By Brad Johnson
How many of your clients do you love working with? If you’re like most financial professionals, there’s probably just a small subset of your clients that fall into that category. You don’t necessarily dislike your other clients, but wouldn’t you love to fill your business with only your favorite kind of clients?
Derek Coburn, co-founder of the exclusive financial networking group, CADRE, and author of Networking Is Not Working, has a way to take those special relationships in your business and leverage them to find a limitless stream of ideal clients.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Derek for a one-on-one interview where he shared the details of his personal strategy.
Any financial professional interested in finding more ideal clients can benefit from what he shared.
When and Why to Stop Traditional “Networking”
Networking can be an effective strategy, and it plays a pivotal role in every financial professional’s business. But, it doesn’t take long to start feeling burnt out, like you’re hitting a wall. Eventually, your returns on hitting the local business event circuit start to diminish.
You’ll be glad to hear, according to Derek, most financial professionals can stop running on the networking treadmill right now.
“You’ve been in business for a couple years, and you’re making, minimum, a couple hundred thousand bucks a year. I don’t think you should be going to networking events,” Derek says.
Instead, he says you should be dedicating your time to something totally different.
Self-Hosted Events: The “Ultimate Tiebreaker”
You’ll almost always want to do business with someone you know versus someone you don’t. But, what if you know several people you could work with? How do you choose then?
It ultimately boils down to the quality of the relationship.
That’s why Derek says after financial professionals reach a certain level of success, the value of traditional networking decreases tremendously. Casting a wide net at big networking events just gets you a slew of new contacts who see you as nothing more than an average relationship.
Instead, you should use a targeted approach to leverage the great relationships you already have to make more great relationships—the kinds of relationships that inspire people to do business with you over another one of their average contacts.
Derek’s “un-networking” events are intended to do just that.
Here’s the basic process:
First, Derek finds a local restaurant that has a private room and is willing to do individual checks for a large group (most do, it’s just important to check beforehand). Then he goes through his Rolodex to build a guest list of people who could potentially benefit from meeting one another. Finally, he reaches out with invitations, tells each invitee they’re welcome to bring a friend or two, and lets them know the goals of the event, which are:
- Meet a hand-picked group of people relevant to their business
- Glean knowledge in a value-driven, non-sales context
- Establish mutually-beneficial connections
Derek’s structure beats the average promotional event for several reasons:
- Everyone pays their own way: emphasizes that everyone’s there by choice, to add value, and without obligation.
- Establishes goodwill: introducing clients to new connections you think could help them shows you’re prioritizing their success.
- Glowing first impressions: gives your clients the perfect venue to introduce you, while simultaneously offering the social proof of a personal endorsement.
- You meet ideal prospects: your best clients’ friends and colleagues are more likely than your average prospect to be ideal clients.
- Distinguishes you as a partner: being thoughtful and giving away value with no strings attached positions you as a partner, not just a service provider looking for a paycheck.
Brad Johnson is vice president of advisor development at Advisors Excel. Hear the rest of his conversation with Derek on his podcast at BradleyJohnson.com