Support Material & Techniques for Increasing Referrals

If you’re not getting the amount of referrals you’d like to be getting, take a look at the support materials and techniques you’re currently using.  Below are some effective ways to influence people to refer you.  Some of these may not work for everyone.  The idea is to select those you think you can apply in your own business or profession.

Samples.  If you have an opportunity to distribute your materials, do it.  Bring products, samples, brochures, or a presentation book.  Many networking groups provide a brochure table where you can place these items.  If people can see, feel, touch, hear, or smell samples of the product or service you provide, they are more likely to use you.  Offer special, members-only prices or services.  If you can get network members to use you, then they are much more likely to refer you.

Presentation Books.  Everyone active in networking groups can benefit by developing a presentation book.  Buy a high-quality, three-ring binder that can attractively dislplay samples of  your products or services, brochures, photographs, etc.  Take this to your meetings and make sure it gets circulated.

Free Presentations or Demonstrations.  Many business professionals offer to speak free of charge to service clubs or business organizations as a way of getting exposure and promoting their business.  If your product or service is conducive to this approach, tell the members of your personal network that you offer this service, and accept speaking engagements as bona fide referrals.  Ask them to pitch you to the program chairs of organizations to which they belong.

If you’re well prepared and do a good job at these presentations, you may find yourself getting many more speaking offers and a lot of new business.  This technique is effective for almost any profession, but it’s particularly helpful for consultants, therapists, financial planners, CPAs, and attorneys.

Door Prizes.  Smart business professionals know that people who have tried their products or services will probably use them again.  I highly recommend that you offer door prizes regularly at your networking groups and ensure that you are given credit for the door prize when it’s given.  Always attach a business card so the winner knows where to get more.

Keep in Touch Regularly.  Meet people outside of the normal meetings that you go to whenever you can.  Write cards or letters, send articles that might be of interest, call to check in, let them know about a local business mixer, have lunch, play racquetball, tennis, or golf.  Reinforce the relationship with a thank-you note.  If someone gives you a referral or important information, send a thank-you note or gift basket.  This reinforcement will strengthen the bond and encourage that person to think of  you again.

Follow-Up.  Knowing how to get referrals is really a matter of knowing how to be helpful to the people you associate with and how to ask for help in return.  A successful referral marketing program involves creating an effective support system for yourself that also works to the advantage of others.

All the networking in the world, however, serves no purpose if you don’t follow up effectively with the people you meet or who are referred to you.  I’ve seen people who work hard at making contacts, but whose follow-up was so bad that the contacts were lost.  It’s as if they networked halfway and then completely lost sight of the potential to generate business by referral.  Follow-up letters and phone calls set the stage for further contact.  All things being equal, the more you’re in contact with others, the more business you’ll generate.  Today, more than ever, there’s no excuse for not following up.  Why?  Because there are many companies on the market that produce numerous follow-up cards, thank-you cards, and contact cards especially designed for networking.

Schedule “reconnection calls” regularly.  Such calls enable you to remind the new contacts who you are, where you met them, and what you do, as well as help you stay in touch with your long-term contacts.  If you don’t follow up with a phone call or letter, you will surely lose many business opportunities.

 

 

 

What Do Most Successful People Have in Common?

What’s the one thing the majority of successful people have in common?

In this video, UAE networking expert Bijay Shah and I discuss how a positive attitude is one thing that you’ll find in almost any successful person anywhere.  More importantly, we explain how YOU can stay positive and headed toward success, despite challenging situations in both your business life and personal life.

After watching the video, I invite you to leave your feedback in the comments section–what do you think of our strategies for staying positive?  Have you personally used any of these strategies already?  If so, how effective was the strategy you used in helping you maintain a positive attitude in the face of the challenge(s) you were facing?

Emotional Equations

I had the opportunity to hear Chip Conley speak at the Transformational Leadership Council this last weekend.  He spoke about his new book Emotional Equations.

Chip created this self-help paradigm in order to break down life’s toughest obstacles into manageable facets that you can see clearly – and influence.  When Chip suffered a series of tragedies in the space of just a couple years – and his heart inexplicably flatlined after a speech – he began using what he came to call “Emotional Equations” (like Joy = Love – Fear) to help him understand and articulate what was going on in his internal system. These simple formulas helped him focus on the variables in life that he could deal with, rather than ruminating on the unchangeable constants (the bad economy, death, taxes) he could not.

