I’m currently in the Merrill Lynch POA program and am studying for my licenses. A few of the more seasoned FAs have mentioned that they are in networking groups and they give and receive a number of referrals to and from that group. I’m interested in learning more about the types of networking groups that exist and what other FA’s experiences have been with those groups. Below is a list of some of my questions but I would appreciate any general information that you think will be helpful to know. <?:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
How did you get involved in the group? Did you start it or join an existing one?
How often does your group meet and what is a typical meeting like?
Is the group formal (dues and bylaws) or informal (just meet for drinks)?
Are you the only FA in the group?
What would be some ideal professions to have in the group?
I'm very interested in these groups, too. I believe they are called "leads groups"? Anyway, any advice for the two of us would be greatly appreciated.
There's BNI (Business Networking International?) chapters across
the US I believe. Don't know much about them. I belong to Rotary and
enjoy it. Find something you like and have an interest in and the
rest should take care of itself. Remember you've got to give before you
I speak from limited experience, but I will share what I found with leads groups. I was affiliated with two groups for about a year and they turned out to be worthless.
"Leads" appear to be very different than "referrals" and I want the latter. The groups I was in were all sales people and tended to be for things like office equipment and so forth.
I think the concept could work, but I would caution you to be certain that you are dealing with the right folks in your group.
As I noted, this was my experience and I hope we'll see a post from someone else that's had a better experience.
I would think that networking groups are a gateway to other friends. I work mainly with asian american professionals. I meet 10 new faces/month through associations. 8 show up the next month to my office and I close 5 accounts. When I meet someone I like who is a client I want to have, I invite them to bbq, wine tasting, lake outings, lunches, parties, etc... If they don't become my client, they're still my friends who open up doors to other friends.