Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What If I Hadn’t Answered the Phone?

Several years ago I was getting ready to leave my office for a networking luncheon meeting. As I was heading out the door, my office phone rang. I had only a split second to choose to answer or allow my voice-mail to pick up. I answered the phone and I am glad I did.

Over the past several months I had been talking with a client about presenting a series of networking events in Chicago and discovered that she was calling from a hotel in Scottsdale – the same hotel as my networking meeting. What a convenient coincidence. I told her I was on my way to her hotel to a business networking meeting and invited her to go with me. She accepted.

NET-InviteClientI was excited to introduce her to my friends and to let her see that I was actually practicing what I preached and to be an example of how important my networking meeting was. Another coincidence was that I had been asked to present my “Ten Commitments of Networking” talk for the group and since she had not heard me speak I was glad it was all coming together.

After the meeting was over, I was anxious to meet with her to talk about the Chicago event, but she had been cornered by someone who was interested in her business. I watched as she made an appointment to meet with them later that day.

I found out later that she had other business in Scottsdale and was calling me just to stay in touch, not being sure we would be able to meet during her visit.

The point I want to make is that unless it is absolutely necessary, never miss a networking meeting. If you have a meeting scheduled and a client shows up at the last minute… invite them to go with you. In other words, having a client show up at the last minute is no excuse for missing a meeting. You have to think smart and fast.

This was not the first time I had invited a client to visit a networking meeting with me, but it was the series of events on that day and the twists and turns that happened that made it one of the most financially profitable invitations for both me and her. She booked me for a series of 7 networking seminars for her company and invited some of her special clients to attend at no fee (another one of my creative ideas). I later discovered that she made a big sale as a result of attending my meeting with me. After the 6th networking event in Chicago, one of her clients booked me for a networking seminar for their large insurance company – about 165 sales associates attended.

I know. They all don’t work out like that, but what if I had gone to the meeting without answering the phone as I was leaving my office? Literally thousands of dollars would have been down the drain. Last minute or not, invite your clients to your meetings (buy their breakfast or lunch), allow them to see how active you are in the networking community… especially if you think they or someone they know would be a good fit for the group you’re involved with. If they are attending for the first time, you should make sure that you introduce them to other people in your group who may need their product or service.

It’s important to get to the point where your networking is so integrated into your normal business activity that it no longer feels like something you must do, but that you truly enjoy doing, not only for you but for others as well.

A true networker is one who constantly seeks to form new relationships and strengthen them by helping others solve problems and achieve their goals. The next time you attend a business networking event, take along a referral partner, client or other contact from your own personal network.

How committed are you to your networking group?

BONUS Article: Demonstrate Your Commitment to Networking ~ Here’s How
Invite Your Referral Resources to Your Next Networking Meeting

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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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
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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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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/
Visit Larry James on LinkedIn
Follow Larry’s Networking on Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/NetworkingHeadquarters/timeline
Follow Larry’s Networking Pinterest Page @ http://www.pinterest.com/larryjames2012/networking-blog/!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Referral Tips: Do You Have Sex On The First Date?

Jacky Sherman, Guest Author

It may have been a while since your last first date. If it is then think back into the mists of time. Ahh the memories; but I digress. Having sex on the first date is a high risk strategy if you are looking for a long term relationship rather than a one night stand.

NETengagementCan you trust them? What are they like? What will they want to do? What if you or they decide halfway through that you’ve made a mistake?

It takes time to get to know someone. If you want to take the relationship forward, you need to take some steps towards intimacy by the end of the date.

Can we apply any of this to networking? Well, I’m not suggesting that you pucker up at your next networking event! Let’s examine what happens when you agree to meet up with someone you’ve just met networking. Here are three common mistakes people make:

1. Treat your network group like a Swingers party. No, you are not expected to refer everyone just because they are in the same group as you. Equally they don’t have to refer you either.

2. Fumble with their clothes before you’re even through the door. Don’t give a full on referral during that meeting even if they offer a service someone you know needs. You have no idea if they’re any good.

3. Get on really well but neither of you makes a move to take things further. Perhaps the most common mistake of all. If you got on well then before you part, agree what you are going to do for each other. So many people don’t take the initiative. So nothing happens!

NETpartnerMy Referral Tip this week is this: If you want to take the relationship further then end your meeting with the equivalent of a kiss. Make it something small that you can do for each other. Maybe an invitation? A promise of an introduction?

You go 90% of the way to make this happen! Just remember to let them come forward that last 10% by themselves and it may just be the start of a beautiful relationship!

