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3 “Outside the Box” Ways to Grow Your Business in 2019

by Bill Cates
Try these "out of the box" growth strategies to get more clients

Over my 25 years of showing professionals how to acquire more ideal clients, I’ve heard it all and built an inventory of creative ideas that have proven successful.


As you read through these tested ideas, remember that ideas alone will not lead to an increase in your success. Only ACTING on these ideas will produce results.


Before you dismiss any idea as not right for you, think through it a bit. Perhaps there is a way you can make it fit your business.


3 Creative and Proven Ways to Get More Ideal Clients


#1 – Turn Your Passions into Profits 

Micky, a financial advisor, is also a bit of a wine connoisseur. He used to write a column for a wine publication, and regularly attends wine tasting events as a way to enjoy his passion for good wine and meeting new people. The problem is, but he didn’t know how to connect his work with his hobby, and leverage that passion into potential new business for his firm.


He asked me, “When meeting prospects at these wine tasting events, how do I turn the conversation to the work I do in a way that might spark interest, but not come across inappropriately?”


SOLUTION:  I suggested that Micky start hosting quarterly wine-tasting events. Now, when in conversation with someone he feels may be a good fit for his business, he says, “I see that your interested in good wine. I’d like you to be my guest at my firm’s next wine-tasting event.”

Predictably, these people respond, “What sort of work do you do that makes you want to host wine-tasting events?”


Guests attend. Some become new clients.


#2 – Don’t Rule Out Former Clients as Future Clients.


Here’s an idea I learned from Bryce Sanders …


Says Bryce, “Here’s an invisible pool of potential. It might be big. Over the months and years, you’ve lost some clients to the competition. Was the experience as good as they had hoped? You don’t know.”


Continues, Bryce, “One NYC advisor starts the conversation by explaining she understands the former client had their reasons for leaving. I’m calling because I wanted to be sure things worked out as you expected. You were an important client to me’. Then, she stops talking.”


“Maybe things didn’t work out. They might have wanted to return, but pride kept them from calling. She met them halfway.”


I will add to this …


Whenever a prospect or client decides not to work with you, always let them go with grace and professionalism. Let them know that you’re never too busy to speak with them again about any ideas they might have, etc. Make the way back to you easy for them to consider.

#3 – Remember that Clients and Prospects are Just People, Too. 

While this strategy is not necessarily “outside the box,” it’s too important and effective not to mention. 


Research shows that it is Engaged Clients who give the most referrals. The two components of client engagement are The Value Connection and The Human Connection.


A simple strategy to enhance the human connection is to visit with your clients outside of your office, or even their office. You need to connect with them on a personal level.


  • If your clients come to you, walk them to their car or at least to the elevator. The conversation will often turn to non-business topics.
  • Ask about their spouse, children, pets, etc. by name. Do they have a favorite sports team or hobby? Are they passionate about their alma mater, or the university that their child attends? Show that you’re listening, paying attention, and care about the things that are most important to them on a personal level.
  • Find excuses to break bread with your clients. Host client-appreciation events, celebration events, and special invitation events.
  • If a client invites you to an event – something personal or maybe philanthropic – attend. Don’t just write a check to their favorite charity. Show up!


How about you?

What creative, possibly fun, and definitely effective method(s) have you used to reach qualified prospects and convert them into clients? I really want to know!  Let’s “share the wealth” of ideas!


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“Before I met Bill Cates, I was making a ton of cold calls. Bill showed me how to go from cold calling to referrals and I tripled my production the very next month. I would not be where I am today without learning Bill’s processes.”


James Mwombela, Insurance Advisor
(Washington, DC)



Do you find it challenging to…

  • Identify the right prospects?
  • Get prospects to return your calls and emails?
  • Confidently communicate your value in a way that turns ideal prospects into clients?

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