In Part One, I talked about the importance of being a giver and how that will set the law of reciprocity into effect. In this post I want tell you how to identify, locate and cultivate new referral partnerships, referral sources and have the makings of a successful “Word of Mouth” business.
So where do you begin? Start with the relationships you already have. In network marketing, new team members are encouraged to call everyone they know. Family, friends, co-workers, ex-lovers, priests, rabbis, shamen, etc, etc. Although I do believe network marketing companies are on to something here, I don’t believe you have to call everyone you know.
Be intentional about the people you contact. While it might be nice to catch up with Aunt Mary or with your friend James whom you haven’t seen since the second grade, you will want to be deliberate about calling people that you can develop a referral partnership with.
If you’re looking to connect with financial advisors, call your CPA. If you’re looking to connect with CPA’s, call your estate planning attorney. Or, maybe you’re targeting home builders. Develop a referral relationship with a mortgage broker or a loan office at a bank. Often times, the fastest route to the people we want to meet is through the people we already know.
This is where Linkedin can play a strong part. If there is a particular person you would like to meet, go to their page on Linkedin and see if you are a 2nd level connection to this person. That means, if you are a 2nd level connection to the person you would like to meet, then you already have a 1st level connection on Linkedin with someone that has a 1st level connection with this individual. You can now ask your 1st level connection to make an introduction for you through Linkedin.
Pick a target market and work it for all it’s worth. Don’t turn picking your target market into a ten point system, trying to figure out who is the best market to go after. You already know who your best clients are. Those are the markets you want to target. I always say, it is best to fish in a pond that is stocked with the kind of fish I like to eat opposed to a pond that is stocked with a lot of fish I can’t eat.
Talk to some of the folks you haven’t spoken to in a while. Especially if you’ve done business with them before. Maybe it’s time to have coffee or maybe just a short office visit. Ask them what you can do to help them? Then let them know who it is you are looking to meet these days. It’s been awhile since you’ve spoken to this person, so your target may have changed or they probably have forgotten. Be specific when sharing who your target client is.
We also want to develop new referral relationships. These relationships will come as a result of some of the referrals we receive and from networking events we attend. I want to be clear here. If you focus on a specific niche, do not spend your time attending the local networking mixers or leads groups. That brings us back to the two ponds. Go to where the fish (your potential clients) are plentiful. This is an opportunity for you to focus on the associations and other organizations affiliated with your target market.
Networking mixers, Chamber of Commerce events and other leads groups are not bad. As a matter of fact they can be quite good. If you’re business is one that is not focused on one specific market, ie. a local real estate sales agent or a distributor for health supplements, then a networking mixer may serve you well.
It is important that we are intentional about the networking we do. Networking takes time and time is money. Unless you’re a bored socialite, don’t waste your time at business events that are going to get you anything but new business.
In next month’s post, I will take a deeper dive into using social media for networking. Until then, have a great and successful month.
You can also feel free to contact me directly for a free thirty minute “Networking Consultation”. Email me at email@example.com. Put “Free 30 minute consultation” in the subject line. To your success.