By: Abby Salameh, Chief Marketing Officer
Published September 20, 2017
Networking can be a powerful growth strategy for financial advisors. That said, many advisors don’t take advantage of networking opportunities. Why? Most will say they don’t have time, but successful advisors know that networking can be the biggest key to unlocking future business success. Advisors should focus on two different types of networking activities, specifically. The first is networking with other financial advisors at conferences and events. The second is networking locally, in one’s community to prospect for new business. Both strategies are equally important for success in a practice.
There is Value in Networking with Experienced Financial Advisors
Here, Tim Brunnock talks about the resources that PAG brings to the table. He specifically mentions the conferences. So many of our existing and prospective advisors have expressed to us how much they value the sharing of ideas and best practices that takes place at our conferences and in our study groups. In fact, our advisors say that study groups are one of the things they appreciate most about being a part of PAG. The ideas that resonate among a specific group of like-minded advisors enables the group members to learn from each other’s achievements. They also learn from each other’s mistakes so they can avoid some common pitfalls. The benefits are evidenced by the successes of the youngest advisors in our network.
Here, Max Weintraub indicates how he leverages networking opportunities within his study group. As a younger advisor, he brings fresh ideas to the table for more senior advisors. At the same time, he’s learning from more seasoned professionals. This type of peer sharing is priceless.
How to Find and Plan for Quality Networking Opportunities
In your local community, there are several ways to network. Many advisors leverage BNI, the local business owners networking group. Some advisors join the chamber of commerce and get involved that way. There are also many community-based opportunities that can pay off like sponsoring a local sports team or sponsoring a fundraiser in the community. These activities will increase exposure for your brand and get your firm’s name out there.
When you’re in a social situation and networking, it is important to have done your homework. Smart advisors will ask for the attendee list of an event in advance so they can see who will be in the room and decipher the opportunities. They then make it a point to seek out those who will be most influential. Have a goal in mind for your networking event, so you understand what you hope to achieve. For instance, a goal might be to engage with three prospective clients who are business owners and offer to provide them with a complimentary business valuation (PAG advisors can do this through our relationship with BizEquity).
Another goal might be to seek out centers of influence—professionals in the community who could be good referral sources—and schedule a lunch to explore synergies. Give yourself a time limit, say two weeks, get the lunch scheduled and stay accountable to your goal.
Don’t Miss Out on the Power of Networking
In closing, there are many ways to leverage the power of networking. We mention just a few here. There are industry conferences like the FSI Forum and the FPA Retreat that are open to all advisors. Most custodians and broker-dealers also host their own conferences year-round. These are fabulous ways to connect with other advisors who understand your business and are open to sharing their successes and failures.
In addition, your local community will have a series of networking events in which you can participate. Once you get connected there, you could even form your own networking group. I know of one advisor who meets with five or six other local professionals monthly to talk about what’s happening in the community. One of the members of this informal group is a realtor and alerts the advisor when there is someone selling a house and downsizing or when a new family is moving into the neighborhood. Excellent intel for an advisor seeking growth!
The bottom line is that as an advisor, you must get involved. So, go ahead and sponsor that golf outing, go to the next chamber of commerce meeting and definitely network with the other professionals in your neighborhood. The time you invest will be time well spent.