This year a considerable part of my time has been spent networking and building relationships. Relationship building has been more important for my business than even the basic digital strategies like search engine optimization. Almost all of my leads have from word-of-month referrals.
That means I’ve attended a lot of networking events and met a lot of people. At every one of these networking events, there are usually a plethora of financial planners/advisors wanting to get to know me better.
Usually, these are good experiences, but I’ve had two encounters this year that have just made me feel really uncomfortable.
Both meetings were pretty straightforward at the start — learning more about what we do, ask questions and determine what is a good referral for that person. In the case of these two people, who also happen to work for the same financial services company, it goes one step further.
They pull out a list of people from your LinkedIn contact list they’d like to meet. In my case, about half were all from my previous job. The rest were a mix of people that I have met along the way. Then there’s a pretty strong push for me to provide introductions to the people on the list.
Both times my “Gibbs Gut” didn’t feel right about it.
I’m not a networking/relationship expert, but I do know that people I have referred business to or from all have an established relationship. Some of those people are from my church circle, others are from current/former clients and the rest are from business networking groups.
My challenge is this: I will be happy to refer someone if the ask for someone I know. I just don’t want to blindly make introductions to people who may not be interested in their services. I have found it difficult to refer a financial planner because they are like hairdressers. You have to find one you like.
I’m happy to make a referral, you just need to have a better reason than these people who are just part of your list.