Larry’s NOTE: Read the full unabridged article here!

BONUS Articles: Is It a Lead or a Referral?
How Long Has it Been…
Are You Helping Others in the Same Way You Want Them to Help You?
A Networking Referral Unraveled

ReferralInstJackyShermanCopyright © 2014 – Jacky Sherman. Reprinted with permission. This article is adapted from Jacky’s blog @ http://blog.ReferralInstitutenn.co.uk. Jacky is the Franchise owner for The Referral Institute, Northampton, England. The Referral Institute is an International Consulting and Training company 100% dedicated to Referral Marketing. She offers a wide range of workshops and coaching to business people who want to generate amazing business through identifying and collaborating with the gold dust in their network. Contact Jacky Sherman, Jacky@referralinstitutenn.co.uk. http://ReferralInstitutenn.co.uk

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netHQLarry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! 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!”

comment

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 Relationship Tweets 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/
Visit Larry James on LinkedIn

Monday, March 31, 2014

And the Survey Says…

Filed under: Collaboration,Networking,Referrals/Leads,Time Management — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags:

Recently I conducted a survey of “former members” of networking groups. I personally spoke with about 89 people who once belonged to business networking groups but eventually dropped out.

I wanted to know why they dropped out and how much time they dedicated to actually looking for qualified business referrals for others in the group?

SurveySaysThe results: 9 out of ten former networking members admitted that they did not consistently dedicate their best efforts toward looking for and “giving” qualified business referrals to other members!

Sadly, I was not surprised. Networking only works for those who “give” business referrals to others. Once you become known for giving, that’s when other members will trust you enough to begin giving qualified business referrals to you.

I also asked how many members they invited to join their groups. Only 2 out of 89 said they had. It’s no wonder the others didn’t want to share their group with their friends. It’s impossible to get excited about your group when you think it isn’t working. They blamed the group, but I pointed out that the person they should blame is the one that looks back at them in the mirror every morning.

Another question was, “Did you note the meeting day and time on your weekly schedule?” and “Out of 10 meetings, on average, how many did you miss?” These answers were also disappointing. I believe that many times it’s better to schedule your business appointment with your client around the day and time of your networking meeting! (Do I hear a few groans?) For me, if that was not possible, my next suggestion was to invite them to my networking meeting and get together with them after the meeting. I also believe it is important for your business clients and customers to get a better picture of who you are, what you do to attract new business and that when you make a commitment to attend a networking meeting, you do everything possible to keep your commitment. Along the way, I actually recruited a few new members that way.

You may notice that I seldom talk about business leads anymore. Business leads often come as a last minute effort to give a lead at the meeting because the member forgot to focus on looking for leads for other members until the last minute. They are casual or random referrals. It’s usually just a name and maybe a phone number with no previous contact… just a name. It’s like a cold call. These leads are usually “time-wasters!” If you mention the person’s name that it came from, they may or may not know them. These kind of referrals are pretty much worthless, low quality and rarily work out.

That is another reason networkers drop out!

Networking members must learn to collaborate with other members. Make time to visit other members outside of the meetings to get to know them better.

Smart networkers schedule time to arrive early and stay later at networking meetings and events. The benefits to being early include exchanging business referrals with other members, getting to know them better, discussing new ideas, scheduling a breakfast or lunch with another member and much more. I like to stay late to have the opportunity to introduce myself to those who were attending the meeting for the first time and – if they were someone I saw as a good connection – I might even set up a time to get together outside of the meeting. Your primary intent should be to solidify business relationships with other members. Arriving early and staying late demonstrates the value you place on your time and the time of others.

For those who say, “Better late than never,” I say… “Better never late!”

I understand that there are times when being late is unavoidable, and I also understand that if being late is a consistent problem, being aware of the problem will help you look for and implement a solution.

BONUS Articles: “Qualified” Referrals – The Currency of Successful Connections!
Demonstrate Your Commitment to Networking ~ Here’s How
How Much Time Do You Spend Looking for Referrals For Others?
A Networking Referral Unraveled

netHQ

Copyright © 2014 – 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!

commentSubscribe 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, January 22, 2014

Demonstrate Your Commitment to Networking ~ Here’s How

With all the busy demands on our time made by our business, professional and personal lives, it’s easy to assign a lower priority to networking as an activity designed to meet new people. Your time is valuable. You have to assess key reasons as to why you need to be at your networking meetings consistently.

NetMeetingCommitmentWhen you belong to a business networking group it’s important to maintain a level of loyalty to the group. There are very few genuine excuses that I would accept for not being at “every” meeting.

