Quick networking tip #30 Reject rejection – embrace no!

Rejection is something we choose to experience; we label what just happened to us as a rejection. The reality of it is that what we call rejection was not that at all. Worse case is that somebody said no to a request you made. Often people saying “no” mean “not now” giving you the chance to ask again later or to rephrase your request.

Asking is part of being successful at relationship building and hence business networking. If you want to have a one to one meeting you need to ask. Occasionally people will say no. Do not see this as a rejection. I look at it as it was not right for them just yet or at this time and I will ask later. More likely I will ask somebody else and that is the key to this networking tip.

No is not a rejection. No is a pause. You may never go back and ask again but you have not been rejected. You are free to go and ask somebody else and you are free to ask again later if you want to.

As an example, if you ask somebody to go 2nd onto their supplier list and they say “no” you have not lost anything as you were not on their supplier list in the first place.  My advice would be to go and ask somebody else. If you get too many “no’s” then refine your approach. Eventually you can go back to the first “no” (if you want to) and ask again, this time with a better approach and more chance of getting a yes!

Reject Rejection and embrace “no” as part of the success process!

 

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 Emcee (MC) helping delegates get the most out of conferences and audiences enjoy awards ceremonies.

Quick networking tip #29 Ask! Ask! Ask!

The power of business networking is delivered by a number of key benefits to business. When people first go to networking events they will often go to find people who want to buy their product or services. What they find over time is that the power in networking events is in developing relationships with some of the people they meet which in turn gives them access to the following key benefits.

  • Referrals
  • Mentoring
  • Advice
  • Introductions to new key contacts (suppliers and influencers)
  • Education

When you ask the right people this will be given freely to you by. The right people are those with whom you have taken the time to build a trusting relationship. Get used to asking for help, get used to asking for introductions, get used to asking for referrals.

People love to help, you will very rarely get a no. If you do it will be a polite no and normally with alternative suggestions.

So take time to build trusting relationships and ask ask ask. When you do your return from your investment in networking will grow exponentially.

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.

Quick networking tip #28 Talk the language

On the 1st of April 2015 I started learning French for the first time since school some 30 years ago.

I attended The Vici Language Academy in Newbury Berkshire. On my first day I met John. John was a former Royal Engineer and was planning to move to the south of France at some stage in the next 3 years. John said to me “it is my dream to go and live in France but I would not do so without learning the language as that would be rude”. I asked John how much French he knew and he said “well pretty much zero but I have 3 years to learn and that is what I intend to do”.

Business networking and referral marketing is pretty much the same. If you want to profit from referrals then you need to invest in learning the language and you need to commit the correct amount of time to this. In the case of learning French 3 years is about right if you study part time. In the case of referrals it can take at least 3 years before your efforts see massive results but also it could be done much quicker.

The speed in which you learn the language of referral will depend on how much time and effort you put into to attending events and training on the specific skills needed. I recommend that you commit to at least 3 regular networks with at least one of these being weekly. That way you will soon be fluent in the language of referral and be achieving massive results.

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.

Quick networking tip #27 Feel the fear and do it anyway

In 2003 I was invited to my first networking event. It was a BNI event in Reading, UK. I had received an invitation from a client. I accepted because I did not want to let my client down but as soon as I accepted I regretted it.

I was full of fear of this unknown event, strange people, speaking in public. These are the top fears we have. In 1984 a New York Times survey on Social Anxiety placed death third in the list of people’s biggest fears. The top two responses were walking into a room full of strangers and speaking in public.

It may seem crazy but networking events are some of the scariest thing you can do for most of us. I know it was for me on that day.

So what did I do? I felt the fear and I did it anyway. I pushed myself into the room and I was greeted by a room full of big smiling faces. The people I met on that day went on to pass me loads of referrals. They also helped me conquer my fear of public speaking. Now an audience of 1000+ people does not phase me. Networking events, even new ones, are a joy and I am comfortable with the two biggest fears.

I am so glad I faced my fear that day and I know you will be too. Find an event that scares you and do it anyway; the results may just change your life!

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.

 

 

 

 

Quick networking tip #26 Take Action

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.

  1. Ask for a referral
  2. Ask for an introduction
  3. Step up for a volunteer position
  4. Book that 1:1
  5. Talk to somebody new
  6. Ask “how can I help you?” and be prepared to act
  7. 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.

Quick networking tip #25 Act as if…

It is important for your self-confidence and how other people see you to act as if you are already the successful networker. You already are in demand for short chats and 121 meetings, you give great presentations and you refer widely. You are the sort of person who makes connections for others and people seek you out.

Acting in this way will make others see you in this way. It will also make you take the actions required to create more success. For instance if you are always in demand for short chats then you would need to turn up to events early for those short chats. Also as you give great presentations you will also be the type of person who prepares those great presentations. As a person who refers widely you regularly ask people “who would be a great referral for you”.

The more you see yourself as a great networker the more you will be a great networker and referral success will come your way.

 

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.

Quick networking tip #24 Be the best networker you can, invest in yourself

As well as being well read as per tip 23 it is important to attend workshops, conferences and masterclasses. This way you can interact with other top networkers (only the top ones tend to go to training). Surrounding yourself with the best people means that some of it will rub off and you will become a better networker and achieve more referral marketing success.

Regardless of the topic and the trainer you will always get something from the session and add to your skill set. Review the material and make sure you commit to at least one action to improve your chance of success. Do this as soon as you can ideally at the training itself or just after.

I suggest that you invest in yourself at least once a quarter and if possible monthly. Don’t forget that people pass business even at training events.

 

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.

Quick networking tip #23 Read widely for referral success

Business networking and referral marketing has been studied for over 30 years now and there are numerous books covering the subject. In addition there are masses of online resources. Invest some of your time in reading and taking action based on this body of work. Some of my favourites are:

 

  1. Book – Networking like a Pro – Dr Ivan Misner
  2. Book – The Unnatural Networker – Charlie Lawson
  3. Book – The 29 Per Cent Solution – Dr Ivan Misner
  4. Book – The Jelly Effect – Andy Bounds
  5. Blog – www.businessnetworking.com
  6. Blog – www.businessnetworking.co.uk

 

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.

Quick networking tip #22 Release the brakes on your networking

If you are sticking to just one regular networking event then you are significantly reducing the effectiveness of your network. I suggest that you find 3 separate organised networks. These should be from one of the following categories.

·       Structured Referral based networks such as BNI

·       Casual contact network such as The Chamber of Commerce, FSB or Business Scene

·       Industry specific networks

·       Women only Networks such as Athena

·       Community service groups such as Lions or Rotary

 

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.

Quick networking tip #21 Referral success leaves clues

Tony Robbins said that “success leaves clues” and by that he meant we can all learn from successful people. Find people who are successful in referral marketing and spend time with them. Ask them how they do what they do and model yourself on their success.

You must check that they are genuinely successful and that they have been so over a period of time. Once you are confident then they are worth talking to and most importantly listening to you should surround yourself with these type of people as much as you can. Once you have spoken to enough people and you find lots of over lapping clues then you should have the confidence that you have found some successful behaviours and systems which you can put into practice

 

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.