Giving and gaining business by referral is based on building strong relationships and you should invest time in cultivating relationships in your network.
There is however a danger that we focus so much on the relationships that we do not take action. In other words our networking becomes social; we view events as clubs and our business relationships as friends. I encourage you to make friends and to be relaxed at events but at the same time we should be ready to take the appropriate action with the right people at the right time. Action could be such things as.
- Ask for a referral
- Ask for an introduction
- Step up for a volunteer position
- Book that 1:1
- Talk to somebody new
- Ask “how can I help you?” and be prepared to act
- Have 1:1’s where half of the meeting is action based on the 1st half of planning for that action
There are many things we can do to get a return on the time we are investing in building great relationships. Once you have built trust take action and unleash your network you will be amazed what it can deliver.
Julian Lewis is an Executive Director with Business Networking International (BNI). He has over 10 years of practical experience in referral marketing and business networking for profit and pleasure. He regularly talks to audiences internationally about the power of referral networking. He is also a professional MC helping delegates get the most out of conferences and audiences enjoy awards ceremonies.