So you joined a networking group... now what? Well, referrals are not going to happen over night. Building long term strategic relationships takes time, effort and most importantly trust. That said, everyone in MyFirestorm is here for the same reason, to grow their network and increase their business. One of the best ways to nurture your network and get it's full benefit is by doing regular one-on-one meetings. It's important though that you have a plan.
We all want to help each other out but it's necessary to ask for that help. No one is going to just hand you their Rolodex and tell you to call everyone in it. So here are some tips on preparing for your one-on-one meeting and how to ask for help when you are there.
- Step 1 - Schedule a one-on-one meeting at least once a week with someone in your network. Make sure that you explain that you would like to spend some time chatting about how you can help each other.
- Step 2 - Prepare for your meeting by researching the person you are meeting with. Try to get a good understanding of who they would want to meet and then come up with some names of people you know that you could refer them to. (Use the steps in step 3 to help think of people to refer them to as well)
- Step 3 - Make sure you clearly define your ideal prospect or referral partner and go to work on finding people they know that you would like to meet.
- Start with where they work. Research other key people that you would like to meet at their office. Most companies have a website that lists key people.
- Then move to Linked In. If you're not already connected, send them a request prior to meeting. Research their connections and find out who you would like to add to your network.
- Check to see if they are on any boards or associations and make a list of the people you would like to know.
- Bring all of this information with you to your meeting.
- Step 4 - Ask for it! You're never going to get referrals if you don't ask for them. Start with something like this:
- "(Name), I need your help. I have a goal this year to (talk about your goal). Meeting (insert number) new people would help me tremendously. I've taken the liberty of highlighting a few people here that you know that I would love to be introduced to. Can you please make an introduction for me? "
- Step 5 - Be sure to enter in the referral information on the MyFirestorm referral system so you can keep a record of all the referrals you have sent and received.
Just remember that it takes time to build a relationship. Networking is like dating in a lot of ways. You get to know eachother over a long period of time, sharing a little bit more every time you see eachother. Trust builds and you are more willing to help one another out the longer you've known each other.
With MyFirestorm, we are here for the long haul. Our goal is to create relationships that will last a lifetime and be fruitful for a lifetime. If you'd like to read some more on networking and relationship building I highly recommend anything Harvey Makay has written. Especially Dig Your Well Before You Are Thirsty. http://www.harveymackay.com