My entire practice has been built through networking, and I devote a lot of time to networking efforts.
When I moved to Dallas 10 years ago, I did not know many people here. I decided to take meetings with anyone who I felt was sincerely interested in learning about me and what I do. By following this process diligently, I progressed from working with only a handful of clients to being one of the top producers at our national firm in just three years.
Whenever I have a meeting with somebody, my goal is to make two to five introductions for them that will help them either personally or professionally. Now, when I am talking to someone at an event, somebody else will inevitably walk up and say, “If you haven’t met with Mary, you should. She knows everybody! She’ll make introductions for you right off the bat, and she’ll be able to connect you to the people you need to know.” Because of this, people are very willing to take a meeting with me.
After spending a half-hour talking to somebody about what’s important to them and making introductions that will actually help them, the next question they will usually ask is, “How can I help you?” My answer is always, “Spend an hour with me. Let me show you what I do, because I don’t want you to make introductions for me unless you know what I do and think it could help your contacts.”
What happens then is they see exactly how my client process works. I would say 50% of the time, even if the purpose of the meeting was only to gather information, people ask me if I will look at their investment portfolio or their current financial plan to see if they should tweak something.
I have taken this process over the years to the next level by rising to leadership positions in several networking groups in the Dallas area, including groups with a focus on women in the business world. I also give of my time to charitable organizations. This has been personally gratifying, helps the community, and further expands my network in a meaningful and productive way.
A final piece has been my emphasis on teaching seminars on business networking. I have taught business-building networking principles that touch on several areas: how people can identify worthwhile events and organizations to be part of, tactics for meeting the right people who can impact your business, and how to get people engaged in your success and you in theirs. I have taught these classes for local business organizations and national industry groups and will be teaching a class this year for a national leadership summit.
- Identify worthwhile organizations and events for networking.
- Provide new contacts with valuable personal and business introductions.
- Make sure contacts have a good understanding of your firm’s business goals.
Disclosure: Registered representative and investment advisor representative of and securities offered through OneAmerica Securities Inc., a registered investment advisor, member FINRA, SIPC. Wealth Woman and Personal Economics Group are not affiliates of OneAmerica Securities or the companies of OneAmerica and are not broker-dealers or registered investment advisors.
This article first published in Proactive Advisor Magazine on October 25, 2018, Volume 20, Issue 4.
Photography by Shannon Skloss
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