Successful business networkers know that if you want referral partners to learn about the value of your products or services, you must spend time learning about the value of theirs. I believe that the best way to do this is in a personal meeting. Master networkers meet with each other regularly to gain a better understanding of each other’s businesses.
It’s an easy invite that goes something like this: “Juan, I’d like to be able to refer more business to you, and to do that, I need a deeper understanding of what your company does and how you operate. Could we get together next week to talk about it?”
Although you don’t explicitly say so, Juan understands that he will be learning about your business at the same time. I realize that it is not always easy to know how confident your contacts are in referring you to the people they know. By having a personal meeting with them, you show interest in helping them grow their business. In the spirit of Givers Gain® which is based on the Law of Reciprocity, they will be interested in helping to grow your business, too.
Trust is a Major Factor
In business networking, trust is a major factor in giving and receiving referrals. As I often say, it’s not what you know or who you know, but how well you know each other that counts. In our digital, fast-paced world, having an actual conversation with another person can feel daunting sometimes, and we may even feel that we’ve forgotten how to do it.
Which is why we have the GAINS exchange in BNI®; it is a fantastic way to begin to earn trust with your fellow members and referral partners. When you have a one-to-one meeting with someone that you’ve networked with, it is important to begin building the foundation of the business relationship in an effective way. GAINS is the perfect way to do that. You learn about each other’s Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, and Skills – both personal and professional, which leads to deeper, stronger relationships and mutually beneficial referral partnerships.
Do YOU Invest Time for Learning About Others?
You may want to ask yourself this question: Am I being realistic about the amount of time it will take for me, based on my profession, to gain the critical level of confidence?
These are some questions that may be helpful to determine your answer.
- Do I make regular educational and stimulating presentations to my fellow networkers about the value I provide to my clients?
- Am I doing business with members of my networking group so I am able to give them dynamic testimonials, which makes it likely that they will do the same for me?
- Do I regularly meet with my networking colleagues to learn about their businesses so I can confidently refer my own contacts to them?
When you can endorse the quality of services or products that a networking partner offers, which increases other people’s confidence in them — your partner will most likely be disposed to return the favor. Testimonials from one or two of your networking partners may lead to a much larger and more valuable referral from another member of your group who was waiting for more evidence before taking a risk on you.
By following these simple suggestions and investing the time to learn about others, you will be well on your way to building trusted relationships and getting referrals from networking partners.
How has investing YOUR time to learn about others helped you in your business networking?
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