I heard high praise for the roundtable that investment marketer Anne Banks of gr8 communications moderated at the May 2013 PAICR RFP Symposium. Below you’ll find tips that will help you earn people’s cooperation whether you’re a financial advisor, marketer, or any person who relies on obtaining information from colleagues.
I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to chat face-to-face with Anne at two PAICR events in New York City.
5 Tips for getting your experts’ cooperation when you need it
By Anne Banks
Throughout your career there will be many times when you will need to collaborate with and/or tap the expertise of fellow professionals to achieve success. In the investment management industry, the expertise of portfolio managers, product and portfolio specialists, and securities analysts is always in high demand. Getting their attention and help can be a challenge—but it’s not impossible.
Having worked in the investment management industry for 25+ years, here’s what I believe can help you get the most out of your working relationships with your firm’s investment professionals and other subject matter experts.
1. Lead from the front.
In my opinion, the best way to get people to give you time and help is to lead by example. It’s hard for people to turn down your request for help if you’ve always been ready and willing to do them the same favor. Of course, there will the odd person that won’t play ball, but they are typically few and far between.
2. Focus on the relationship, not the to-do list.
If the only time you engage with your subject matter experts is when you need something from them—think again. You don’t have to become their best buddy, but people are generally quicker to help those they know and like. So, if you happen to like the expert, work on building a relationship beyond your to-do list. In particular, look and listen for signals as to how you might return their favor.
3. Some respect, please.
You want to build a relationship that is founded on mutual respect and, in my experience, the best way to get respect is by giving it. In particular, be respectful of your expert’s time, because they generally are in high demand. For example:
- Be on time and come prepared for any meetings you schedule with them.
- Use your time with them wisely; ask key questions first and, where possible, come with a suggestion on how to approach the issue you are discussing.
- Give them a reasonable amount of time to respond to your requests.
- Share the insights they give you with all relevant stakeholders and capture them in relevant internal systems and documents – because nobody likes being asked the same question over and over!
4. Say thank you.
Don’t just thank them for their time and the information. Did their speedy response save your bacon on getting a critical document out the door on time? Did the work get special recognition – either from senior management or from a prospective client who decided to hire you? Let them know these outcomes, and their boss too.
5. Think bigger picture.
When the expert is more senior than you, I would recommend that you view your engagement with them as more than an information-gathering expedition. With the right preparation and approach, it’s an opportunity to make a positive, indelible impression on the expert—one that could be career-making for you, as well as deliver the information/answers you need now.
Anne Banks is principal, gr8 communications LLC, an independent marketing consulting firm that specializes in branding, marketing and communications solutions for institutional asset managers.