Frankie Dunn may have said it best when he says to his fighter Maggie Fitzgerald in the movie Million Dollar Baby, “Protect yourself at all times.”
That’s good advice for a fighter in the ring – and for the insurance advisor just learning the craft and going it alone. Well, you can’t go it alone as an advisor. You need to meet people and grow your network. Unfortunately, in trying to meet the right people, we don’t always succeed – which is to say that we sometimes meet the wrong people.
Here are a few of the people I have met at networking events, association meetings, conferences, conventions, and other business-related functions. Maybe you’ve met them too.
There’s always one of these. They’re negative about the economy, about health care reform, about the political climate, about their business, about the market – pretty much everything. Negative people love company and attract more negative people, so don’t be one of them. Try to only hang out with positive people. Positive people will lead to positive prospects, which will lead to positive clients.
All Harry cares about is selling to everyone that he can. He only wants to talk about his products and services. He’s sizing you up as a prospect, trying to identify your pain as it relates to your business, and looking to shake you down for your money. I have a gazillion stories about advisors looking to sell their services, do a fact-find, and set appointments right there at a networking event.
Self-Centered Sally is similar to Hard-Sell Harry, but it’s not so much that she’s pitching her wares as just wants to talk about how great she is at what she does, how everybody loves her, and how much money she makes. I work with a seasoned sales rep who’s new to her current role as a financial advisor; she previously worked in brokerage, along with some other places. She loves to tell you about all the important people she knows and how successful she’s been. People say she’s a know-it-all. I guess she needs to say all of these things to feel good about herself. Nobody benefits from those conversations other than her – and really, does she?
Ravenous Rick is just there for the buffet and the booze – that’s it. He’s happy if he can kibitz a little bit and get some drinks and nibbles. The ball game is on anyway, and he can fill his belly. If he has to chat about business, fine, but Rick doesn’t really want to talk about work, whether it’s his or anybody else’s. He’ll make small talk because he knows he should, but at the end of the day, Rick really couldn’t care less. He’s just glad he has a place to go and something to occupy his time. If business comes out of it, cool. If it doesn’t, that’s OK, too – he had a good meal.