getting business Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®

The Secret to Getting More Business Through Networking

I am constantly being asked, “What’s the secret to getting more business through networking?”  After more than two decades in the world of business networking I can confidently say that there is, indeed, a proven way to get more business through networking, though I wouldn’t quite call it a secret . . .

The best way to get more business through networking is, without a doubt, to spend more time doing it!  Okay, so, it’s a tad more complicated than that because you have to spend the time doing the right things with the right people.  However, based on a recent Referral Institute study on business networking, there is a definitive answer in regard to the amount of time people spend networking and the impact on the amount of business that is generated by that amount of time.

The most dramatic statistic found in the study is that people who reported “networking played a role in their success” spent an average of 6.5 hours a week participating in networking activities.  However, the majority of people who claimed “networking did NOT play a role in their success” spent 2 hours or less per week developing their network!!

This means that there is a direct correlation between the time you devote to the process and the success you realize from it.  To illustrate this further, I have inserted a graph below which relates to the average percentage of business generated from someone’s networking efforts in comparison to the amount of time spent participating in networking activities.  Here you can clearly see that people who are spending between 5-9 hours a week networking are generating, on average, 50 percent of their business from these activities.

People who spend over 20 hours a week networking, on average, are getting almost 70 percent of their business through referrals!

How much time are you currently spending on networking each week?  Do these statistics make you want to devote more time to networking?  If you ask me, the time investment is definitely worth making.

If you have found certain networking activities to be particularly worthwhile and productive, please share them in the comments section.  Telling about what’s working for you may help others wishing to devote more time to networking to make more informed decisions about exactly which types of networking activities they will devote more time to.

Taking Charge

The best word-of-mouth programs I’ve seen happen by design, not by accident or wishful thinking. Unfortunately, many businesspeople view word of mouth somewhat like the weather: “Sure it’s important, but what can I do about it?”

Based on more than two decades of research, observation, and practical experience, I’ve found that in addition to focusing on the important issue of customer service, the average businessperson has much to do in order to build a referral business.  Word of mouth can be planned and nurtured.  Anyone, including business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives, staff employees, even individuals serving in a volunteer capacity in any field, can accomplish plenty with a well-structured and systematically executed word-of-mouth plan.

All too often I have seen businesspeople waiting for business to walk through the door. They think because they are good at what they do, people should be flocking to them.  I’m afraid the truth is, it doesn’t work that way!  You have to take charge, no matter what business you’re in or how good you are, and bring the business to you.

I once saw a cartoon strip of two large, ravenous-looking vultures perched on a tree limb, overlooking a dry desert plain.  After quite a while, one vulture turns to the other and says, “Wait for something to die?  Heck, let’s kill something!”  So it is with word-of-mouth marketing.  You can’t simply wait for people to come to you.  If you do, one of your competitors who also provides good customer service will most likely find them before they show up at your doorstep.

If you want to succeed, you have to go get your business, or better yet, have someone else get it for you through referrals.

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