Emotional Equations give people a new perspective on life and lead them beyond the concept of emotional intelligence and into an emotional fluency that enables someone to identify, name, and manage elements that can define, hurt, and help them. Equations like “Despair = Suffering – Meaning” and “Happiness = Wanting What You Have ÷ Having What You Want,” have been reviewed for mathematical and psychological accuracy by experts. With compelling real-life stories, Conley inspires people who study his material through these equations and to formulate others to address their own circumstances.

Chip says: “In these turbulent times, when so many are trying to become ‘superhuman’ in order to deal with life’s speed bumps, tragedies, and setbacks, Emotional Equations guides you toward becoming a ‘super human’ being.”

I highly recommend the book.

Want More Business from Networking?–Watch This Video

I’ve been asked time and time again by people all over the world what I consider to be the key to getting more business through networking.  I can, without a doubt, say that there is, indeed, one thing you can do to get more business from your networking efforts.  Do you think you know what it is?  The answer may surprise you . . .

Watch the video and then take a minute to leave a comment if you have the time . . . I’d love to hear what some of your guesses were in regard to what the “secret” to getting more business through networking was going to be.  Chances are, some of the guesses you came up with are pretty good networking tactics as well and it would be great to get a conversation going about them!

When Does Going Faster, Make Things Slower?

I start this blog with a riddle: When does going faster, make things slower?  Well the answer is: when you are rushing a relationship.

A few years ago a close friend of mine, Dr. Emory Cowan, contributed an article for my book Masters of Networking.  I’m sharing his contribution in my blog today because I think it is a great concept to think about as we start the new year.

Building a word-of-mouth marketing plan requires developing a trusted network of partners — which means cultivating relationships. But relationships require time, energy, persistence, and, most of all, patience.

I believe that patience gives us the most difficulty. We live in a quick-fix, immediate-gratification society where patience is neither valued nor encouraged. We want our sales now, our business fully grown now, our satisfaction in wealth now. But when I grow impatient with the tedious process of developing relationships, one of life’s many humbling lessons comes back to remind and instruct me: Drink no wine before its time.

Many years ago, I bought some peaches at the farmers’ market in Atlanta. They were the famous Georgia peaches, grown in orchards in the Fort Valley region and renowned for their sweet, juicy taste and wonderful aroma. I took them home, visions of peach pies and cobblers dancing in my head. We ate some right away; most sat out on the kitchen counter.

One morning I was awakened by the aroma of peaches filling the house. I knew that something would have to be done with them soon or they would spoil. Wine, I thought. Why not make some peach wine? I knew my parents, who lived fifteen miles away, had an old ceramic crock and an old family recipe for fermenting wine from fruit. I found the crock, cleaned it, and, on the way home, bought cheesecloth for the top, along with yeast and sugar for the ingredients.

By the time I got home, my excitement over this project was so great that I could almost taste new wine as I cut up the peaches, added the sugar and yeast, and closed the top with the cheesecloth. But the process of making wine is slow, and I was impatient. With the crock safely stashed in the cool basement, I drove home from work each day with growing excitement. I would go immediately to the crock and smell the brew. As the days went by I became more intent on having the wine ready for consumption. But it was not happening fast enough for me.

So, one afternoon, frustrated that it was taking so long, I carried the crock to the kitchen, determined to speed up the process of fermentation. I removed the contents, used a blender to further emulsify the peaches, and added more sugar and yeast. Smug and satisfied, I returned the crock to the basement, and three days later I had — vinegar!

My vinegar-making triumph has become a life-shaping parable for me. When I am tempted to rush the process of forming relationships, whether in business, in a networking group, or in my personal life, I am reminded that some things just take time to happen. I am aware that letting my impatience force the process can turn the potential of new wine into vinegar.

Patience in developing relationships is a virtue. It leads to solid networked contacts who can help you with your business, your interests, and your life.

This is a powerful lesson for us all to consider for life and for networking.  Good wine and great relationships both take time.

What are your thoughts about this story?  Have there ever been times where you tried to rush a relationship and had a bad result?  Share your story here with us here.

