What does this mean? There is a common perception that you have to meet a CEO or other influential people to get large referrals that will result in big sales.
Your friends, family, acquaintances, and referral partners probably have powerful contacts that can help you and your business. The only way to find out who they know is to ask them; give them the specific name of the person you want to meet. Never underestimate the depth of the pool that your fellow networkers are swimming in.
The Value You Bring
The value that you bring to a referral network or strategic alliance is directly related to the number of relationships you have and to the quality of those relationships. It doesn’t take a corporate executive to connect you with another corporate executive, or a rich person to introduce you to another rich, influential person. When you approach networking like farming rather than hunting, you can cultivate relationships with your fellow networkers that lead to introductions to the rest of their relationships.
Always Go to Dinner
A high-end property developer was invited to a networking group’s golf tournament to see what referral networking was all about. He only went because he loved to golf. As a big-money developer, he “didn’t need to network”. He attended the awards dinner afterward only because his foursome won.
At the dinner, he was seated next to a financial advisor who had grown wealthy through referral networking and had become a property investor. In conversation, the guest mentioned that he was having trouble getting a bank loan on a big property deal. The financial advisor said he might be interested in investing. Within a few days, they were negotiating a six-figure deal. Always go to dinner – you never know whom you are going to sit next to. Always pursue the networking opportunity at an event.
The diversity of your contacts is much more important than looking for the “big guys.” Surround yourself with quality people in a lot of different professions. Focus on the quality of the relationships you develop and cultivate those relationships on all levels. Because… you don’t know who they know.