Earlier this month we made the distinction between prospecting and networking. Prospecting could be described as making a connection for the purpose of making a sale. Authentic networking takes a long-term view, nurturing a network connection into a professional relationship. The objective is to develop, over time, your network of social and business contacts into relationships that may lead to a sale. If authentic networking fits the way you do business, you may want to review Networking + Prospecting = Insurance Leads.
Now that you’ve made the initial network connection, how do you nurture a social or business connection?
1. Build trust first, client second.
For many clients, trusting a financial professional is the number one hurdle. Your goal for the people you meet via networking is to build trust.
Building trust takes time and action. For business connections, a trust-building action may be to make a business connection for them. If you know two people who may benefit from knowing each other, introduce them! You can also build trust by demonstrating an authentic interest in the other person’s philosophies and strategies. When you’re together, ask about them rather than talking about yourself.
After you’ve seen a connection, take a few seconds to write a brief note about your meeting, recalling part of the conversation or something personal they shared with you. This is a great trust builder. The focus is on the connection rather than the sale.
2. Go beyond the business card. Extend a personal invitation.
Don’t confuse an introduction and a handshake as networking. Effective networking requires follow up; and not just a follow up, but also a follow-up plan. Consider your follow-up plan as a series of trust building steps. Personalized follow up builds trust, but keep in mind that true personalization requires much more than including a first name in an email or letter.
Extend an invitation for the person to join you at an event such as an agency open house or a wine tasting. Another example of a personal follow up is to send an industry article with a personal note identifying some interesting points.
3. Introduce disability income insurance.
The simple action of opening a discussion about the need for disability insurance can be a trust builder. A second major hurdle is lack of knowledge. Many consumers feel they are not knowledgeable enough to make an informed decision about purchasing insurance. That can lead to indecision and even mistrust of the financial advisor.
A great way to casually introduce the topic is by sharing true stories about disability. If you don’t personally know any stories, you can download Ty’s story, “Blink of An Eye” or go to disabilitycanhappen.org. Ask, “Can you imagine what you would do in that situation?”
You can also use some Did You Know questions to introduce some surprising statistics about the risk of disability. And, start to ask some income questions – “Can you imagine not having a paycheck for a year? Could you and Mary survive that?” Many clients have not considered the dollars and cents of a suspended income.
At some point – but not too early – you can offer a complimentary review of existing paycheck protection coverage. The emphasis here is on the review and identifying risks that may not be sufficiently covered. It is only the start of a conversation that may lead to a sale.
Authentic networking takes time but the rewards are great. The rewards of working with DIS are great too. Contact DIS today for a disability insurance quote or to learn more about our leading DI carriers and products.