Networking Tips for Gaining More Business & Referral Partners
People often think that attending networking events will bring their business more work. The first of our networking tips, is to think differently.
The reality is, networking events don’t bring you work – it’s the gaining the trust of people over time that brings you work. So the ultimate tip here is: find a networking event that you can attend regularly and consistently, to build relationships with a growing group of people over time.
How to leverage a network
People do business with others that they know, like and trust. That much is simple.
These kinds of relationships don’t often stem from ‘digital only’ contacts. You must have a network of people that you personally know (face-to-face) which you can leverage.
So imagine if you hadn’t met someone yet, but they were the perfect candidate for a product of service? How would you get in contact with them? Well, if you have a strong relationship with someone that they know – there’s a good chance that person could make you stand out among the competition. You would have the opportunity to explain to the person that you know, how you could greatly decrease cost or increase quality for their contact.
Now, if your contact becomes excited about the offer and believes it will fit their contact perfectly – then they are very likely to advocate on your behalf. This will make them look great too, as they have advocated for you, and your product/service which will greatly help their client.
When you then call the new contact to offer the product/service – they will already be excited to take your call because of how well you have been advocated for.
The alternative, is to introduce yourself to the new contact completely cold. How likely are they to even answer a phone call from you? Let alone take up your product/service? The trust simply isn’t there.
Now imagine you have a whole army of people advocating on your behalf – as you advocate for them? You would be introduced to people you never even thought would be your clients.
What would you prefer?
Telling people how great you are?
Having others tell their contacts how great you are?
So with a strong network of know, like and trust relationships – you will have an endless stream of warm referrals, and easily find new prospects. While this may seem obvious when it comes to networking tips, often people forget how to properly leverage their network by purposefully engaging in advocacy.
Self promotion DOESN’T WORK
Which makes you wonder why so many people on LinkedIn make themselves look like the world’s youngest millionaire CEO. 99% of the time, that’s just a cover.
How to be advocated for?
People often wonder, “Why won’t people advocate for me more regularly?” They see others being advocated for, and ask, “why not me.”
The real question should be “how can that be me?”
The answer to which is: Advocate first – collaboration begins with one. How can you expect others to advocate for you, if you aren’t advocating for others? Often networking groups and attendees fall into a standstill when everyone thinks with a ‘you first’ mentality to advocating & referring others. This is a one way road about nowhere.
While there are lots of networking tips out there, this is by far the most valuable:
Those who give a lot – receive A LOT.
A networking environment should push this in a strong way. The best networking events we refer people to are those which encourage everyone to:
- Advocate for others before they advocate for you
- Contribute to the environment – especially by inviting new people to attend
- Grow the network exponentially. Bring more people in, and encourage them to do the same. Doing this will mean more opportunities for everyone rather than a few people feeling pressured to come up with new referrals every week.
Hearing success stories of what can come from advocacy is an important part of any networking event. These stories are the authentic motivation we all need to keep referring & advocating.
So another networking tips is:
Share your success stories of advocacy with others at networking events.
Once the herd is moving in the right direction, and everyone is sharing in each other’s success – it’s easy to build momentum.
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