Getting Quality Results From Your Networking
Be patient, methodical and ruthless ...
Posted on: 04/03/2015 By: Jacky Sherman
Two conversations last week triggered this blog. Both people were complaining that they weren't getting referrals from their network group. Both were feeling dispirited, both blamed the group format and other members ...
Both were feeling that 'networking' generally was not the right way to win new business. My response is in two parts:
First, be patient
Networking is not a quick fix. The first stage is to build trusting relationships and that takes time. When you first join a networking group most people in the room either don't know you or only know you in a different context.
It will take time to build the trust so give them time. The onus is on you to demonstrate your trustworthiness to group members. The easiest way of doing this is to attend regularly.
Seasoned networkers have seen it all. People pitch up, they invest their time in these new people who then disappear again. So naturally, they want to see if you're going to commit to the group and demonstrate your staying power.
It's natural to feel like the outsider at first, because you are. It's only by pitching up and getting to know the other members that you will become part of the group.
Many of the other people will already have relationships with others who offer your type of services. Why should they switch allegiance just because you decided to pitch up for breakfast/lunch/supper? Take heart! No-one - and I mean no-one - offers exactly the same service you offer because no-one is exactly like you.
Resist the temptation to compete with their existing relationship or dismiss them entirely. Just focus on what makes you unique and know that this relationship will take longer to get going.
Networking, or more correctly 'referral marketing', is a method to get introduced to potential clients. So are you being methodical?
Now, whilst patience is essential, there comes a time when you realise that you must be getting this wrong because, although you have invested in people in this group, referrals are still not forthcoming. So check what you are actually doing.
The chances are there are missing pieces. Often it is a missing part of the jigsaw that stops people referring you.
Do you have a properly worked up referral marketing plan? Do you just turn up to networking events, talk about your business and either spray referrals around the room willy nilly, or wait for others to take the initiative? Do you apply your plan all week or forget all about 'networking' until the next group meeting?
Have you taken advantage of training opportunities offered by your group? Many groups offer free, or very cheap, training for new and seasoned members so take advantage of this. The better members of the group will apply that training and be looking for you to apply it too. It's back to that trust and commitment.
Be ruthless with yourself
One last point on this, be ruthless with yourself about applying all you have learnt. Human nature is that we 'cherry pick'; in other words, we apply the bits that we find easiest or enjoy the most. We also justify to ourselves that the hard bits are not necessary.
"How wonderful, that lets me off the hook! I knew it wasn't me, it's all the others". Be careful with that sort of thinking!
If you are not getting regular referrals from your network group, be patient, resist the temptation to join yet another networking group or give up altogether. Take the time to assess who in your group has the potential to refer you and invest your time in getting to know them well. Check you have all the pieces in place for you referral marketing plan using our Where Are You Now? checklist.
Then check you're doing the right things in the right manner:
Are you doing things right?
Are you doing the right things?
How did you decide what is right?
Read my previous blog post about this and then take responsibility to learn how to get it right and apply it all methodically.
Would you like to know more? Call me on 07970 638857 or click here to send me an email and let's talk about how we can improve your referral marketing plan.
Until next time ...
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