Top 10 Tips for Networking Strategically
Another way to meet prospective referral partners is by attending networking events. In every city, there are dozens of monthly opportunities to meet other professionals. Typically hosted and led by local chambers of commerce or professional networking companies, these groups exist to help professionals and business owners connect and collaborate. That means everyone in attendance is there for the same reason you are – to meet new people in hopes of doing business together.
After attending and leading networking events from coast to coast, I’ve learned there are ten top tips for networking success:
- Visualize Success
Success starts long before you walk into any meeting or event. Remember, just one referral partner can double your business in a year or even less. As you think about the event, visualize exactly who you want to meet. Get clear on the industry they are in and have a plan for how you would like to work together. Then, before the event, take a few moments and envision yourself having a great time meeting an incredible referral partner in that industry who has been looking for someone just like you to help their clients. As you visualize the future you
want to create, you activate the law of attraction, which is
always good to have working for you.
2. Bring A Buddy
Invite one of your referral partners to join you and work the room together. Before the event, get clear on who each person is looking to meet. Then, as you meet a potential match for your referral partner, make an enthusiastic introduction to the person you just met. This helps you add value to both parties and elevate your status in their eyes. Be sure to praise and edify your networking buddy to help them feel good and raise their perceived status. As you help your referral partners succeed, they will naturally return the favor and go out of their way to help you in return. WIN–WIN–WIN.
3. Meet The Leaders
Introduce yourself to the people hosting the event. They are often servant leaders dedicated to helping people succeed. Since they have the respect of the members, when they make an introduction, people take the meeting.
4. Ask For Introductions
Ask the event leaders for introductions to the top pros they know in your target profession. Simply say,
“The main reason I am here is that I’m looking for a quality (CPA) to whom I can refer my clients. Do you happen to know any good (CPA)s you would recommend I connect with?”
If they know trustworthy people in that industry, they will
be happy to help and make an introduction.
5. Be Confident
First impressions matter. As you meet new people, smile, look them in the eye, and introduce yourself confidently with a firm handshake. When you exude confidence, people feel it. Especially if they have a high nurturing personality style. The truth is that while you are interviewing potential partners, they are evaluating you as well. Show them you are comfortable in your own skin and confident in your ability to get the job done right. Your confidence will give them confidence in you.
6. Ask Quality Questions
Show you are interested by asking great questions to learn about the people you’re meeting. If you aren’t a natural networker, just ask:
Who? What? When? Where? Why?
- Who is your ideal client?
- What is the primary problem you solve?
- When do people most need your services?
- Where do you get most of your clients currently?
- Why did you choose this industry?
The answers to these questions will give you quick clarity as to how well you trust this person and how well they match your perfect partner profile.
7. Listen And Learn
You’re here to meet good people to partner with, not to sell. After asking each question, really listen to what the person is telling you. Study what they say both verbally and non-verbally. You’ll learn a lot about them in a very short time. As you listen, ask yourself if you like this person and can see yourself eventually feeling comfortable referring your clients to them.
8. Schedule A Discovery Call
Your primary goal for attending any networking event should be to schedule one-on-one discovery calls with Perfect Prospects or referral partners. Rather than trying to have a meaningful conversation in a busy, crowded, noisy environment, ask to schedule a one-on-one call at a later date. When you find someone who may be a fit, simply say,
From what you’ve shared, I have a number of clients who might benefit from what you do. Can we get together another time so I can ask you a few questions? Maybe next Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning?
What works best for you?
9. Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone
Once you have synced calendars and scheduled a discovery call, thank them for their time and excuse yourself from the conversation. Don’t overstay your welcome. Always leave them wanting more.
10. Follow-Up and Follow-Through
As you know, the fortune is in the follow-up. After the event, think about each person you met and send an email, text, or direct message to those with whom you want to explore relationships. If you scheduled a discovery call, send a calendar invite with the date, time, and location or description of how you will connect. You may also want to send a friend or connection request on social media to accelerate the trust-building process.
When you follow these top ten networking tips, you will build your referral team quickly and easily.