The case for making friends across borders

You work hard. As an MDRT member and a financial services professional, you strive to do the best job possible for your clients. You reward yourself by attending the 2024 MDRT Global Conference, from August 27 to 30 in Dubai, UAE. When you’re there, do you make new friends across state/province or international borders? If not, here are some reasons to consider why it makes sense from both a personal and business perspective.

  1. There are days you need motivation. It is confession time. Sometimes you do not feel like working. It could be because business is slow, everyone’s attention is on world events or something’s going on at home. Whatever the cause, you need a buddy to cheer you on and focus your attention on business. Call your new MDRT friend in another state or province. Get in touch with the member you met from another country and learn what is going on in their lives. Motivate each other to get business done.
  2. Share sales secrets. Have you ever seen a successful advisor who is a featured speaker at an office meeting? They are tasked with explaining the techniques that made them successful. You often get the feeling, however, some details are left out because they do not want every other advisor using their techniques and becoming a direct competitor in their own backyard. Swap sales ideas with your MDRT friend who isn’t from your area. They will include all the details because you are seeking clients in entirely different geographic markets.
  3. Small swatches build a quilt. Ever work on a jigsaw puzzle? It’s about how lots of small pieces come together to create a large picture. Sewing a quilt works the same way. Through travel and business, my wife and I have friends on six continents. (We are still working on Antarctica.) When COVID hit, I was in touch with many of them. We swapped stories about how the pandemic was addressed where we live. When you talk with clients and share your findings, they realize you are different from other advisors. You have a global reach. You know things other people do not.
  4. Hurray for local knowledge. Imagine two people planning a vacation. They both intend to visit Dubai. One buys a guidebook and the other has friends living and working in the city. The first stays at a tourist hotel, eats in tourist restaurants and goes on tours. The second gets the inside story on great yet underpriced hotels, where to get the best street food (Dubai is famous for it) and how to find the places favored by locals. Which do you want to be? Friends living in the area give you the inside track. They might even entertain you.
  5. You want to see them again. Your friends live at a distance. Then the MDRT Global Conference becomes your reunion event. You work hard to qualify because you want to see your friends again and catch up. The goal of seeing your new friends again motivates you to do business.
  6. They provide insight. You have gained your first client from Malaysia, and you want to be respectful of cultural differences. You reach out to your MDRT colleagues in Malaysia. They explain ways to show respect and explain how buying decisions are made. You repay the favor when a different colleague needs help. Friends in distant lands can help you better understand cultures close to their homes.
  7. Prospecting strategies. You need to refill the pipeline. The old ideas do not seem to be working, and you need a fresh approach. You call around asking, “What is working for you?” Your distant friend provides a new twist on an old strategy or a new approach that has not surfaced in your market yet. Distant friends can help keep your prospecting strategies fresh.

It is fun to make new friends, but it takes work to maintain long-distance relationships. However, there are many reasons why it is worth the time and effort.

For more about the benefits of meeting financial advisors from around the world, read “MDRT’s extended network of achievers,” by MDRT Past President Ian Green, Dip PFS, of London, England, UK.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

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