We Might Have to Redevelop Some Old Habits

This post was authored by Salvatore M. Capizzi, Dunham's Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. If you have questions concerning today's topic, please call us at (858) 964 - 0500. Hold us to higher standards.

As we emerge from the COVID era, you may find that people are eager to meet with you, to shake your hand. You may begin to see a waning interest in Zoom meetings and a keen interest in being face to face once again.

This eagerness for social contact will bring back networking, one of the top business-building activities for those who employ it correctly.

A highly successful wirehouse financial advisor once told me he spent 10 hours a month networking and approached it with a Zen-like consciousness. That did not mean he approached it all like work.  His networking also involved participating in activities he loved.

Those who network correctly do not view it as an optional or occasional activity. Pro networkers view it as an ongoing part of their business and integrate it fully into their practice. As we are emerging on the other side of COVID, getting into the habit of 2 to 2 ½ hours a week of networking could have a substantial and meaningful impact on your business in a short amount of time.

I’ve compiled some networking tips to assist you in building your business post-COVID.

Redeveloping Old Networking Habits

Join a Group

Networking does not have to feel like work. Think about the things you enjoy doing, especially things wealthy people also enjoy doing. Then think about doing them with a group.  If you enjoy cycling either competitively or for recreation, join a group of other cyclists. Is there a group for which you have a strong passion? Join their board or get involved in their activities.

Time: Your Most Valuable Asset

Be careful not to spend too much time with unproductive activities or organizations. Remember, the definition of networking is an activity outside of work that is devoted to building your business. If you enjoy an activity, but there is no chance it will lead to business, do it, but do not count it as networking. When selecting networking activities, select events that may attract the type of people you can convert into clients.

Plan a Forward Calendar of Events You Want to Attend

Plan in advance the events you wish to attend. Mark your calendar and treat these as if they were an appointment with your best client. Do not cancel them in favor of something else. Remember, networking is not an optional activity.

Be a Host, Not a Guest

When at a function, think about how you would act if you were hosting it. Be outgoing and caring. Ensure everyone is taken care of and comfortable. Take it upon yourself to introduce people to each other. By doing this, you will make more quality contacts. Better yet, get involved in an organization with strong client potential and host an event for them!

Every Event is a Networking Opportunity

Be aware that every event is a networking opportunity. The next time your spouse drags you to one of those tedious work-related events, use it as an opportunity to network. Work the room and practice your networking techniques.

Have a Goal of the Number of People You Want to Meet

Have a preset goal for the number of people you want to meet and budget your time accordingly. Doing this will keep you focused on your main objective, which is to meet people.

Do Not Linger With Any One Person

The goal at any event is to meet as many people as you can. Do not become involved in lengthy discussions with just one person. It would help if you considered the 10-minute rule in these types of situations. After 10 minutes, excuse yourself and move on to the next person.

Be Prepared to Articulate How You Help People

We are in a business that helps people. It would be best if you described this in a way that is interesting and succinct. “What do I do for a living? I am a superhero, and my superpower is making sure my clients pay as little in taxes as they legally can!” Telling people how you can help them will pique their interest and make it easier to set an appointment.

Networking is a Continuous Process

Once you meet a prospect, you need to stay in touch with them. Be genuinely curious about the prospect. Find out the prospect's hobbies, favorite sports team, their alma mater, and areas of interest or concern. When you find an article on one of these topics, send it to them. Always look for reasons to contact them again.

Evaluate your Networking Effectiveness

Are you getting as many leads as you want from your efforts? Decide if you are networking in the right places, with the people who can give you the type of client you are seeking.

Start Building Meaningful and Impactful Relationships

The key is to join groups you have a genuine interest in and be a valuable addition to your organization. When you are at events, be true and be caring. No one likes a phony, and no one wants to work with one.

With COVID becoming a point of our past and the old order coming, it is time to start developing a robust networking strategy once again.