For quick networking wins to help grow your business

This article first appeared in Professional Adviser.

In the popular animated television show Rick & Morty, there’s an episode where the Rick, the mad-cap protagonist, finds himself transported to another universe and must dance for a group of aliens to prove himself and ensure survival.

You may be asking yourself what industry relevance this has, but it’s not too dissimilar to what financial advisers have to do on a daily basis to justify their existence and keep themselves in business.

Networking plays an important role here.

For many, the idea of mingling with strangers is their worst nightmare. However, it’s a crucial means of marketing your business, so it’s important to find those activities that work for you.

If you’re smart about it, there are quick and inexpensive ways of generating referrals and winning new business. For example:

Getting involved with local organisations

For many advisers, the majority of business comes via word-of-mouth referrals, meaning those who aren’t investing time to meet and interact with others in their field or local area may be missing out on valuable opportunities to forge new partnerships.

Don’t rule anything out. Networking can happen anywhere, from your local tennis club’s annual social to a formal Chamber of Commerce dinner. By looking online or on social media, you may also find breakfast clubs in your locality where professionals from any number of disciplines meet to exchange ideas. If you’re lucky, you may come across a local solicitor looking for a trusted local financial planner to refer their clients to.

Speak at industry events

As a financial adviser, you possess sought after knowledge, technical skill and experience. Why not share these at an industry event? This will not only pitch you as an authority in your sector, but you will almost certainly meet new contacts.

From Chamber of Commerce meetings, to specialist conferences and local societies run by professional bodies who want to promote knowledge sharing at a local level, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Commit to speaking, hand out your contact details and follow-up to offer support with clients who may have issues your services could help solve.

Host roadshows or seminars

Hosting your own events is a good way of highlighting specific areas of expertise to potential introducers – and doesn’t have to cost the earth. If you are a specialist in providing advice to divorcees, for example, you could invite local accountants and solicitors to a small seminar, to run them through what steps people should take. That way you will be front of mind when their clients go through a similar experience.

Professionals will benefit from your knowledge and technical advice and can also use the session as part of their Continuing Professional Development. Hosting events such as this will also help build your position as a go-to in that area, in turn, potentially leading to these professionals getting in touch with you to advise their clients.

Run sessions for clients

There is often a discrepancy between how keen clients are to refer their adviser and how many actually refer. Research conducted by one of our agencies found that the overwhelming majority of clients are happy to recommend their financial planner, while just 60% have ever made a recommendation. Many won’t even know that you welcome referrals and others might not know which type of client you’re looking for. It’s your job to educate them.

Hosting client socials or educational sessions is a good way of keeping contact with clients and remind them about your service. You may also take the opportunity to encourage them to refer you to their contacts, or bring a friend or colleague with them who may considering financial advice. Aside from demonstrating your thanks and commitment to existing clients, you could meet potential prospects too.

Networking is an important way of establishing professional connections and generating new opportunities. In resolving to put yourself out there in 2020, you may put yourself on the path to growing your business and achieving its long-term goals.