Seattle Community

Sue Clement
Networking & Referral Expert, Speaker, Author
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
Greatly helpful
8.4
out of 10
5 votes

Turbo-Charge Your Business Networking!

How can you make networking pay off more quickly? Here's the secret - you can be helpful AND improve your bottomline at the same time. It's a matter of giving back, and building goodwill - with the right people.
Written Feb 14, 2012, read 2574 times since then.
Closed_info

 

Do you ever wish you could make networking pay off more quickly? You know that you're not supposed to be too fixated on your bottom line when it comes to networking. Instead, you're supposed to be helpful and focused on making connections.

Here's a secret - you can be helpful AND still improve your bottomline at the same time. It's a matter of giving back, and building goodwill - with the right people.  

Here are seven tips that can turbo-charge your networking results...

1) Network in the right place

The key to productive networking is to be in the right place at the right time. When you spend time and money on going to networking meetings, make sure these meetings are filled with people that are good connections for you.

How would you know? Ask yourself a few questions...  

    * Who comes to the meetings
    * Are there enough people you connect with?
    * Do they share or service your target market?
    * Can you comfortably pass referrals to other members?
    * Do you have anything in common with the members?
    * Do you enjoy the meetings and the people there?  

For example, if you're a financial advisor, you want to network in places where people have the kind of money that would allow them to invest in your services - or know many people who do. If you're offering subcontracting services such as installing drywall, you'll want to go to events that have a lot of builders and contractors who could hire or refer you.   

2) Think quality over quantity

Whether it comes to selecting networking events or potential connections, always think quality over quantity. It's not about how many networking events you attend each week, but about whether the ones you do attend have members who either are or know people who would be good connections for you.

The same is true about building relationships with people. You only have so much time, so be sure to connect with people who are or know people you can do business with.

3) Build relationships with super connectors

Taking this one step further, you'll really be able to accelerate your networking results if you connect with super connectors. But don't just toss your business card at them and ask them to send you referrals. Instead, treat them with respect and appreciation - show interest in what they are doing and develop real relationships with them.

4) Become a resource

Why not become a super connector yourself? You can do that by becoming a resource, which you do by getting to know a lot of people and then connecting them with each other. That way, you'll find that your potential prospects will seek you out, and you'll have more opportunities to be of service, which will pay off in an ever-growing range of connections.

And you don't have to wait until someone asks for an introduction. Be proactive. Start by making a list of the people you know. Consider both your inner and outer networking circles. Then think of whom you need to connect and introduce to each other. Consider who their target prospects are and look for aligning opportunities. For example introduce a realtor to a mortgage broker, or your accountant to a biz coach.

Just by spending 30 minutes each week, you'll be surprised at the number of introductions and referrals you can generate for your network.

5) Give testimonials and get more referrals

Another highly effective way to turbo-charge your connections and referrals is to give endorsements and testimonials to others. You'll be amazed how quickly others will begin to endorse you right back. After all, what goes around comes around!

Go to your LinkedIn account today and find one of your contacts you can endorse - a few minutes are all it takes!

6) Follow up more than once


A lot of networkers find it hard enough to make even one follow-up connection. While making that call or sending an email is crucial, it's even more important to follow up repeatedly. Make a second and third call, follow up after one-on-one meetings, and focus on building real relationships with your key prospects and prospective referral partners.

Too much work? Remember, this is about quality over quantity. Select a few key people and focus on developing deeper relationships with them, instead of making dozens of first phone calls each week.

Not sure what to say? Ask them what projects they're working on, who would be a great referral for them, or any resources or people they may want to connect with. Don't forget about the personal connections - family, hobbies, vacations etc. This isn't a sales call - it's a relationship builder.

7) Have an attention-getting introduction or "Audio Logo"

One of the most powerful tools for connecting with just the right people is an attention-grabbing networking introduction, elevator pitch, or "Audio Logo". Make sure you have one you can use for either a typical networking event 60-second introduction or a conversational one for social situations.

A powerful audio logo will position you apart from your competition, keeps you top of mind and makes you easy to refer - you'll attract clients and referrals!

Check out this published work by Sue Clement
Insider Secrets to Referral Success

Learn more about the author, Sue Clement.

