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6 steps to better networking for financial advisers

6 steps to better networking for financial advisers

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By Eamonn Twomey ·
November 27 2015

6 steps to better networking for financial advisers

Networking is an important business activity, but it's one that fills a lot of advisers with dread.

6 steps to better networking for financial advisers
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They think of standing around in crowded rooms with no one to talk to, or being pinned in the corner with somebody talking endlessly about some mind-numbingly boring topic. And so while most people recognise the importance of networking, few do enough of it. In fact, I find it's the one activity that causes the most discomfort when it ends up on the marketing plan for a financial adviser.

So what can you do to make it easier and more effective? After all, if it actually works and helps you generate new clients, you are much more likely to continue to do it.

Recognise that it isn't easy

It isn't easy… but it isn't easy for anyone. So while you might think that it's easier for certain people, that tends to be because they've worked really hard at becoming good at networking.

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However, while some people might appear to find it easier than others, everyone at least has a common purpose - they are there to build connections. So approach it from the point of view that at least everyone has the same goal and that they are open to talking to you.

You must have a strategy

At the end of the day, you've got to be standing in the traffic if you want to get knocked down! But it's not enough to wander blindly into a networking event without a clue of how you're about to approach it.

This starts before the event where you try and get a handle on who is likely to be there. Are there lists of attendees available in advance? Can you check out who the members of the business group/conference attendees are? Once you have an idea of who will be there, you can start thinking about who your preferred 'targets' are. And then you can start doing some quick research on them through their website and LinkedIn profile. And this research will hopefully come in handy later.

Be a first mover

Don't just head for your pals and spend your night in deep conversation with them. By all means, if they are in a group of people that you want to meet, take the opportunity to get introduced into the group. But be active and make the first move to start conversations. Others will thank you for this and it also gives you the opportunity to guide the conversation.

Be interested

And this is where your research comes in handy. If you can show a level of interest in the people you meet - some knowledge of their business, some connections you have in common, it might even be that you know about some quirky interest of theirs, this will ease them into the conversation as you are opening the door for them to talk about themselves. And then be interested because your interest in them will come back in spades. They will naturally want to reciprocate and turn the conversation towards you, which of course is then your opening.

Hone your own pitch

When you get over the initial chit-chat and move on to talking about your reason for being at the event and what you have to offer, this simply has to be interesting and must grab their attention.

They will be talking to many people that day, so you must be memorable in some way. If you are pitching your wares, paint pictures of solutions, don't just say you're such a great financial adviser. Let people see how you will solve problems for them and enrich their lives in some way.

Follow up brilliantly

Then when all the hard work is done, make sure you take the final step.

Contact people after the event saying how it was great to meet them and thanking them for their time. Connect with them on LinkedIn and if you send out a company newsletter, suggest that they be added to the circulation list. Send them information if this makes sense. If there's a favour you can do for them, maybe there's someone else you can introduce them to - well then this is even better.

So no, networking is not easy. But hopefully these few thoughts might make the task a little less daunting for you.

 


 

Pic Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX

Eamonn Twomey is the principal of marketing and strategy business StepChange.

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