I was speaking with a relatively new advisor the other day who was frustrated by his networking efforts. He said, “I’m just not meeting anyone who can meet my firm’s minimums.”
When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was primarily attending Young Professional events. It didn’t take too many follow-up questions from me before he realized that spending time with that demographic wasn’t likely to yield many qualified prospects.
The challenge is that to many advisors, “networking” means networking groups – groups that are specifically designed for professional interaction. The members of these groups are generally more interested in what they can receive than what they can give.
A better approach is to get involved with your community.
Here are three things to keep in mind when looking for places to get involved.
- Do you have a strong personal interest in the organization? In other words, would you join the group even if you weren’t an advisor? I recently heard of an advisor who joined a running group to spend more time with a prospect. Unfortunately, the advisor had never run as much as 5k. Consequently, he was facing an uphill climb to be seen as truly belonging to that group.
- Does the organization have people you would like to have as clients? If it’s a board position, who are the other board members? If you will be working with kids, will you have many opportunities to interact with the parents?
- Will you have an opportunity to highlight your best attributes? Will the other members of the group see you as adding significant value to the group? As we’ll cover next week, your goal should always be to demonstrate the characteristics that others value in financial advisors.
Need some ideas to get started? Here are seven different ways to get involved:
- Fine arts
- Nonprofits/charitable organizations
- Religious groups
- Neighborhood groups
If you’d like an expanded list with suggestions for each category, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a mind map with ideas.