Hazel Walker (pictured below) is not only one of my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and one of my business partners in both BNI and the Referral Institute, she is also the author of the great article below about the importance of remembering that you never know who might be in someone’s Rolodex. As Hazel explains, assuming for any reason that somebody couldn’t possibly know anyone that might be able to help you in your business is wrong and it does you a great disservice.
I’ve heard some amazing stories about hugely valuable, highly legitimate referrals that came from people whom others had initially discounted as unlikely to know anyone that could help them. I absolutely love hearing these stories because they’re amazing testaments to the power of networking. What’s YOUR story?? If you have one, by all means, share it in the comments section after reading Hazel’s article below! 🙂
“Power of a Rolodex” by Hazel Walker
One of the biggest challenges I have with business people is they underestimate the power of other people’s Rolodex. It’s close-minded. I hear this especially from the Business-to-Business people who walk into a networking group, look around and think, “I’m B2B (business to business) and high dollar and there’s nobody here who can help me!” And they walk out. What they have just done is discount everyone’s Rolodex.
They don’t know who I’m sitting with at PTA, or playing golf with. They don’t know who my brother-in-law, my mother-in-law, or my friends are. I see that happen more than anything when people discount who other people know. It’s the same when they only get to know one side of the relationship. They get to know the husband and everything about him, but have they asked where the wife works and who’s in her network?
There’s a tendency to just look at the person, a Mary Kay lady for example, and say “Yeah, she sells Mary Kay, she can’t help me.” I had a banker in one of my networking chapters, a good member of the chapter who’s been in the group for a long time. I sent a Mary Kay person to his chapter. He called me up and was not happy. He said, “I don’t know why you would send a Mary Kay person, we are doing business-to-business, Mary Kay is just not going to help us, blah, blah, blah . . .” So I asked that he just give her a shot, you never know who she knows, and that he let her be in the chapter.
They let her in. Shortly afterward, the banker sent me flowers thanking me for sending the Mary Kay associate who, in her first three months there, referred over $400,000 (USD) in business to him! This was after he had discounted her based on the company she works for. I think that is the biggest mistake business people make: not getting to know people well enough to find out who they know.