Networking can be a great way to build your professional contacts list and engage with prospective clients. After all, you’ve likely heard that it’s who you know, not what you know, that matters in business. And that’s true to some extent, since making the right connections at the right time could help open doors. Knowing how to network as a financial advisor can be key to growing your business.
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Why Is Networking Important for Financial Advisors?
Your network can be a pipeline for opportunities and if you’re not tending it regularly, it could be at risk of running dry. Networking can help you to establish your reputation in the finance space, which may be helpful if you’re looking for opportunities to advance your career. It’s also easier to position yourself as an expert in your specific niche if your name is recognizable to other advisors or industry leaders.
If you’re new to the advisory space, networking can be a good way to find a mentor if that’s something you’re looking for. A mentor can be invaluable if they’re willing to offer guidance and advice as you work on building your business. The larger your professional circle, the greater the possibility of connecting with someone who may be comfortable assuming that role.
Networking is also a chance to meet with prospective clients in an informal setting. You may be leveraging digital marketing and social media to promote your business, but networking events can bring you together face-to-face. That’s a chance for you to showcase what it is that makes you and your business unique.
How to Network as a Financial Advisor
There are different ways to expand your professional network, and some may be more attractive than others. Before you get too far along in the process, it helps to consider what your goals are for networking. That can determine where you focus your time and energy.
With that in mind, here are some of the best options for networking as a financial advisor.
Join a Professional Association
Professional associations can be a great place to start with networking, as they may facilitate connections between members. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), for example, has a Community feature that allows member advisors to join in open discussions. Advisors can also network in person at NAPFA’s annual spring and fall conference events.
You can also look for local associations to join that are specific to your area. That can include professional associations as well as community associations, such as a Rotary Club or Kiwanis Club chapter. These types of associations can provide opportunities for networking as well as a chance to give back to your community.
Participate in Community Events
Local events may yield opportunities to meet other advisors or increase your visibility in the community. There may be an advisor meetup group you could join that gets together for networking once a month, for instance. Or you may attend a local small business fair sponsored by the chamber of commerce.
If those types of events are few and far between in your area, you could take the lead and create one yourself. For example, you might establish a meetup group and invite other advisors in a similar niche. Or you may approach the chamber of commerce or a local college about hosting a free financial workshop that’s targeted toward your ideal client.
Don’t Neglect Social Media
Social media and digital marketing can be powerful tools for networking and elevating your advisory business. LinkedIn, for example, can be an excellent resource for building professional connections with advisors and other individuals in the finance industry.
You can also use social media to network with prospective clients in an informal way. For example, if your target audience spends a lot of time on TikTok, then it might be worth your while to learn how to make short clips that are packed with valuable tips. Or you might opt to spend time on Twitter or YouTube if that’s where the followers you’d most like to attract hang out.
Tips for Networking as a Financial Advisor
Knowing where to position yourself for networking is important, but that’s only part of the equation. If you want to know how to network as a financial advisor successfully, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind.
When you meet someone new, that person is essentially a blank page. Asking questions can help you to fill in the blanks. The best kinds of questions to ask are ones that leave room for an open-ended answer versus a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. That can make it easier to keep the conversation going and develop a back-and-forth discussion.
Once you start asking questions, take time to listen to the answers and absorb what the other person is saying. That can give you insight into their thought patterns and guide you as to what questions to ask next. And if they’re the ones asking the questions, try to answer without rambling or going too far off-topic.
Be a Facilitator
Networking isn’t a one-way street and it’s possible that you might be in a position to make an introduction for someone else. Doing so could help you get in the good books of both parties. The key is to make sure the connection is a good one and that both people will benefit from becoming acquainted with the other. If one party ends up dissatisfied, that could reflect negatively on you.
Once you make a new connection you’ll need to do a little more work to maintain it. That might be as simple as a monthly phone call or email just to say hello. And if someone you’ve networked with reaches out to you, don’t leave them hanging. A short, sweet reply to an email or a quick 5-minute chat may be all that’s needed to let that person know you haven’t forgotten about them.
The Bottom Line
Networking is an important part of what you do as an advisor and it can be critical to scaling your business. There’s more than one way to build a network effectively and it may be helpful to experiment with different ideas to see what yields the biggest payoff.
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