Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How to Cultivate A Network of Endless Referrals

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Networking Article — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Bob Burg, Guest Author

No question about it; you provide one of the most valuable services imaginable. However, without an ongoing and ever increasing number of new, quality prospects, you’ll eventually run out of people with whom to share the benefits.

You might even end up asking yourself that most dreaded of questions in the world of sales, which is, “Who do I talk to next, now that my original list of names has run out?” That thought can be downright discouraging, can’t it? Then again, it need not happen.

Develop profitable, win/win relationships with practically every new person you meet – whether one on one or in a social setting.

How? Ask questions. Specifically, “feel-good” questions. These are questions designed to put your conversation partner at ease, and begin the rapport-building process. These are not intrusive, invasive, or in anyway resembling those of the stereotypical salesperson. Feel-good questions are simply questions that make your new prospect/potential referral-source feel good; about themselves, about the conversation, and about you. Vital, because “all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” Asking feel-good questions is the first step to accomplishing that goal.

So what are some of these “Feel-good” type questions?

1. “How did you get started in the ‘widget’ business?” I call this the “Movie-of-the-Week” question because most people love the opportunity to “tell their story” to someone. This, in a world where most people don’t care enough to want to know their story.

2. “What do you enjoy most about what you do?” Again, you are giving them something very positive to associate with you and your conversation. You are making them feel special, important.

welovereferrals2You’ve begun to establish a nice rapport with your new prospect. You are focusing on him or her, as opposed to you and your awesome product, as most salespeople do. He or she is starting to feel good about you and has enjoyed answering your first two “Feel-good” questions. Now it’s time for the “One key question,” and here it is:

“Pat, how can I know if someone I am speaking with would be a good prospect for you?”

Here, you’ve continued to establish yourself as being different from all others they meet who are in business, who only seem to want to know, “How can you help me.” Also, since you are asking for help in identifying their prospects, she will gladly supply you with an answer. And the fact is, nothing builds trust and credibility with a prospect than actually referring business to them whenever possible.

Your conversation has ended and you never even mentioned your products or services. Good, since your relationship with this new prospect may not be far enough along for him or her to be receptive to this. (At other times it’s very advisable to bring up.) That’s fine. Hopefully, you’ve gotten your prospect’s business card. Now you are in the position to follow up correctly and systematically in order to nurture this new relationship.

Whenever meeting new people, the above questions will help you to very quickly build your prospect list with high-quality people. And, in a manner that is fun and without stress. You’ll never again feel the “discomfort” in the pit of your stomach, knowing that you have to nervously and clumsily approach someone you don’t want to approach, and whom you can just sense, does not want to be approached.

Know this: the typical person knows about 250 people. Thus, every time you meet one new person, and develop a relationship based on the fact that he or she now feels as though they “know you, like you and trust you” you’ve actually just increased your personal prospect list a potential 250 people, every single time. Do this often enough and before long, you’ll cultivate a network of endless referrals.


Copyright © 2010 – Bob Burg. Bob Burg is author of “Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales” and “Winning Without Intimidation: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion,” both with over 100,000 copies sold. His newest booklet is “The Successs Formula.” He also publishes a free weekly eZINE newsletter. Visit Bob’s BLOG.

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. –

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.


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