Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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Many advisors believe their next-generation employees could build a book of business from networking. After all, the lead advisor attended a lot of events, talked to a lot of people and found a lot of business that way! Unfortunately the old-fashioned networking that worked for you no longer succeeds.
In addition, with the advent of social media, networking can be just linking in with someone and sending out tweets or updates on your profile. But does anyone read them? Are you reaching the right audience?
Networking is important, but there are ways to do it well.
Consider these four tips to making networking work for your team:
- Just because it’s called a “networking event” doesn’t mean it’s the right event for you and your firm. Networking events are most decidedly not created equal. Find out who will be attending and the goal of the event. If it’s purely networking, realize that everyone there will be trying to meet and greet. If it’s an event with a different purpose, but opportunities to network will exist during the event, be sure you are interested in the topic and the people it will likely draw. And never go to a networking event where other advisors are vying for the same audience. Remember that most people go because they want to sell something or find a good contact, not because they want to meet you. Be judicious about where you spend your time and make it worth your while.
- Have a goal for what you want to accomplish. Are you hoping to practice your personal pitch or your elevator speech? Are you hoping you will find a high-value prospect? Do you want to become more confident in your interpersonal skills? Know what you expect to get out of the event and establish your success criteria in advance. These events can be fine for practice, especially for your next-gen team members. Just set a reasonable goal at the outset so you aren’t disappointed.
- 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. Is the person a qualified candidate for you to do business with at some point? Are they going to be interested in you and what you do? The fastest way to get someone interested in you is to show an interest in them. And don’t just ask the basic “Where do you live and what do you do?” questions. Ask things like “What do you like best about your work?” “How did you decide living (in this town, or this city) was right for you and your family?” “How do you make decisions about which events like this you will attend, and which you will skip?” Get the person to reveal something about themselves and learn, learn, learn.
Read the full article here by Beverly Flaxington, Advisor Perspectives