I don’t like networking occasions.
I don’t like the fake smiles, cheesy jokes, overbearing characters, awkward discussions, and unsolicited advice.
And of course I can’t stand the sales pitches for crap I will never ever buy.
On the bright side… occasionally there is alcohol.
Though I’m a die-hard Online Marketing man I know Both of These things as reality:
The more folks you understand the more insurance you market.
Networking events are one of the most effective ways to meet people.
So I figured, contemplating my disdain for networking events, I would be an ideal person to provide ideas for getting the most from something that I consider to be an essential evil.
They are, 34 networking tips for insurance brokers:
1) Be a Connector
I’m positive you’ve heard this one before, but there is more to helping people connect with each other than you can have considered.
When you’re the person introducing two others you will obviously assume a position of power within that group of three.
With time, the more people you join, the higher you are going to climb up the power pyramid in the local community.
I Know the temptation to appear fashionably late — it is a whole lot easier to blend into a full room of people and its more likely you will see somebody you already know.
Show up late though, and you’re missing a vital opportunity — fulfilling the organizers.
Event Organizers hold a good deal of”connection power” and when you are among the first folks to appear you can help out, get to understand them, and enhance the setup.
There’s a decent chance it’ll even provide you with a”shout out” during any mike time later in the occasion.
Not merely is insurance dull, but every company networking event I’ve ever been to is crawling with insurance agents.
At Some stage, every networker has been stuck talking to some super-boring insurance man and they’re forever looking to avoid the circumstance.
Even If somebody wants to discuss insurance, attempt to push it off till after the function. This way you’ll be in a better position to market and you’re going to learn whether they’re really interested or were just making small talk.
4) Find More Networking Events
There are far more chances than just the local chamber of commerce.
Think outside the box, ask around, and take a look at this list to get you thinking:
Chambers of Commerce
Business Networking Groups
School Board Meetings
High School Sports Games
Local Youth Sports Events
And check out local event websites such as Eventbrite,Eventful, and Patch.com
5) Send Your Staff
You don’t need to do all the networking yourself.
In fact, it’s probably more important that your manufacturers are out there shaking hands than you are.
Don’t simply send them blind, give them some goals and objectives and cause them to read this article!
People expect you (the insurance guy) will possess some dull business cards.
I will Write another article with ideas for business cards that stand out so I’m not digging deep into this but be inventive and make them stand out.
In the very least, place your picture on there.
And by the way, for those captive men who say they’re stuck with the firm issued cards…
The Marketing police don’t visit a chamber of commerce meetings and nobody can stop you from marketing yourself (not the agency) however the hell you want to. Or set a funny sticker or stamp on the trunk.
7) Set Networking Goals
Like anything in business, proper goals will improve your results.
Make A measurable goal for networking like incorporating fresh LinkedIn Connections, giving off a certain number of business cards, or sending a particular number of follow-up emails to your contacts.
Like some goals you set, these should be focused on the activities that lead to earnings, not the real sales themselves.
Business cards are cheap.
Ever end up thinking,”Should I give this guy my card?” Or”Does she really want a card?”
The answer is always yes. Give it to everyone 10 times.
9) Don’t Have Big Handouts
I understand what these people are thinking…
It’ll really stand out.”
Here’s what I’m thinking when you hand it to me:
Don’t be this man. People may smile and accept your postcard but annoying people isn’t excellent networking.
Just like in sales, inadequate follow-up can make all your networking efforts useless.
Do you think someone’s going to buy insurance from you or refer your agency after one meeting at a networking event?
Obviously not…. You need to develop powerful relationships.
Devise a follow-up plan that serves to deepen the links you make in networking events.
LinkedIn Is a ideal low-effort tool for forging stronger connections with people that you meet at networking events (or anywhere else).
There is no social stigma against requesting a link on LinkedIn from someone you met and had a conversation with.
A LinkedIn connection is not the end goal, in fact it’s actually just the start but it’s a great first step toward developing a deeper professional relationship with anyone.
12) Follow Their Business on Twitter and Facebook
Most agents I know think of Twitter and Facebook only as tools to reach out to prospective and current clients.
It can also be used very effectively as a specialist networking and tracking instrument.
Use your agency’s Twitter accounts and use Facebook as your agency page (not as yourself) and follow along and like all the businesses who’s owners you meet.
Likes Around Facebook are free so it won’t cost you a dime to”like” every business you meet along with”like” every post they make. That is a lot of potential complimentary goodwill!
While we’re on the subject, click here to”like” My Facebook page and click on”like” what I post later on
I DO NOT advocate using Facebook to”friend” a person who you meet professionally unless you’ve got a connection with them that is deeper than business.
13) Follow Up Via Email
After meeting somebody who you feel a powerful connection with send them an email.
You Can create a template for mails like this, however I strongly urge you to personalize each email to mention something that you discussed with the person.
If You don’t have anything specific to say to this person, take a peek at their site and also mention something about it. Wouldn’t it get your attention if a person mentioned something on your own agency’s website?
(When I get a generic type email that I know was also sent to everyone else in a networking event I usually report it as SPAM.)
14) Phone Call Follow Up
Have a good networking connection you are trying to build into a good one?
