Women are naturally great networkers which is a valuable asset as a female financial advisor. While women tend to be great communicators in general many female advisors have lost their way. They are caught between the world of networking, making that valuable connection and selling; when you mix the two, YOU LOSE.
I decided it’s time to review the networking process, now I’m not talking about networking at a “networking” event. I’m focusing on how to network in a natural or social environment. The purpose is to develop relationships with new acquaintances at the event and to potentially create the opportunity to meet again 1 on 1. So if you feel your networking skills are a little dull and you want to sharpen the saw just focus on these key steps.
1. The focus is on THEM: You should attend the event looking forward to getting to know new people and to learn as much as you can about each person. By asking great questions you will open the other person up lowering their natural defenses and creating more of a rapport.
2. Make a Connection: As the other person is sharing information try to tie pieces of their information to experiences you have had with clients. Without divulging names or details you can intrigue the other person to want to know more purely based on your client experience.
EXAMPLE: “You know it’s interesting, I had a client referred to me that had the same experience (they now know you have some kind of clients)
3. Share your message: At this point they should ask “what do you do?” This is where you want your message to be clear, compelling and engaging causing the person to continue to ask you questions. If you are talking for more than 30 seconds at a time before they ask another question you are SELLING, which will immediately turn them off. (If after asking lots of questions and allowing them to talk about themselves if they don’t ask about you kindly excuse yourself and move on. Odds are they will never ask about you or if they do it’s only to be polite.)
4. They open up: If all goes well and you are able to share the key nuggets of your practice more than likely they may open up and indicate they have investments as well. This is where the process becomes an ART not a SCIENCE. At this juncture you have two options:
- Let them know that you don’t like to talk about work at a social event, why don’t we get together for lunch/coffee this week then I can learn more about your situation and tell you what I do.
- If they have not really opened up you can then prepare to excuse yourself (as there are many others to meet) and suggest that they attend your upcoming event as your guest. Express that you would love to have them come and believe they would really find value in the message.
5. Get their Email Address: no matter how it ends if you have come this far be sure to get their email address so that you can continue to drip and connect with them.
There is no fool proof secret to networking but the key is to be more interested in them which should drive them to be interested in you. If you catch yourself doing most of the talking you are DEFINITELY doing something wrong.