Comment on this article

  • Networking & Referral Expert, Speaker, Author 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Sue Clement
    Posted by Sue Clement, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | Feb 15, 2012

    Not sure how to craft an amazing jaw-dropping networking introduction?

    Please check out my 2-session Webinar course "The Perfect Elevator Pitch - How To Attract Your Ideal Prospects In 60 Seconds Or Less."

    I walk you through step-by-step and show you exactly how to craft your attention getting elevator pitch or Audio Logo, and then on the second call you can get feedback and on-the-spot coaching.

    For more information please visit http://www.sueclement.com/webinar/audio-logo

    The more of the above tips you put into practice, the more productive your networking becomes, and the faster you'll get results. So get started today!

  • Consultants providing Audit Solutions, Business Process Improvement Solutions and Fraud Risk & Vulnerability Solutions. Learn more at www.synergyenterprize.com 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Jonathan Ngah
    Posted by Jonathan Ngah, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Feb 16, 2012

    Sue, I found your article helpful. Networking with the right people and focusing on quality contacts is critical.

    How do you become a resource without becoming annoying?

    The same question applies to following up. When do you draw the line and move on if there are no responses to your follow-up attempts?l

  • Networking & Referral Expert, Speaker, Author 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Sue Clement
    Posted by Sue Clement, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | Feb 17, 2012

    Jonathon, you're right, it can be a bit of a balancing act between being helpful and being a pest.

    In being a resource or the go-to-guy I think it begins at the networking events. One of my favorite questions to ask - "who's a good referral for you?" or "Is there anyone or any service you're looking to connect with?" or "how would I recognize that someone would be a good prospect for you?" These phrases lets them know that you're tapped in and are open to connect them - of course you'll need to truly look to make the connection/introduction.

    Another way to be a resource is to have meaningful conversations (not just talk about the weather, sports or current events) and then follow up by sending them an article or item that is in sync with your conversation.

    Regarding your question about following up & when it is time to stop - again, it depends on how you're following up. Too often I get networking follow ups that are blatant (& unwanted) sales pitches. I find this disheartening especially when in no way did I indicate more than a casual interest about their product or service.

    Following up isn't about selling -- unless they showed interest and you specifically agreed that you would call them.

    The follow up is about deepening the relationship - show interest in what they do, ask one the of above questions about who's a good referral for them. If you've had a meaningful conversation the followup is easier because you'll actually have something to comment on.

    I think it's also appropriate to share something of your services that's positioned to be of value. I like to add a PS. note "here's a recent article on (topic relevant to your services) that I thought you might find interesting" Make sure the intent is to be helpful - this shouldn't be a link to your sales page or a sales pitch.

    So check your motive to follow up - is it to sell or build the relationship?

  • Public Relations and Online Media 
Bellingham, Washington 
Silvia Reed
    Posted by Silvia Reed, Bellingham, Washington | Feb 20, 2012

    Great article Sue. Totally agree with you. Making what I call " a successful sale" is the result of a solid and respectful relationship. I find that the line between effective PR and good networking is rather fine. Done right, they are extremely effective in building reputation. When you connect with the intention of "helping others and bringing value" you can't go wrong.

  • Networking & Referral Expert, Speaker, Author 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Sue Clement
    Posted by Sue Clement, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | Feb 20, 2012

    Absolutely Silvia, I was just talking with a client who was concerned that he didn't want to appear too pushy. My answer was that if you're coming from a collaborative stance of trying to help, being pushy was not how he'd appear.

  • Business Mentor and Author 
Seattle, Washington 
Gerald  Grinter
    Posted by Gerald Grinter, Seattle, Washington | Feb 22, 2012

    Sue,

    This is excellent! I think when most of us think about networking we don't think about how to approach networking. We just use the force in the hopes that we will meet the right people. You've created an excellent path for any business owner to follow.

    Love reading your articles!

    Gerald

  • Networking & Referral Expert, Speaker, Author 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Sue Clement
    Posted by Sue Clement, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | Feb 22, 2012

    Thanks Gerald, glad you found this of interest - here's a link to another of my articles that expands on point#7 above - having an attention getting networking introduction that you may also enjoy:

    http://biznik.com/articles/5-deadly-mistakes-to-avoid-when-answering-the-question-what-do-you-do

Closed_info