Call them up from the blue with a query about their enterprise.
You can just make this up if you want to… Say you are doing research for a customer.
Everyone enjoys being the specialist and they will think that it might be a revenue lead in order that they’ll love it.
If they’re a essential link, put it on your calendar to achieve out once a month.
15) Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
If You have not heard of or read this book you should really look it over. It has been in existence for almost a century and the advice it provides is basic, but strong.
I have an audio version on my cellphone that I listen to about annually.
(It helps me get my kids to do exactly what I them to. Not by much, but I’ll take all the help I can get!)
This one comes directly from the Dale Carnegie Playbook. (see #15 above).
People love hearing the noise of the name and it will make people like you more.
The added benefit is when you employ others’ names they’ll feel like they owe it to learn your name and more about what you do.
The biggest one is Business Networking International and they have groups all over the world but they’re not the only one.
They’ll usually only allow one member from each industry and it can sometimes be hard to find an opening for an insurance agent but there’s also a lot of turnover so be patient you’ll get in.
One of the easiest tricks at networking events is to look for people who look shy or uncomfortable and start talking to them.
Who do you think will remember (and appreciate) you more:
The person that was uncomfortably hiding in the corner until you helped them?
Or Mr. Mayor who thinks he’s better than everyone and doesn’t need your help?
Taking a partner or employee with you to a networking event can be a huge boost to both your networking productivity.
With someone there making you feel comfortable it’s easier to break out of your shell.
Also, you can act as filters for each other, introducing and sharing the valuable connections while keeping the less valuable connections to yourselves.
Don’t rely on your ability to come up with interesting questions on the spot. Make a list before you walk in the door.
Here’s an article with some good ideas to get you started.
Anything about kids, family, or personal life is great because it shows the person you care about them as a person, not just a business connection.
22) Identify the Connectors
When you connect well with one from the list add a new one.
Like many things in marketing, many agents stop going to networking events because they don’t see results fast enough.
Trust that your networking time is an investment in your career and future and don’t worry about the sales.
I promise sales will come if you keep networking; I guarantee they won’t if you quit.
I can’t stand people that go to networking events and walk around like they have a stick up their butt.
Have a good time, throw back a couple drinks, enjoy yourself. People might actually want to talk to you!
25) Network With Your Clients
A lot of the advice on this page is oriented toward networking events, but that’s really only part of the whole networking equation.
Many of the tips and ideas on this page can be used on your own network of clients.
In fact, if you’re going to connect with someone on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter, shouldn’t you be doing that with your own clients first?
26) Always Be Networking
ABN lacks the sex appeal of ABC, but if you’re not networking you’ll never be closing.
If you want to be successful you’re going to need to be an insurance agent 100% of the time.
Does every single person you’re connected with know you sell insurance?
27) Moving Pennies Technique
I got this tip a while back from an MLM recruiter. I didn’t sign up to sell with him, but it’s not a bad tip.
Every morning take 10 pennies and put them in your left pocket.
Throughout the day, each time you meet a new person and tell them what you sell move the penny from the left pocket to the right one.
Your day isn’t over until your left pocket is empty.
28) Disappearing Cards Technique
While writing the above idea I came up with a new one that could work for people that hate networking events.
Put 20-30 cards in your pocket and as soon as they’re all gone you can leave.
Work fast or you’ll be handing them out to the cleaning crew. (they need insurance too, right?)
29) The Elevator Pitch
I hate overused business cliches (like elevator pitches) as much as the next guy but there is a value to having a well-rehearsed explanation of what you do.
The elevator pitch is an explanation of what you do that’s quick enough to tell someone between floors on an elevator.
Make sure your elevator pitch is intriguing. A good elevator pitch makes people stop, think, and ask you a follow up question.
If you’re going to talk about yourself you want it to be because people asked.
30) Talk About What Excites You
In Number 3 I warned against talking about insurance.
Nobody really cares about it.
But people will listen to anything if you speak with passion.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your family, your hobby, the lacrosse team you coach or anything else!
When you speak with passion people will listen, they’ll want to introduce you to others and most importantly — they’ll never forget you.
31) It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who They Know
You’re not networking to sell insurance to the people you meet.
You’re networking to sell insurance to FRIENDS of the people you meet.
Remember that it only takes one really good networking connection to make up for all the time you spend doing it.
32) Describe Your Perfect Client
Although you can probably sell something to just about anyone, its easier for people to refer you if you narrow down your targeted client.
Find a way to tell all your networking connections specifically who your ideal client is (or the situation your ideal client may be in)
Saying,”My perfect customer is everybody” is the very best way to receive zero referrals.
33) Keep a Networking Journal
Just like sales, networking is a task that may be examined and improved through study and experience.
Keeping A journal of your networking experiences is a great means to determine new connections to goal, keep tabs on things others did that were bad and good, and discover opportunities to increase your own networking skills.
Just don’t hide it under your bed, that is the very first place your little brother will search for it!
34) Be Memorable
No aspect of networking is much more important than getting people remember you.
Be the person everyone wants to meet.
And also the one they’ll remember tomorrow.
Or do not waste your own time.