Networking is a vital part of building up an advice business, but most advisors have been taught the wrong way to network, according to networking strategist Julia Palmer:
Nearly every job title I have trained to network over the years has shared the sentiment that they dislike networking.
There is no escaping the fact that the word ‘networking’ has a dirty connotation in business. In my opinion, this is because most people have been taught the wrong way to network or not been taught at all! It is an expectation of each role in some capacity or another but unfortunately most people fear, dread, or simply avoid it. Worse still are those who feel forced to network and put on a different persona to help them cope, making them quite awkward and sometimes even fake versions of themselves – which is never nice to meet!
The financial services industry is one of the most networked, but the last few years have seen the gaps widen and the pressure increase. Having worked closely with some of the market’s biggest banks, financial planners, insurers and mortgage brokers, I know only too well how vital relationships are to success. The good news is, by taking a look at how you network and making changes to be more strategic, you can increase your influence and operate in stronger networks.
Apply your networking strategy to all your relationships: organisational, industry, suppliers, stakeholders, clients, community and, of course, personal.
MODERN DAY NETWORKING DEFINED
Networking as an activity has a somewhat negative connotation in Australia, mostly due to how it has been undertaken. This view is changing as people realise the power that lies in having strategic connections that align with their business and personal goals.
Let’s start to define strategic networking by outlining what it’s not:
• It’s not just having 500+ friends on a social networking site
• It’s not getting as many business cards as you can at a social or business gathering
• It’s not about knowing lots of people and wanting to have coffee with all of them
• It’s not simply wining and dining clients or prospects through expensive hospitality
It is about:
• Planning and establishing key connections
• Knowing the right people – and knowing them well
• Building a set of quality, two-way relationships – not simply collecting a large quantity of connections
• Becoming a trusted ally of your connections and becoming a hub – the ‘go to’ person in a network.