Shop talk

Prospecting for clients? Try beer

Adviser Richard Feight discovered brew clubs offer networking opportunities

Feb 24, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

By Lisa Shidler

Investment adviser Richard Feight admits he's not very good at brewing beer, but he's found that the hobby helped him build business connections and network with clients.

A few years ago, Mr. Feight, owner of IAM Financial LLC, bonded with one of his clients when they both decided to start brewing beer. The two joined other beer enthusiasts at local brew clubs, and it didn't take long before he was meeting business contacts and prospective clients — including a well-known estate-planning attorney in East Lansing, Mich., area.

“It was a great connection at that point and time,” said Mr. Feight, who had recently started his own practice after leaving his father's advisory firm. “Sometimes you meet people in an unusual place.”

For his part, Mr. Feight soon discovered he'd rather sample other beers than make his own.

“My beer was hit-or-miss,” he said. “It was really good or really bad. I hit a couple on the head, and they were good-tasting beers. But when you get some that are bad, it's really disheartening.”

While he's given up beer making for now, he hasn't stopped going to brew clubs and pubs, knowing that his next client may be the guy he's sitting next to at the bar, or the owner of the pub.

“You'd be surprised the type of people who brew beer,” he said. “Sometimes they're frugal, and it leads toward wealth accumulation. One guy said something about his $750,000, and my jaw dropped.”

Shop Talk is a regular column detailing how financial advisers run their businesses. The column focuses on unusual or innovative ways to attract more clients. Suggestions or tips for Shop Talk? E-mail Lisa Shidler at lshidler@investmentnews.com or visit the Shop Talk page at InvestmentNews/shoptalk.

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