 

Video: Learning to Network–What’s Your Tactic?

 

How did you learn (or how are you learning) to network?  Do you think there is a difference in the way women learn to network vs. the way men learn to network?  If you think both genders learn to network in relatively similar ways, let’s just say you’re in for a surprise . . .

In this short video, my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I discuss five different ways of learning to network and how, based on our worldwide survey of over 12,000 businessmen and businesswomen, one of the genders generally utilizes almost all five ways of learning to network while the other gender is not so diverse with their learning strategy.

Can you guess which gender dabbles in a wide variety of ways of learning to network and which gender keeps a more narrow focus?  Watch the video and then let me know whether your predictions prior to watching match up with what we reveal in the video and whether the way you learned/are learning to network jives with what our survey results specified about how your gender learns to network-I’d love to hear your comments!

Getting to the Referral Stage with a New Contact

People often ask me how to move a relationship with someone they just met to the point where the new contact feels comfortable passing them a referral.

I always say that the best way to get to this next referral-passing stage depends in part on how you came into contact with a person in the first place.  Let’s say you met while giving a brief presentation to a group of people who are in your target market.  Assuming you did a good job, then you absolutely have the possibility of receiving a referral, even though you just met.  Why? Because the presentation moved you from visibility to credibility in the new contact’s mind and now they’re probably willing to risk their reputation and recommend you to someone they know.

The same thing is true when you’re out networking.  If you have a good conversation with someone and truly add value to the conversation, then moving from visibility to credibility isn’t that difficult, and you’ll be in great shape for getting some referral-based business.  What’s more, it’s not terribly important whether the person is someone you might do business with directly.  Even if your businesses don’t match up, the other person might have information that’s useful or might know other people you’d like to get in contact with.  It’s often worthwhile to develop a networking relationship with people who have little in common with you because they can bring an entirely new network into contact with yours and broaden your business horizons.

Just bear in mind that even if there is a strong possibility that you’re going to do business with this new contact, it’s probably not going to happen there at the networking event, where conversations last anywhere from an eye-blink three minutes to a long-winded seven.  Instant business is not likely to be had.  But if you follow up with a quick note a few days later, you can make some one-to-one time and come up with ways the two of you can help each other.  That meeting is where you’ll have your best opportunity for a quick referral.

What has your experience been with moving to the referral stage with new contacts–do you have a tactic that seems to be particularly effective?  If so, please share it in the comments section.

 

Don’t Wait for a Reunion to Network with Former Classmates

After graduation, classmates seem to spread out to chase individual professional goals without any context in which to keep in touch.  Fortunately, the internet now offers a multitude of options to help you reconnect with old school friends and acquaintances and convert those relationships into useful tools for your business.

In this short video, I discuss several of these online networking options that will help you effectively connect with your former classmates so you don’t have to sit around waiting for a reunion to give you the opportunity.

After watching the video, I encourage you to connect with one of your former classmates during the coming week by using one of the online networking options I mention and then come back and leave a comment about your experience.  I’m willing to bet you’ll be glad you connected and you’ll continue to connect with more and more friends and acquaintances from your school days.

Business Networking And Sex (not what you think)

Business Networking and Sex (not what you think) is officially released this week in bookstores.  This book was more fun to work on than any book I’ve ever written.  My co-authors: Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker were fantastic to work with.

You may be wondering what sex has to do with networking.  You may also be excited to learn how to use your sexual prowess to influence business deals.  Well, get your mind out of the gutter!  Sorry to burst your bubble, but this book is really more about gender than sex, but who’s going to want a book called Business Networking and Gender (do you hear the crickets chirping)?  Not many people walk around thinking about gender, but many people think many times a day about well, you know.

The book is based on the findings from a survey that we conducted.  Over a four-year period, more than 12,000 businesspeople from every populated continent of the world participated in a study focused around 25 simple questions.  Beyond irritating you, the answers may also make you excited and motivated to learn how to work with the opposite sex.

So, pick up a copy of the book – if you dare.  But be WARNED.  It might make you angry.  Oh, and there’s some statistics too.

If you would like a sample chapter or would like more information, go to www.BusinessNetworkingAndSex.com If you have an advance copy of the book – tell me what you like most about it.  What surprised you?  What annoyed you?

 

 

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