If I really wanted to meet Kevin Bacon, I’m sure I could find a way. We have less than six degrees of separation between us: my husband is an alumnus of Humber College; television host George Stroumboulopoulos is also an alumnus of Humber College; Stroumboulopoulos has interviewed many actors and directors during his career; some of those actors and directors have worked with
The idea that we are but a few links away from everyone else forms the whole basis of networking. In fact, the professional website LinkedIn is hinged on this very concept.
Successful advisors realize relationship marketing is an extremely valuable business-building activity. Women advisors actually have a competitive edge in this area—they’re such natural networkers.
However, networking is more than just collecting business cards, friends or followers. It’s about making genuine connections and leveraging them.
Where to start?
If there’s a prospect you’d like to get introduced to, find out:
- Whom do they know?
- What associations or clubs do they belong to?
- Where did they attend school?
- Whom have they worked for?
- What are their hobbies or charitable interests?
- Are they on social media or do they blog?
- Have they won any awards?
A lot of this information can be found online if you take the time to search. Then, you just have to connect the dots.
In most cases, there will be less than six dots to connect. It will surprise you how easy it is to find yourself just three people
away from the prospect in question. You just have to find the right approach.
Next, make a list of the different dots that help connect to your prospect’s circles of influence. That’s when opportunities will start knocking: you could get invited to the same event; comment on a blog post; or even get introduced directly.
10 tips on how to proceed
- Don’t be afraid to ask someone for an introduction. The worst they can say is no.
- Don’t spam your contacts. They’re not commodities; they’re people. Instead, engage them in conversations.
- Be genuine. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
- Don’t take without giving; offer something of value in return.
- Be thankful for introductions and show it. Small gifts or acts of kindness go a long way.
- Share in the success of others and lend encouragement.
- Keep in touch with alumni associations (high school, college, university).
- Make sure people can find you online.Have a website, or at the very least a searchable LinkedIn profile.
- Stay top-of-mind by connecting with your network in person, by phone or email. Also, create a regular online presence with newsletters or blog posts.
- Interconnect the professional and personal. Life and work are two halves that form a whole person. If you only show one side, people don’t get to know the true you.
Networking elevates your reputation and builds credibility. It also gives you exposure within your community and industry. Devote some time to doing it right. You won’t be disappointed.
Natalie Jamison is an Investment Advisor at RBC Dominion Securities Inc., based in Oakville, Ontario.
Originally published in Advisor's Edge Report
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