Besides my life coaching, I do quite a bit of work with Financial Services professionals. I work with them on accountability to their programs, network marketing and market segmentation. (Hey, it’s exciting to them!)
In one week, I had 3 sessions with 3 financial professionals who were all members of formal networking groups, and not reaching their goals getting referrals. This blog is for them and other sales professionals like them.
Most of you are probably part of some kind of formal networking group or another. How often does it seem that all the referrals seem to go to the copier salesman, the printer, and the roofer? It shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Those things are much easier to refer. I am too part of a BNI group, and I get it. You don’t always have to pick up and move your boat…You can might still catch what you want.
The largest formal networking organization in the world is BNI (Business Network International) ,founded by Dr. Ivan Misner. It is a fabulous organization, filled with dedicated members, doing wonderful work for many small business owners, salespeople and their clients. Yet all of you know that financial services can be at the bottom of referral list. What’s that all about? After all, every member is supposed to provide referrals to the other members. Right?
The reality is – and there are exceptions – financial professionals rarely get as many referrals as other members of these groups.
The main reason for this is that most members either don’t feel comfortable having conversations about money, and/or don’t know how to recognize someone who needs the assistance of a financial professional be they for planning, insurance, and/or investments. If they are uncomfortable talking about it themselves, how can you expect them to be comfortable referring you?
5 Ways to Expand Your Success from Your Formal Networking Group
- Tell yourself the truth
- For a start, tell yourself the truth. Are you really referable? Do your fellow networkers clearly understand the value you bring to your clients? Try bringing your value to life with stories, anecdotes, and short case studies. In the lessons on your BNI one minute presentation you are taught to tell stories about your work.
- Teach your partners how to refer you
- Teach your partners how to identify a quality prospect for you AND how to best link those people to you. Word of mouth isn’t enough. You have to get introduced in some way. Just a phone number is just a little better tha
- Use your membership to provide value to your clients
- Remember, “givers gain.” Use your associates in your group as prospective resources for your clients. Connect your clients and prospects to members of your group when they need their services. After all, you know how good a job they do. In this way, you can provide value to others by spreading who you know – being a resource for prospects and clients that go beyond the work you do. It is all about gaining trust through service. They will have to trust you before they will allow you to serve them.
- Invite your members to learn more about what you do
- Try letting your networking group members know about your workshops and client appreciation events. Sometimes that’s an easier referral for them to provide. They might even come and bring someone to the event.
- There’s more than one way to skin a cat
- One seasoned financial professional uses his networking group to get referrals to other Centers of Influence, like CPAs and attorneys. He doesn’t look for introductions to prospects, but rather for introductions to people and groups who can make those introductions.
In the end, your business success in any networking group will inevitably be more dependent on the makeup of the group itself, and how much you as a member refer to your fellow members. (Remember “givers gain”?) Some groups just seem to have a mix of members more conducive to the referrals you want than other groups. Use your best bait and best fishing equipment and fish in the best spots. It matters.
But in the end, if the fish aren’t biting there’s no reason to keep fishing in a empty pond. Repack your bait and move your boat to another spot. There are lots of fish out there eager for what you have to offer!
SEE A LIFE COACH IN BATON ROUGE
Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative. You can see Frank’s other website, www.frankhopkinlifecoach.com on line as well.