Networking has been proven as the best way to gain new clients within our network of outstanding coaches and consultants.
You could have done an excellent job educating someone about what you do, how you do it, and with whom you want to do it. As a consultant or coach, that still may not resonate with your referral partners. They still might not “get it.” The easiest way for them to understand the work that you do is to show them! Let them see you in action. Allow them to experience you doing what you do best.
If you use assessments as part of your practice, give them a link to take one and debrief it for free. I can hear some of you, “But debriefing usually takes at least two hours.” You don’t need to give them the same type of debriefing you would for a paying client. Just give enough to entice them into learning more.
Offer a free hour of coaching on an issue they’re trying to resolve. Remember, Giver’s Gain. You can SAY you help people find balance in their personal and professional lives and get them home earlier for dinner, but until they experience exactly how you do it, they could be missing something.
If you can help them solve a problem, you’ll have a friend for life. If you get someone home earlier for dinner, and you were willing to do it for free, they will never forget you.
If you can get them connected to their ideal clients, they’ll try their level best to do the same for you. And isn’t that exactly WHY you want to network? To develop life-long friends. And isn’t developing life-long friends what effective networking is all about?
I love this quote by Madeline Sheehan:
“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or they need you to change theirs.” Networking can be a life-altering experience for you and your referral partner.
We also like to quote Ivan Misner: “Giver’s gain. ” It’s the BNI motto and it’s a good one to follow. If you expect other people to refer you, refer them first. Be the “giving-est” person you can. This is the time to focus on someone else. Yes, we know, YOU want to benefit from your networking time and spend it wisely, but the smartest way to get people to remember you is to give THEM what THEY want and expect nothing in return. If you do something nice for others, they will, in turn, do something nice for you.
If you find this difficult because you wouldn’t recommend your fellow BNI member to your best good friend, then seek out another group. There are plenty of other Meetups, LeTip groups, industry-specific organizations, non-profit boards, community service organizations, associations, … you get the idea. There are lots of places to network effectively. Find the type of people with whom you’re comfortable. They’re out there … anxiously awaiting YOU!
Expert networkers realize the value in a good connection and are willing to pay for it. Some of them even offer a cash reward for referrals that lead to business. Imagine putting up a $100 bill to encourage your referral sources. I know a successful consultant who does just that. Every time a referral source offers him a connection that turns into business, his source gets a hundred bucks. And if you get the chance to pass along that hundred, be sure to capture a photo of you handing off the bill. Photos like that look great on your newsletter and website!
Other ways to reward a connection well-made could be buying a coffee, lunch, or dinner will suffice. Maybe a little wager. If you’re getting together every other month, whoever receives the most referrals picks up the tab. Whatever you decide, commit and stick to it.
We hope this series of posts helps you achieve networking success!