Networking Strategies for Financial Advisors in 2023

For financial advisors to avoid spinning their wheels, networking in 2023 must be relationship-driven and reciprocal. No one has time for one-sided engagements, and financial advisors’ business relationships are no exception.

Financial advisors should focus on their end goal beyond simply getting new business. The initial contact is the easy part. Building a framework that can deliver time and time again in networking efforts is the challenge.

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The Capital Group reports that 62% of the highest-growth advisory firms are more likely to have standard operating procedures, or SOPs, in place across a range of activities, including prospecting. Pulling back the layers, the prospecting and networking techniques that growth-oriented firms use to accelerate revenue take a variety of forms. What doesn’t vary, though, is their attention to clear strategy, intent and consistency.

If you take this energetic, systematic approach to networking, you are more likely to increase the visibility of your brand and attract inquiries into your services. Strategic partners will take notice and request opportunities to connect with you.

Here are six networking strategies for financial advisors to get the best results:

— Make a good impression to win prospects.

— Offer value to networking partners.

— Normalize sharing referrals.

— Grow your network through business partners.

— Build a clear strategy.

— Move with intent and be consistent.

[READ: How Advisors Can Help Clients Invest an Inheritance]

Make a Good Impression to Win Prospects

Networking can happen when you least expect it. You may be holding a conversation with a random stranger standing in line for coffee. You might learn that they’re interested in retiring early but are unsure if it can be done. As the conversation continues, it’s important to present your best self. Be friendly but not too intrusive to determine whether this person would like to discuss their financial plans further.

Another example: Say you’re taking a taxi to a restaurant and the driver strikes up a conversation about careers that leads to questions about the financial planning services you offer. Here’s an opportunity to offer a business card to the driver and potentially set up a meeting down the road.

Offer Value to Networking Partners

What’s a great way to impress networking partners? Learn how they make money before you make a request to partner up. Be more invested in being a resource to them to establish the relationship. Individuals tend to be more open to requests for help if you’ve offered to help them first.

The request can be as simple as introducing them to someone in your network. You may also learn about a personal need your colleague has that you can provide a solution for. The after-effects of COVID-19 linger, and some people are still struggling. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Be a good resource and keep your word to people in your network. As time goes on, you’ll build up a reputation as someone they can count on.

Normalize Sharing Referrals

To give a referral or not to give a referral: That is a question that comes up for most business owners. One challenge I’ve seen for individuals in giving referrals is that they’re not sure to whom they should refer you. If you create a process in your business where referrals are normalized, that makes it easier for you to receive referrals. For example, you could write an introduction paragraph to share with colleagues that has a clear description of who you’d like to be introduced to. Most people don’t have a lot of time to devote to making referrals, but designing a foolproof system increases your chances of getting one.

Systems that are repeated in your business become a part of your operational framework. If the process is used throughout your firm, the potential for referrals grows exponentially.

[READ: Advisors: Is It Time to Adjust Your Investing Strategy?]

Grow Your Network Through Business Partners

Financial advisors can grow their firms by building on relationships with other financial advisory firms. Let’s be honest: There’s no way you can serve everyone. Plus, some clients just aren’t a good fit for some firms. If you have developed a short list of firms with which you’ve built relationships, you’ve created a pathway to possible future referrals. There are no guarantees, but if a budding relationship is based on a mutual benefit, your chances of being called for an opportunity increase. This is a warm referral pathway, and of course warm leads are better than cold ones.

Build a Clear Strategy

Networking can be viewed through a multidimensional lens. It’s not just about meeting new people; it’s about positioning yourself well and thinking about your long-term goals. For most business owners, the purpose of networking is to grow their business, have influence, make an impact or all three. Your game plan has layers; for instance, you may find it advantageous to network with therapists or counselors if you serve individuals who’ve experienced a transition event, such as the death of a spouse or a divorce. Most financial advisors network with their traditional go-to contacts (attorneys, insurance agents and accountants), but think outside the box to find other networking partners.

Move With Intent and Be Consistent

Intention should go hand-in-hand with strategy. What good is a strategy if you don’t intend to implement it? Advisors who implement a plan are more successful than those who let it sit on the shelf, and you’ll get more out of any system you create with intention. Consistent steps are better than seeking perfection.

By adopting these strategies, you’ll have a chance to build consistency into your networking efforts. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box and build the best networking strategies that will give you the highest return on your time and energy.

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