Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Your #1 Networking Priority!

Always prioritize helping and giving to others ahead of taking and receiving for yourself. That really is (or should be) your #1 networking priority!

That is often difficult for people who are new to networking because most were told that when you join a networking group you will get lots of referrals. That’s true AND it rarely happens as quickly as they expect.

NET#1PriorityEffective networkers are less concerned about what they might “get” in return for attending an event. They focus on helping others first! If you are more concerned about your ROI (return on investment) then you are missing the point. Getting yourself noticed expands your credibility and puts you in a better position to be a resource for assisting others. Networking is about helping others. Always ask, ““How can I help you?”

When I give a business referral, I give it knowing that my own reputation is on the line. Bad leads reflect on you. Good referrals will get you noticed and attract others to you and your business. Good deeds and helpfulness tend to produce positive effects. They are usually remembered and often repaid. The giver builds reputation and trust. Referrals tend to be the result.

By the way… let’s stop calling business networking groups “leads” groups! I recommend calling them “referral” groups. There is a distinction that networkers must learn. There is a BIG difference between a lead and a referral. It’s very important to know the difference if you want to be a successful networker.

When someone in your network gives you a lead they are giving you a name to call, not a referral. As we help each other to find more business, why would we want to send our valued referral partners into the dark abyss of leads that most likely will never work out? It’s basically not much better than a cold-call. You don’t need them for that. You could purchase a random source of leads and get basically the same thing. You can get leads from the newspaper, the phone book, or the computer, etc.

A referral is the opportunity to do business. Referrals are much stronger than a lead in that this prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting your call. The best kind of referral is when someone gives you permission to use their name to get in the door. Those are the kind of referrals that have the highest closing rate. The referring networker has already set up some level of trust and rapport by recommending the person they’re referring. Those are “quality” referrals.

Successful business networking requires a commitment of time; time to develop the relationship. That takes time. Networking is about creating and enhancing long-term relationships and you can’t do that if you never give the relationship time to develop.

I will rarely ever give a referral to someone I just met for the first time. I want to know that if I take the time to offer them a referral that they will take care of the referral in a professional and timely manner. When I tell my referral that Joe Smith is the best plumber, Joe better do a terrific job contacting them immediately and doing his very best to fulfill their needs.

You must think of networking as primarily a way to connect, develop relationships, and help other people. By focusing on them you will benefit much more than if you are more interested in having them focus on you.

Helping others FIRST is your #1 networking priority! You look for ways to offer assistance to other members in your network of support. That may be referring them to someone they need to know, offering a tip that has worked well for you, or… in other words, find a need and fill it!

“Networking is using your creative talents to ‘help others’ achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return!” ~ Larry James

BONUS Articles: Is It a Lead or a Referral?
“How can I help you?”
How Much Time Do You Spend Looking for Referrals For Others?
Are You Helping Others in the Same Way You Want Them to Help You?

netHQCopyright © 2015 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

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

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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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Is It a Lead or a Referral?

There is a distinction that networkers must learn. There is a BIG difference between a lead and a referral. It’s very important to know the difference if you want to be a successful networker.

leadsVSreferralsWhen someone in your network gives you a lead they are giving you a name to call, not a referral. As we help each other to find more business, why would we want to send our valued referral partners into the dark abyss of leads that most likely will never work out? It’s basically not much better than a cold-call. You don’t need them for that. You could purchase a random source of leads and get basically the same thing. You can get leads from the newspaper, the phone book, or the computer, etc.

“However, a referral is the opportunity to do business with someone in the market to buy your product or service who’s been told about you by a mutual friend or associate. In other words, when you contact them, they already know who you are and what you do. It is stronger than just a lead because the prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting the call. Hence, they are referred.” ~ Ivan Misner

A referral is the opportunity to do business. Referrals are much stronger than a lead in that this prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting your call. The best kind of referral is when someone gives you permission to use their name to get in the door. Those are the kind of referrals that have the highest closing rate. The referring networker has already set up some level of trust and rapport by recommending the person they’re referring. Those are “quality” referrals.

