NSW adviser, Guy Mankey, has shared the benefit of his experience in developing highly successful relationships with centres of influence.
Speaking to his peers at last month’s MDRT Annual Meeting in Miami, Mankey based his perspectives around the notion of luck, specifically that there are two types of luck: random luck and managed luck.
After citing different examples of ‘random luck’ – which some advisers may be fortunate enough to experience when developing centres of influence – Mankey then focussed on the idea of ‘managed luck’, as he outlined for a packed room of advisers from around the world the various strategies he has developed in order to ‘get lucky’ with his centres of influence. These strategies included:
1. Have a plan
It’s important to know who you want as centres of influence and what you want to do with them before you start. Invariably, the people you want as centres of influence are busy people, and if you don’t know what you want, you’ll simply waste everyone’s time.
And let me assure you, the better the plan, the luckier you’ll be.
When I decided I wanted to find some new centres of influence to work with, my plan was simple:
- I chose to target accountants. Why? Because in Australia they tend to be the most trusted financial advisors …and just about everyone I talk to has an accountant they’ll usually introduce me to.
- I wanted regular, targeted introductions. This meant that I had to design a structured program the accountants would like that would allow me to access the best opportunities at the time the client was most likely to say yes.
- I wanted to be able to clearly show I was different from other advisers, which meant I needed unique ideas, stories and materials that gave me credibility and set me apart.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best in the world at what you do. If no one knows, no one cares.
So how do we get luckier with networking? By increasing the sample size. The more potential centres of influence you meet, the luckier you’ll become.
3. Present yourself as different
What is it that sets you apart? Good centres of influence are being approached all the time, and if you look like everyone else, you will be rejected like everyone else. Differentiation will increase your centres of influence luck.
The more your potential centre of influence thinks you’re fighting for the little guy, like his clients, the luckier you’ll become.
It’s OK to say you’re on their side, but you also need to show it. I take a copy of my claims brochure to every first meeting. This is a fantastic tool for opening an insurance discussion.
And don’t worry if you haven’t had many claims. Produce a brochure showing all the claims in your office or dealer group. If you’re a planner, have a chart showing the expenses you’ve saved clients or the people you’ve transitioned into retirement.
Ad-libs are for amateurs
4. Be a storyteller
The two keys to good stories are content and delivery.
The story needs to be relevant and resonate with your audience. But remember: Ad-libs are for amateurs.
As professionals, we need to know our stories inside and out, and the only way this can happen is to practice them. Remember the maxim: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.”
Figure out stories that show the value you can bring to the table for the centre of influence’s clients. A good story can not only demonstrate your value but also open others’ eyes to concepts and values they’d never considered before.
Every fact I have about the services and products we provide has at least one story I can bring to life. It seems the more stories I tell about how I’ve helped people, the luckier I become.
5. Give your centres of influence plans they like
We teach our centres of influence what to say if they ever get a question about insurance. They say, “I’m going to have my own insurance specialist give you a call.” That’s it. They’re trained to say those words and email me the client’s name, a brief history and the best phone number.
We give them content to put in newsletters or send direct. Some are technical, and some are stories about situations to avoid or claims.
In summarising how he has become ‘lucky’ over the years in building successful centres of influence, Mankey left his audience with these final tips:
- Remember to throw lots of mud at the wall
- It takes time to build the relationship. Always keep them in the loop
- Develop your material before you need it
- Find your points of differentiation. Swim against the tide
- Ad-libs are for amateurs
- Make it a process
- “The more you practice, the luckier you’ll get”
- Do whatever works for you
- Say thank you often. Who doesn’t like being thanked?