

At the end of the summer, the gardener approached one of the wives and said, “Mrs. Gottbucks (not her real name, I hope), can I run something by you? You’re doing well and I imagine you guys have a financial advisor—you know, an expert to help you with your investments. Can I ask you for some advice? See, I’ve managed to save up a bit of money, and there’s this guy in my referral group who has a really unique way of packaging investments and getting a bigger return, and he says that by using article 32.3(e) in the tax code, I can save a lot on my taxes. He says he’s saved dozens of clients thousands of dollars this way. Can you tell me if that sounds right? I suppose your financial advisor’s saving you a lot of money that way, right?”

And the wife said, “Gee, I don’t know. . .I’ll have to check on that. By the way, what did you say your advisor’s name is?”

Whether you’re talking to a gift basket lady, financial advisor or gardener. . .remember, you never know who they know.

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