Leads groups and networking groups: As a financial advisor, there are a lot of ways you can get new clients. New clients can find you online. You might get referrals from current clients. You could meet new clients at events.
If you are looking to get new clients, you might want to consider business coaching. Marketing coaching and sales and prospecting coaching can both help you to get new clients as well as help you improve your business in other ways.
In the work that I do, one way I often help financial executives who own their businesses strategize on how to get new clients, is through other business professionals. Business professionals that you know can refer their clients to you.
This can be a great way to have new clients find you.
First, business professionals can often be centers of influence. They can have connections to potential clients that need your service. They can know the right types of clients, know enough of them, and have a good relationship with them. They might also be corporate executives or business owners who can afford you with other opportunities. If you are a business leader yourself, you might find you have additional opportunities as well.
Second, a referral is always a good way to start a business relationship. Having someone speak for you starts the relationship and starts it on the right foot. It gets you past the initial phase of introducing yourself to a client. Someone has already done it for you.
If you’re considering growing your client base through referrals from business professionals, there are a number of ways you could approach the process. You could, for example, connect with business professionals through social media. This can be effective if done right and you follow up.
Another way you can you obtain referrals from business professionals is by being a member of an organization or a group. For example, you might be on the board of a charity or a volunteer for one. This can be a good way to meet business professionals, and those professionals could refer potential clients to you.
This method though does have some drawbacks.
First, you might not meet the right kind of business professionals. You are looking to meet professionals who have clients that are similar to the ones you serve, that they can refer to you.
Second, when you are a member of a group or an organization, while you can obtain business referrals, that isn’t your primary purpose for being there. You are there for some other reason and you don’t want to come across badly by seeming like you joined just to gain business.
Third, as a member of a group or an organization, you’d have to find appropriate times to mention your business and that you are looking for new clients. Depending on circumstances, this might not happen that often. Also, it most likely won’t happen in a structured way.
This is where lead and networking groups come in. These are organizations you can join, where the main purpose for members being there is to get referrals for their businesses. Everyone is there for the same reason. Everything is upfront, things are more structured, and you can have more opportunities.
This then raises the question: Is belonging to leads groups a good idea for financial advisors?
Should financial advisors join leads groups?
There are some good reasons why financial advisor should join leads groups.
First, as mentioned, having business professionals refer clients to you, can be a good way to get new clients. As a member of a leads group, you can have an increased opportunity to get these referrals.
Second, also as mentioned, because of the structure of a leads group, you can meet more business professionals and have more opportunities to get referrals from them.
Third, leads groups can give you an opportunity to meet business professionals you might not have met in any other way. It can be a good way to expand your network.
Fourth, leads groups often have other opportunities available to members. They might have online resources, retreats or class, and they might have marketing opportunities.
Fifth, leads groups have something in common with coaching – they provide structure, motivation, and accountability. While you might say you are going to generate leads on your own, you might not approach it with the diligence you should. It can be all too easy to say, “I’ll generate leads tomorrow.”
When you join a group though, there is a sense of accountability. You signed up. You paid money. People are expecting you to be there. People are expecting you to participate. This arrangement can make your efforts at generating leads more successful than if you went about it on your own.
Sixth, being part of a leads group gives you an opportunity to get more than just referrals. Because you are meeting with business professionals who have the same goal of growing their businesses, you can have an opportunity to learn. You can discuss business ideas and find out what works and what doesn’t from other professionals.
Considerations in joining a leads group
There are some things you should keep in mind though if you are considering joining a leads group.
First, there is a cost. Joining these groups isn’t free (is anything anymore?). There is a price for the opportunity to network and get referrals.
Second, it takes commitment. You can’t just join a group and think the referrals are going to come. Being part of a group means regularly attending meetings and interacting with others.
Third, you should consider if you are going to meet the right people as part of a group.
Unfortunately, some people join leads organizations just to get referrals or to sell their business. They might have no intention of reciprocating. You should check that the people in the local groups you could join are there to get, and also give, referrals.
Similarly, be sure the group you are considering joining contains the right kind of members. You want to join a group that contains professionals who are doing well in their businesses. You also want to make sure that they are in professions that are likely to give referrals to a financial advisor. Check and see if the groups you are considering screen members in any way.
Fourth, as a member of a leads group, you are expected to give referrals to others. This is an integral part of being a member and it is something important to understand. You can’t just be there to get referrals. It is important that you be comfortable with, committed to, and have the ability to give referrals to other members.
Fifth, if you are introverted, you might find interacting at these groups difficult. Being a member is all about talking, relationships, meeting new people, being comfortable with people, and being comfortable referring business to the people you meet. If this sounds like walking on hot coals to you, you might consider joining simply to get out of your comfort zone and build new skills!
What are some leads groups financial advisors can join?
One group you might consider joining is Business Network International. They have over two hundred and fifty thousand members, and over nine thousand chapters.
As a member of BNI, you can meet business professionals with the same goal of growing their businesses. You can attend meetings at a local chapter and they also have other resources you can take advantage of.
Another group you might consider joining is LeTip. I was a member of LeTip for four years and I really enjoyed the experience. At one time I was working with six members of the group!
With LeTip you attend weekly meetings and also have the opportunity to develop public speaking skills.
According to their about page, “Only one representative of any given profession is accepted into a chapter, and members are chosen for their occupational expertise.” This can be beneficial because you will be the only financial advisor in any one chapter and therefore the only one who provides the services that you do. They also have other requirements that you might find beneficial.
You can also find other leads groups that are local to your area. Simply search for business lead/referral/networking group along with your area, and explore the possibilities that you find.
Additionally, you can also find or create a group through something like Meetup.
Joining a leads group isn’t for every financial advisor. It takes a certain personality and commitment. Getting a benefit from it takes effort.
If a leads group fits your situation though, it can be a great tactic to add to your marketing mix. It can help you meet new people, get referrals, and learn from others in business. It can provide you with structure and motivation that can help you in your efforts to get more client referrals.