So many networkers are guilty of scrambling around at the last moment trying to come up with a name to give you as a lead when they are on the way to the networking meeting. Those are the worse kind. You NEVER want to hand out a referral until you’ve had a conversation with the person that you are giving as the referral. I want to know if the person’s name they are giving me knows who I am, how I might help and is expecting my call.

Ivan Misner goes into much more detail in his article, “What’s Better: A Lead or a Referral?” I highly recommend that you read it to get the “rest of the story.”

Another example of a failed lead or referral is when someone in your network tells you, “I gave someone your name.” That’s nice that you were thinking about me, but am I supposed to be happy about that? They have my name and I have no way to follow up.  Don’t do me any favors! They called you to get help. If you can’t help them, pass the referral to someone you trust who can.

If you’ve done your job by talking about me and setting up some level of trust, how about giving them my number and telling them, “Larry James is one of my trusted friends, I’m sure he will serve you well. I’ll tell him about you and give him your name and contact information so you two can get together.” I never ask if I can give someone their name, I just do it. If they ask me not to, I honor their request. If not, I pass the referral  – with complete contact info – along to someone I trust. In my wedding business, brides and grooms often hire the first person who calls them, so it’s imperative that I have their contact info. Next, give me their name and contact info so I can follow up immediately.

followupThen… there’s the follow-up! This is where most networkers drop the ball. You’ve all heard people say, “Strike while the iron’s hot!” This adage alludes to the blacksmith’s forge (late 1300s). “Make hay while the sun shines” is another. That means that when opportunity shows up, you take advantage of it while it’s available. As soon as you receive a referral… that’s when the iron is hot. “As soon as possible” is best and certainly within 24 hours is a must.

BONUS Articles:
Referrals vs. Recommendations
How Long Has it Been…
How Much Time Do You Spend Looking for Referrals For Others?
Are You Helping Others in the Same Way You Want Them to Help You?

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

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

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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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Long Has it Been…

Filed under: Business Cards,Leads,Referrals/Leads — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , ,

Most networkers will agree that they got involved in business networking to “get” leads from others that will increase their business. That makes sense, but that’s really not the most important reason to network. The real reason you should be networking should be based upon my definition of networking. Read it slowly and let it sink in.

Networking is… using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return! ~ Larry James

leads2aI speak at and attend a lot of networking meetings and the biggest complaint I hear is, “I never get any leads/referrals.” My first question is, “Are you ‘giving’ any leads/referrals?” Please understand that networking is first about building long-lasting business relationships that – after the relationship is established – the leads will come.

The best way to create attention to yourself is to bless someone else in your group with a lead.

Many people attend their weekly networking meeting, talk to a few other networkers, leave the meeting and only think of networking when it is again time to attend another meeting. And you wonder why networking is not working for you and you never receive any leads? Really?

How long has it been since you took some of your valuable time each day to focus on doing your best to bring “at least” one business lead to the meeting next week?

leadsIf you do not have a specific intention of actually looking for business leads for your networking partners… you will most likely be the networker who complains the most that you never get any leads. Does that make sense?

Suggestion: Purchase a nice looking business card holder. Put at least 3 t0 5 business cards of each of the members from your group in it and carry it with you wherever you go during your busy business week. I set this precedent as a mandatory rule for all members of the Tulsa Business Connection when I started the group many years ago. Virtually every member carried it with them. And nearly every member received as least one business lead each week from someone. Our 60 members (one from each business classification) generated more than $2,000,000 in business leads between members in our very first year!

Networking only works if you work it! You must consciously be looking for business for others before you can expect to receive leads and referrals for yourself.

I can tell you for sure, that if your networking group would adopt the idea of carrying the business cards of every member of their group in a handsome business card holder with them on their sales calls, appointments, etc., business leads would begin showing up at your meetings and the entire focus and dynamic of the group would change for the better.

If you don’t look for business leads for others, you won’t notice them when the show up.

Larry’s Note: If your group needs some inspiration or perhaps a kick in the seat of the pants that will help them to get off their butts and to network the way that works, perhaps you may want to invite me to speak to your group.

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

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

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.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

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