Financial advisors are usually looking to broaden their relationships and networking seems like a natural fit to help with this. Going to events and meeting new people must be good, right? Well, networking only works when an advisor is strategic and thoughtful about how they approach it. Time is more valuable than money in many cases, so make your time work for you.
Networking events are most decidedly not created equal. Find out who will be attending and what the goal of the event is. If it’s purely networking, everyone is there to promote their business and advance their cause so you want to be careful which events you choose and who you expect to meet there.
To make best use of your time at your next networking event, consider the following: Have a goal for what you want to accomplish. Are you hoping to just practice your personal pitch or your elevator speech? Do you expect to meet someone who can refer you to high net worth investors? Are you searching for COIs you can partner with to advance your business? Be clear on what you want to get out of the event and what success looks like to you. Ask much and listen even more. While you may think that the whole point is to “pitch” yourself or your services, you want to learn as much about who is there and who you are speaking to as you can. While you don’t want to just ignore an unqualified individual, you certainly don’t want to waste your evening talking to people who are not a fit. Instead of pitching to everyone, seek to understand. Ask questions and practice interested inquiry to learn, learn, learn about the attendees. Extricate yourself politely when the fit isn’t there. You want to learn about others, but you don’t want to make new friends in most cases. You are at the event in order to promote your advisory services and find people who can be good prospects or referral candidates. Be jealous about your time and don’t waste it on those who are not a fit for what you do.
It’s true that networking can lead to long-term relationships, and you may meet someone who can help you promote your business. If you aren’t strategic and thoughtful, though, it can also be a time waster. Not all business building activities are good ones. Be sure you are leveraging your time most effectively, attending those events that fit your focus and spending time with the right people while you are networking.