I’m a big believer in business networking. I feel that it’s very important for financial advisors to get out of their offices and meet other business professionals, community leaders, and those who may need their services.
The trouble is, most financial advisors do NOT build networking into their weekly calendar leaving them isolated and office bound without a wide network of referral partners.
What is effective networking? It is cultivating relationships with potential referral partners and business owners in your town or metropolitan area. It means going to events, getting out of your office, and talking about what you do for a living.
Do financial advisors need a networking strategy?
You may need a strategy if 3-5 of these points apply to you:
- You have less than 500 contacts on LinkedIn
- You are not getting out of the office at least once or twice weekly
- You don’t have referral partners to provide your clients when they need specific services
- You receive very few referrals from business professionals
- You want to grow your practice but you don’t know how
Where do you start when you’ve decided that you need to cultivate a referral network? What are the first steps in deciding how to be an effective networker?
Top financial advisor networking groups
Put your thinking cap on and create a strategy to uncover groups where you can network. Follow these 5 steps, then consult the list below to decide where you’ll spend your time.
Step 1: Create goals for your networking strategy
Why do you want more business exposure? How many new meaningful relationships would you like to cultivate? Do you want to attract new clients via networking?
Step 2: Review your existing network
Who do you already know? What type of new contacts do you need? How much time can you devote to attending events?
Step 3: Find suitable networking events
Call your existing network. What events do they attend that might be worthwhile? Can they invite you as their guest? Where does your target market hang out? Ask your top five clients to share the groups they belong to and ask if they will be your guide in attending.
Step 4: Make a networking plan
Open your calendar and plan out the events you will attend over the next few months. Get familiar with your elevator speech and make sure you have plenty of business cards to hand out.
Step 5: Follow up
Most networking fails in the follow up. Always block time on your calendar to follow up with new contacts you meet and make notes on what stood out for you. Make sure you do what you said you would do. Make appointments to meet in person if you feel there was a meaningful connection and if you think there’s a possibility for new business or referrals.
What are the best networking groups for financial advisors?
- Industry groups where your target markets hang out
- Estate planning councils in your area
- Speed networking groups
- Association for Corporate Growth: ACG Global
- Your local chamber of commerce
- Meetup Groups
- NY/NJ CPAs, professionals in Accounting Networking
- Real Estate Development Groups
- The Future of Accounting Meetup – San Francisco
- American Association of Finance and Accounting
- The Institute of Internal Auditors
- Institute of Management Accountants
- Professional Association of Small Business Accountants
- Young CPA Network
- Society of CPA’s
- Estate Planning Group Network
- National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys
- Young Lawyer’s Network
- Business Network International
- Le Tip
- American Marketing Association
- Rotary Club International
- Arizona Technology Council
- Technology Networking Groups
- Toastmasters International
- Social Groups
- Master Mind Groups
- Women In Business Networking
- Your local Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
- Merchants’ Associations
- Young Entrepreneur Council
Armed with a networking strategy, you will be able to avoid common marketing mistakes, make more contacts, get the word out, and grow your business. You can’t do that if you’re stuck in the office every day of the week.
If you want to grow your practice, brand your firm, and create a prospecting plan, please contact me for a consultation!
Here are the other mistakes in this series: