Networking skills, as you know from your own experiences and in what you've read on my blog, are about building relationships and achieving objectives by working with other business owners ...
Fundamental to that is the law of reciprocity, which is where you give and others will return the favour. However, you may not be able to give a direct referral especially early in that relationships, so great networkers seek out other ways of giving.
It takes hardly any of your time. Yet if you ask any network group organiser they will tell you that most of the people in their group never bring guests along. This week, I thought I’d explore the main reasons people have given me for why they don’t invite people and give my counter-arguments.
"It’s not my event. It’s the organiser’s job to attract people not mine. I’m paying to be introduced to people, not build his/her business for them!"
First time I heard that I was stunned. However, it is easy to see why some people might think like that. It is a transactional mindset. “I’ve paid good money, now you service me".
What is needed is a relational giving frame of mind. The only reason for you invite someone to come with you is a genuine desire to help that person and develop your relationship with them. Any other motive is doomed.
“I feel uncomfortable inviting people. They’ll think I have an ulterior motive to get them to join.”
Actually, this is just another way of expressing that same transactional mindset only this time you’re projecting it onto your potential guest. If you stay in giving mode, check that there really are people in your group who it would be useful for this person to meet. Ideally, it might be a particular person who would be a useful contact. Then it becomes a gentle way of introducing them to each other.
“I don’t know anyone who would like to come?”
Now, if you’re brand new in business then this may be true. If you have chosen networking as a way you are going to generate business then you will be going to quite a few events and you will find it doesn’t take long to build up a whole host of new contacts.
Out of all those people, there are going to be people who you will want to get to know better. Some will be seasoned networkers and others newer to it. A great start to a relationship to share your experiences of different events and groups. Once you’ve chosen a core group for yourself, it becomes a perfect opening to invite people to come as well.
“I’m still sussing it out. I haven’t got a core group to invite people to come”
How about joining forces with some of the new people you’re meeting to try some out together and exchange notes? A great way to build a relationship, even if you end up choosing different groups to join.
“I don’t know them well enough to invite them to anything”
If you’re the cautious sort, you may be nervous about inviting someone who you have only just met to come along. What if they’re not trustworthy? What about your reputation?
Well, something has made you feel you could develop a closer relationship with this person so maybe have a one to one meeting first. Ask the group organiser for their view if you’re not sure. They will usually know local people who are not right for their group.
If you’re planning to introduce them to a particular individual talk to that person first. Come back with the invitation as an afterthought. “Hi ... I’ve been thinking since our conversation last week, you’re looking to meet web designers, right? Do you know ... she’s in a group I attend. Would you like to come along and meet her?”
“It’s not their type of thing”
Are you sure? If you’ve had a conversation and found out what they want to achieve you will have some idea what particular events they are likely to want to attend. Don’t assume. Let them know about your event and if they show an interest Bingo, invite them.
If it’s not their type of event they will still be flattered that you were thinking about how you can help them. It’s also a chance to have a further conversation to get clearer about what type of person they do want to meet and the constraints they may have in attending certain kinds of events
"They won’t want to come with me"
Very often this is the hidden reason people don't invite. Pure and simple fear of rejection. In business, you need to get used to the reality that not everyone will want your product or service.
However, it is more likely that what they are rejecting is the group or event you’re suggesting. If this is the real reason you’re not inviting people to come with you, bite the bullet and do it anyway.
If you keep in mind a genuine wish to help this person you will have fun building great relationships by inviting others to join you at formal and informal networking events.
If you'd like to learn more about referral marketing then do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat and see how I can help you.