Networking Skills: To Be Referred You Need To Be Credible
Check your own behaviours ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 27/09/2017 @ 8:00AM
Two conversations recounted to me recently have inspired this blog post today. Both were negative experiences people had with members of their networking groups ...
To be credible out networking you need to under promise and over deliver!
photo by 'rawpixel.com' on unsplash
As you read these stories, ask yourself if you would refer these people to your best contacts?
First off, was a man irritated that someone had yet again cancelled their agreed first one to one meeting, "Because something more important had come up". He had decided that if he were not important enough to the other person, he would not bother rearranging the meetup.
Secondly, a woman who had specifically gone to a networking event to meet someone intending to set up a meeting. The other person arrived late for the networking group, turning up after the meeting had started the formalities.
My storyteller sat next to him and had indicated that she wanted to talk to him before he left, but he then rushed out before the end of the meeting forgetting to speak to her. She was now questioning if he was the right person to introduce to others.
"We've all had something important come up and we've all had catastrophes occur, then arrived late or had to leave early!"
Most people, if they already know you, will forgive you as long as it's not a habit. New relationships are more likely to flounder at that point and you will have to work harder to establish the credibility needed for those people to refer you.
It surprises me how often I hear tales like this, witnessed the behaviours and been on the receiving end when I go networking. I'm human too, so need a reminder not to transgress.
The one great tip I was given early in my referral marketing training that I keep constantly in my mind is to "treat my fellow networkers as if they were my best clients". When you think about it, they are. They are the very people who once they believe in you can refer you over and over again.
So my tip for you today is to treat every networking meeting, as a meeting with your best client:
Dress for business. It may be early in the morning, but make sure you don't look like you just crawled out of bed.
Prepare. What outcomes do you want from the networking event? What you are going to contribute that is of value to others?
Be on time. Whilst traffic can be unpredictable on the whole, you should time how long it takes you to get there and therefore what time you need to start out. Would you turn up late for a meeting with your best client? Remember the mingling over coffee is only the first is part of the meeting.
Stay to the end and that includes time to arrange further meetings and catch up with people who want to talk to you. I recommend half an hour.
Treat your one-to-one meetings as important as any sales meeting. Think of this typical scenario: you're looking through your diary to arrange a meeting. The other person says, "Can you do next Tuesday afternoon?" You have a meeting with your best client next Tuesday afternoon. What would you do? I bet you'd say, "I'm sorry, I can't do that" and look for another date. Now is that what you would do if that prior appointment was for a one-to-one with a fellow networker?
Lastly, do what you say you will do. Remember the adage: always under promise and over deliver.
If this sounds too obvious then just check your own behaviours on a regular basis.
If you network with the same group regularly and have healthy relationships with members, it's easy to let some of these simple behaviours slip.
As we get more comfortable with people, we justify it with thoughts like, "she won't mind" or even, "she did the same to me last time" and so slowly and often imperceptibly, your relationship slips and your referrals dry up too.
"Would you like to know more?"
If you'd like to develop your own networking skills, then do get in touch with me on 07970 638857 or click here to ping me an email and let's arrange to get together once I return from Milan.
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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