EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I’m not sure why it is, but most financial folks think they are terrible networkers.

The truth is that scattered throughout our newsletter every night are ideas you can harness in your daily life to earn the title “Master Networker.”

All of us are amateurs, I suppose, at most things we do in life. You can start with raising your kids (if only you got to do it over), to relationships with others, including your significant other. We come to life to learn, and the best lessons are the ones we learn the hard way.

Most of our members are over 40. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, and yet a lot more is yet to pass. So, there is still hope that you do better at this little networking thing.

First, a short definition: Networking is a process by which you can create meaningful business contacts and relationships to further your career and enhance your professional life. (If I was speaking to you in person, I would repeat this sentence. I will have to ask you to just reread it a few times.)

As Julia Roberts screamed at Brad Pitt during that terrible movie The Mexican: It’s always about you! When it comes to networking, you have to always be thinking about the other person. What can you do for them? How can you help them? Who can you introduce them to?

Many of the people you will meet cannot help you directly. That said, the very act of helping them helps you. By making introductions, you create two people who owe you favors. (If that isn’t a 3 point shot from center court, I don’t know what is.)

The most important trait that you have as a senior financial professional is your basic sincerity and honesty. These are valuable characteristics for anyone who wishes to be credible.

Early in my career I worked with a psychologist who was advising our management group. His claim was that if we could figure out what made a great salesperson for our firm and we got the sales folks to perform those behaviors, we couldn’t lose. An example of this strategy was to get each salesperson to make 20 calls a day. This was a behavior that was identified as a success factor. Even the worst salesperson making 20 calls a day made quota.

In much the same way, I would encourage you to make it a habit to keep in touch with old friends and casual acquaintances. As a shy retiring financial type, you will have to force yourself to do it. But, if you make it a habit to call 20 friends every week, you are in truth a master networker. You will always feel like you aren’t, but the reality is different.

Networking can be a strain on your life or the world’s greatest gift, to yourself and to those around you.

If you follow the advice you see every night, i.e. perform the behaviors, you can’t miss.

Regards, Matt

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