If you know me you know I ponder. A lot. When I am done pondering I write about it. Almost one year ago I wrote a blog post about two types of networking personalities called Are you a Connector or a Networker? It is one of my soapboxes.
All too often I attend networking meetings where business cards are (sometimes literally) shoved in my face. For one thing it’s rude and another thing is that it doesn’t build relationships.
Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”
This can be applied to friends and to business.
Networking Confession #1: I go to networking events and don’t pass a stack of business cards around the room.
I can hear the collective gasp coming from you. Why wouldn’t I pass my cards around the room? The answer is simple.
I don’t network. I build relationships.
My goal at any networking event is to make one solid contact with a prospective client or someone who knows my target client – business owners. I make an appointment with that one person at that networking event. That is the goal and I meet it more than 90% of the time.
Networking Confession #2: I don’t care if I get business from the people at the networking meeting.
I want to build relationships with the people at the networking meeting. I want to know how I can refer business to them and how they can refer business to me. I want their network to hear about the talented writer who helps connect businesses to their target audience. I want to share their business product or service with my network.
This makes our collective network bigger and more powerful than if we only focused on getting business from each other.
The Result: 95% of my business is referral business. I have established relationships with people who understand and value my work. They refer their friends and clients to me…and cycle continues.
This didn’t happen by accident. I make conscious and consistent decisions about how to run my business on a daily basis.
I wake up every morning and thank God for what He has given me.
I choose the people on my power team and with whom I do business with care and prayer.
I refer people and businesses carefully. At the very least I have had a 1:1 meeting with them. More than likely we have done business together. My recommendation is a reflection of me and my business. I take that seriously.
No, I haven’t always made the right decisions. I can rest easy knowing I have tried to make the right decisions. Sometimes things don’t work out as we planned; all we can do is learn and move on to the next deal.
If you’ve got your network working with you – and on your behalf – the process is a little bit simpler. Here’s to you growing your referral network in the new year!
McAuley Freelance Writing helps businesses get noticed online through content marketing including blogging, copywriting and social media. We like to say we’re Word Stylists. While celebrity stylists help their clients find their public style with clothes, hair and make-up, we help our clients find their style with words and messaging.
We help you craft your message on social media, website, blog, newsletters and other written communication to clients and prospective clients. As a member of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce we help promote the value of small business to the local, state and national economy.