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Top Tips & Guide to Networking: Building & Maintaining Business Relationships in Financial Services

Imagine yourself in a networking meeting in the heart of the city, surrounded by influential individuals in the financial services industry. This gathering presents a unique opportunity to establish and nurture valuable business relationships with founders, bankers, insurance brokers, traders, investors, VCs, actuaries, lawyers, CEOs, and all other influential peers. In this blog post, I will explore the 13. key elements of building and maintaining successful business relationships.

1. First Impressions Matter:

When attending networking events, remember that first impressions are crucial. Dress professionally, maintain a confident posture, and approach others with a genuine smile. These initial moments can set the tone for the entire interaction.

2. Body Language Speaks Volumes:

Non-verbal cues can significantly impact how others perceive you. Maintain open body language, make eye contact, and offer a firm handshake. These actions convey confidence and interest in the conversation.

3. Active Listening and Asking Insightful Questions:

Active listening is a vital skill in building relationships. Give your full attention to the person you are conversing with and show genuine interest in their thoughts and opinions. Asking insightful questions demonstrates your engagement and helps establish a meaningful connection.

4. Listening to Understand, Not to Judge:

It is essential to approach conversations with an open mind. Listening to understand, rather than judging, enables you to build stronger connections and gain valuable insights from others. Embrace diverse perspectives and learn from them. You don't have to agree with the other person, they do however need to feel heard and at least understood.

5. Craft a Memorable Elevator Pitch:

An elevator pitch is a concise summary of your professional background and what you can offer. Create a compelling and concise, authentic pitch that highlights your personal values, your unique value proposition and one which will help you stand out and leave a lasting impression on potential business partners.

6. People Buy from People:

Remember that business relationships are built on trust and personal connections. People are more likely to engage with those they like and trust. Focus on building genuine relationships rather than just selling your products or services.

7. It's a Two-Way Conversation:

Networking is not about self-promotion alone; it's about creating mutually beneficial relationships. Be genuinely interested in the other person's needs and goals. Offer assistance and support where possible, and remember that successful networking is based on reciprocity.

8. Maintain Eye Contact and Focus:

While networking events can be overwhelming, avoid constantly scanning the room for your next potential contact. Give your full attention to the person you are currently engaged with, maintaining eye contact and active listening. This demonstrates respect and genuine interest.

9. Be Deliberate in Your Research:

Before attending networking events, take the time to research who will be present. Identify individuals or companies you would like to connect with, and have a clear objective in mind. This targeted approach will enable you to maximise your networking opportunities.

10. Set Networking Targets:

To make the most of networking events, set achievable targets for yourself. Determine how many meaningful conversations you aim to have and focus on quality interactions rather than quantity. This approach will help you build deeper connections.

11. Personalise the Conversation:

While discussing business matters is essential, do not neglect personal aspects. Ask personal questions that go beyond the professional realm. This demonstrates your genuine interest in the person and lays the foundation for a more meaningful connection.

12. Follow-Up and Nurture Relationships:

After the networking event, make an effort to follow up with the individuals you connected with. Send personalised messages, invite them for a coffee or lunch, and explore opportunities for future collaboration. The more effort you invest in nurturing relationships, the greater the rewards.

13. Leverage Shared Connections:

In the financial services industry, there is often a significant overlap in networks. Remember the concept of "six degrees of separation*." Leverage your shared connections to establish introductions and build trust faster. Mutual acquaintances can serve as valuable bridges to expanding your network.

Building and maintaining business relationships in the financial services industry requires genuine and deliberate effort, active listening, and a focus on mutual, authentic gain.

If you have any challenges in any one or more of the areas mentioned above, please do get in touch as I'd be happy to explore this with you.

With love Alli 🌸

(+)44 (0) 7753 450865

*Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. As a result, a chain of "friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It is also known as the six handshakes rule.[1]

The concept was originally set out in a 1929 short story by Frigyes Karinthy, in which a group of people play a game of trying to connect any person in the world to themselves by a chain of five others. It was popularised in John Guare's 1990 play Six Degrees of Separation.

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