We all know that meeting people is a critical part of becoming a successful financial advisor. However, the problem is that no one is teaching financial professionals about how to network better. In my workshops, I ask financial advisors if they have ever taken a networking course, seminar or workshop? Most of the advisors answer no. To me, it seems strange that successful financial advisors have not brushed up on their networking skills, yet are planning events all year, and seem frustrated by their results of going to and planning out events. The two are correlated.
The financial advisors who have learned strategic networking strategies are clearly more comfortable at events and are more successful.
How do you find your ideal prospects?
In a questionnaire I designed for financial advisors, I ask a series of questions on what financial advisors current strategies on prospecting are. Below you will see one of the questions from our exclusive prospecting strategy checklist.
Which strategies were effective in bringing in ideal clients with ideal revenue $10,000-20,000 + revenue in the last year? Put a number beside how many ideal clients you acquired in the last 12 months besides each strategy.
_____ Social media
_____ Favorable introductions at events
_____ Client events you attended
_____ Client events you put on
_____ COI’s Centres of influence
_____ COI’s Centres of influence events
_____ Direct marketing – advertising -mail – email
_____ Other Events / strategic networking
_____ Total # of ideal clients acquired in the last 12 months
_____ Total # you would like to acquire in the next 12 months
It is interesting to note that when financial advisors do this exercise, most of the ideal clients acquired, they met them somehow. Either through an event, introduced by a COI or as a favorable introduction at an event. This reinforces the point that advisors should work on their networking skills.
Where do you start?
You attend an event, had some great conversations with some nice people, and you have a few business cards or contact information. Now, what do you do? It starts before the event occurs. Having clearly compelling offers prepared ahead of time, so when it comes time to bridge to a second meeting, discussion, coffee etc, you have a process. Do you have email templates or LinkedIn message templates to follow up with these people, or is it made up as you go? Most financial advisors wing it, in hopes of success. The most successful advisors have compelling questions to ask people at events, compelling reasons or offer to connect, or are really good at having personal strategic networking questions. It is all in the bridge to have permission to follow up and connect again. What is your bridge to follow up?
The hardest part of networking
The bridge to the next meeting or discussion is the hardest part, and some that make people run and hide and some that are in complete control of the conversation by asking compelling an engaging questions. In my workshops, we practice different questions that help advisors GET comfortable and find the right questions, and turn it into their process. Make sure your questions are emotional in nature, by finding out what makes them tick, or what they are passionate about in a positive, meaningful way. One tip is read the book by Simon Sinek” Start With Why, How great leaders Inspire everyone to take action” by Portfolio Publishing before you go to your next networking event.
What are your messages
After the event, what is your message or messages, as some people are hard to get a hold of? Sometimes it takes more than one follow up message. Is it a successful template format that you use, or do you make it up as you go?
We all know that the most successful advisors have more processes than the average advisor. If this Is one of your processes to meet, communicate and acquire more ideal clients, how can you make it better? If this is NOT a process you have now, you are absolutely missing out on one of the best strategies to find and acquire ideal clients. Find someone who can help you on this before another event goes by, and another opportunity wasted.
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