Professional networking is about increasing and fostering contacts in order to get and give advice, referrals, information, and support. It is creating relationships that are equally beneficial and working towards effectively reaching the objectives of both people. In a nutshell, professional networking is a two-way street. Nowadays, there are many online social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, BrightFuse, and Naymz. These social networking sites started as a mere avenue for old friends to communicate.
However, people soon realized that these sites provide tons of opportunity for finding jobs, seeking career advice and just simply establishing relationships with ‘the right people’. Professional networking sites are a great tool for professionals wishing to advance their career to the next level. Most sites boast of modern and effective professional networking platforms which allow professionals to come across new opportunities, ideas, connections, and information based on their reputations and backgrounds.
These sites also simplify the process and provide professionals an enhanced and more effective way to handle and build their professional network. A person creates a social network with one goal in mind – to connect with people. A professional who is searching for a job or one who is open to exploring better opportunities creates a professional network with two goals.
First is to establish a reputation and second is to build relationships with people who can help him get to the right places. For a professional who is into Financial Planning, a professional network is not an option, but rather a necessity because of several reasons. First is due to the obvious – a financial planner, whether corporate or personal, needs connections in order to find the next big corporation or come across the next client.
For a Financial Planner who guides individuals and groups in the use of their income, savings and investments or one who is a self-employed consultant and holds financial planning workshops in evening schools or local community groups, a professional network is the number one source of possible clientele. He can advertise his services and post information on previous works. And because word of mouth is the cheapest and most reliable form of advertising, past clients can also bring him new ones. A client who is very satisfied with the quality of service received can even agree to post a blog detailing his satisfaction and gratitude.
On the other hand, a financial planner who operates his own financial planning business or is employed by investment services companies, financial institutions, insurance companies, loan and savings companies, and banks to sell their financial products, establishing professional network is the cheapest and most convenient way to find clients and discuss with them the benefits of the products that he sells. A professional network eliminates the old ways of knocking on doors and offering products. It allows for a way to reach hundreds of people simultaneously without incurring material costs.
Lastly, a financial planner who is in search of a new employer can also benefit through referrals from people in his network. After all, most employers favor applicants who were referred by their past or current employees. As one puts it, why hire a complete stranger when a good friend recommends someone who is equally capable? A professional, be it a lawyer, a doctor, a financial planner or even a hairdresser should keep in mind that networking is crucial in one’s long-term career plans. The success and failure of engaging into networking depends on how well one manages it.