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Imagine a whole roomful of frogs, slimy, smelly and glistening as they glare up at you, waiting to be kissed. Is your business networking like kissing frogs? Kissed? What? If your networking is like most people’s you are trying to kiss frogs, in the hope that they’ll turn into handsome princes and princesses.  To improve the results you get from your networking, change the way you go about it. We recently surveyed people who had started to get much better results from their business networking – there were five common steps.

How to tell if you are trying to kiss frogs

  • You hear yourself saying the word “somebody”, when doing your “one minute” at a networking meeting.
  • Your LinkedIn headline doesn’t say who you help (and how).
  • Your LinkedIn profile doesn’t mention what you do for your ideal client.
  • You find yourself having “one to ones”, wondering why you’re having that meeting.
  • You don’t do business with everybody, but your description of your clients could apply to anybody.
  • Oops maybe you do actually do business with everybody.
  • You use Twitter and don’t have a list set up for your ideal clients.
  • You connect with anybody on LinkedIn, but don’t proactively look for anybody.
  • Your conversion rate is lower than others doing the same job as you.
  • You don’t get very good results from your business networking.
  • You’re tired of chatting to people who you believe will never be of any help to you or your business.

Business networking needs me to get to know everybody?

It is perfectly true that you don’t know who a person in your network knows, until you get to know them. It’s also true that they won’t connect you, until they trust you. But, in a time limited environment you don’t have time to do this with all people in your network! Some types of people know more of your target client than others and are more able to connect you. What’s wrong with really focusing on them, without being dismissive to the others?

5 steps to get more referrals from your networking

  1. Target: If you’re not trying to sell to your network, you need to think about what you are networking for. Be clear with your networking objective, it might be as simple as “6 new construction clients per year through referrals”. Add a cash value of this to you, to remind yourself of how important it is.
  2. Kiss fewer frogs: Focus your networking on meeting those people that are best able to help you achieve your networking objective. Make a start by listing your top 10 potential referral partners, and doing a relationship audit. You only get good results from good relationships. That’s not to say ignore everybody else, but focus on the important ones.
  3. Think Client: You will get better results when you select the type of client, why they should use you and who can best help you meet them. Think like a client, what language do they use, how do they describe how they feel and what they need? How do they feel after you’ve helped them? Now ensure that is the message that goes to your network.
  4. Be clear with what you ask for: If you’re asking for referrals, be focused on your ideal client or referral partner (if you need more of them).
  5. Adjust your online footprint: Check all your online profiles. Are they giving the same message, which is about your target client and how you help them? Do they give you credibility with that target client? If not, why would somebody refer you to them?

How to get more referrals from business networking. Remember that everybody asks for anybody and anybody isn't somebody. If you’re not getting the referrals you need, it’s time to focus and create your own networking strategy.  It doesn’t take ages, but does need a little thought. Make a start now, download our guide to building your own networking strategy, it's free and waiting for you right now in our JoinedUp Networking toolkit. This toolkit is a resource library stuffed with goodies to help you get better results from your networking (email address required). Click here to download it.

What have you done to stop yourself kissing frogs, or do you still have sore lips?

 
Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals. 
 

Download our Guide to building your own networking strategy, it's free and waiting for you right now in our JoinedUp Networking toolkit. This toolkit is a resource library stuffed with goodies to help you get better results from your networking (email address required). Click here to download it.