It's Who You Know
How to make your networking count ...
Posted by Jacqui Frost on 16/04/2012
As you know I have grown my business from recommendations and referrals. Mostly these come from our existing client base and from my networking contacts. But the hardest part was not knowing if, let alone when, these new enquiries were coming ...
business networking is about making connections with the right people
I already knew that properly warmed up referrals from my contacts, of people who were looking for our Telephone Answering or Virtual Assistant services, were better than any cold enquiry from my website or other advertising. But I never knew when these referrals were going to come in. So when I had the opportunity to learn about systemising my referrals with Jacky Sherman of the Referral Institute I jumped at the chance.
I joined the Referrals for Life Programme in 2010 and it has taught me lots about how important my contacts really are, but more importantly it has taught me about turning my large number of contacts into useful referral partners. The Certified Networker course is an instrumental part of the programme teaching how to network effectively to benefit my business and not just to add large numbers of people to my database.
But for me I think I get the most benefit from the Referral Pipeline course. Jacky runs several of these over the course of the year and they are crucial for building strong referral partnerships. It's a day long course that you attend with your referral partners. You learn about different behaviour types and how to work well with people who are not necessarily like you.
Part of the day is about opening up your databases to one another. Allowing your referral partner to see who you know, and then working together to work out what might be the best way to introduce each other. By the end of the session you have a strategy in place and follow up meetings booked. It really helps you to cement your relationships and also to know what you are expecting of each other.
As Jacky often says through the programme "you need to educate people not only about you and your business but also teach them how to refer to you". And the Referral Pipeline course is great at that. Last month I attended with Vicki Masters from The Best of Northampton, and we learnt a lot about each other and our respective businesses. Genie Jenny worked with Julia Doherty of Green Umbrella and they learnt a lot about each other despite the fact that they had known each other for years. Julia is a Social Mediator and will be blogging for us later in the month.
By the end of the day we had all arranged to make some introductions that could be beneficial to our partners and had put a date in the diary to continue to work together to see who we might know that we could introduce our partner to.
If you would like more information on the Referral Institute then you can usually meet Jacky Sherman at our Oaktree Networking events. She is actually speaking this Friday (20th April) at the Campanile Hotel, Northampton. Please call us on +44 (0) 845 618 2902 to book your place!
Be magical ...