And even if you’re not! Top producers ask me many of the same questions about networking that the rookies ask me. The only difference is the top producers and conference qualifiers tend to have more market (as in their book of business) than time as opposed to having more time than market. Obviously, the established financial advisor has a lot more leverage given they have their book of business with whom to leverage, learn from, and generate more business.
Here’s a quick process to help the rookies hit the ground running and prevent the grizzled vets from getting, well, more grizzled.
Meet the pros. Make a list of all the aspects you need to learn to become a successful advisor. Scheduling sales appointments, networking, knowledge of specific products (life insurance, annuities, etc.), conducting a presentation at an appointment, fact-finding, seminars, and closing business should be at the top of your list. Next to each aspect you’ve jotted down, list each advisor within your firm that excels in each of those areas. Now it’s up to you to schedule some time with each of those advisors and learn their trade secrets. What makes them so great? That’s internal networking, baby! And a great way to get to know others that can help you at your firm. By the way, top producers can do this too!
Develop a target market. Every 0-4 (years as an advisor) should decide on a target market or two. No more than two. Give yourself no more than a week to decide. Pick one today – industry, profession, market segment, demographic, dynamic, geography. Narrow it down. Now, narrow it down again! Spend the next month learning about it and meeting people connected to it. You can always shift to a different marketplace if you feel you haven’t chosen the right one. But it’s so important for you to have a target and get focused. And stay focused!
Create your positioning statement. Some call it an elevator pitch. I don’t. Reason? I don’t think you should be pitching your wares. The people you meet when networking are not your prospects – unless they tell you they are! Simply be prepared to talk about your profession, expertise, target market, and call to action (who specifically you’re looking to connect with given your target market) when asked. And watch what happens.
Practice your positioning statement. With your natural market. With your target market. With your clients. With those you meet at events. With strangers on the street. Practice, practice! Make sure you’re looking to help the other guy (or woman) too! And remember to make your approach a “we” thing rather than a “me” thing! That’s what networking is all about.
Go to where they hang out. Your target market that is! Learn about where your marketplace spends their time. Attend their meetings, join their groups. Get involved! This might be a chamber, networking group, or association (my preference). Be armed with questions to learn more.
Make a list. And check it twice. Get organized and begin compiling a list of those in your target market and establish a “stay in touch” strategy with them. This should be collaborative. COI’s (not always obvious) to your target market should be included. Learn who they are. Establish ground rules and timeframes to stay in touch, learn from one another, exchange business, and go from there.
Rinse and repeat!
Does this approach sound easy? It’s not. It’s tough as hell. But the “work” is in the word network for a reason. Like anything else it just takes commitment, practice, and ruthless persistence.
Just set aside time when that rookie producer in your firm wants to learn from you!read more