An excuse that often comes up is, “I have an important meeting with a client and cannot attend.” Really? Have you ever considered that you might have a lot to gain by inviting your client or business acquaintance to your networking meeting, introduce them to others in your network and have your meeting with them after the meeting or reschedule for later. Why wouldn’t you want to help your client widen their center of influence and contacts?

The first time I did this I was scheduled to make a presentation to the group and thought this would be a good time for my client to see me in action. He was impressed that I also gave 4 business referrals to four members.

I know. This may not make sense to some. I’ve been networking long before we called it networking and I have had numerous instances when a client wanted to meet on the day of my networking meeting and I have explained that I have a weekly (or monthly) meeting commitment and would like for them to join me for lunch (or breakfast) with my group. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Several potential clients went so far as to join my group. One client was so impressed with my commitment that she came to the meeting and two of the members actually ended up doing business with her. An unexpected result.

“When was the last time you invited a referral source to a networking event? Introducing him to other businesspeople you know gives your source an opportunity to meet others in your target market and may also provide new business opportunities.” ~ Ivan Misner

The clients you invite to come to the meeting with you do not necessarily have to be a good addition to your group. Your intention is not to recruit them into your group – although that could happen – it’s to allow them to see you in action within your group and to let them be an important part of your networking community for an hour or so. There may be no more powerful way to demonstrate your commitment to networking than to invite them to visit your group with you. Every client that I have ever invited to visit one of my networking meetings has thanked me for the invitation and has been impressed that I would think to do it.

“Networking can be your life support. It can propel you to the next level professionally, while simultaneously enhancing different aspects of your personal life.” ~ Amanda Ebokosia

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. Here’s why. Read: “Is It a Lead or a Referral?

netHQ

Copyright © 2014 – 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!

commentSubscribe 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/

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.

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/

Monday, September 16, 2013

How Much Time Do You Spend Looking for Referrals For Others?

…OR are you a selfish networker who only goes to networking meetings to “get” whatever you can?

I thought networking was about giving business referrals to other networkers. However, when I speak to networking groups I usually ask two questions:

1. How many of you are here to get business referrals for your business? Almost everyone raises their hand.

2. How many of you brought a business referral for someone in this group today? Usually 2 or 3 hands go up or none.

referralsThat pretty much says it. Many networkers seem to be more interested in generating referrals than “giving” referrals. Not good. The way to make an impact – and in the process – call a lot of attention to yourself as a active resource is by giving.

“We must work hard for others if we want others to work hard for us. We should lead by giving.” ~ Pamela Ryckman, author of STILETTO NETWORK: Inside the Women’s Power Circles That Are Changing the Face of Business

We may have stumbled upon the main reason that many networking groups fail. If everyone comes to the meeting hoping to receive business lead but everyone forgets to spend a little of their time trying to find referrals to give to other members… can you see the problem? Those networking groups are a complete waste of time… it becomes more of a social gathering.

The number one rule of helping people should be to find out what’s actually valuable to them. It’s important to discover what they need. If you really want to endear yourself with someone, then talk about their business and ask how you can help. This usually allows others to open up to you. Every time I talk with a client, I spend a few minutes asking them if I can help them with anything. I do my best to find a need and fill it. Often they don’t always have anything come to mind.

I let them know that I am very well connected and am willing to make introductions to any of my networking friends and that I am willing to share my many resources and all they have to do is ask. I encourage them to describe the profile of the referral they need to meet. Simply ask what they want and need. This is a simple question that many people find hard to answer. By asking a few questions I can usually find something to keep in mind when I see an opportunity later to help. The more personal you get, the better you understand the person and build on your relationship with them.

I often will carry a “card-holder” that contains the business cards of someone they may need to know. Several times I have called that person while with my client and arranged a time for them to get together.

This takes some pre-planning. You have to schedule time to see others, then make notes to remind yourself to see if they might like for you to help by referring them to some of your trusted friends. Your intention to help must be consistent. You may even inspire others to do the same thing. A big part of your intention when networking should be to become known as a “great resource” to your networking friends. It gives you expert status and builds trust. This will help keep you in the loop with other networkers. Tell them how you can help them and at some point roll the conversation back to what it is they need. Networking is about creating value for others. I am willing to share all my contacts because these are the people in my network of support that I like and trust… with an emphasis on “trust.”

Value-of-ReferralsWhen questioned, many networkers I know admitted that the only time they think about giving a lead is on the way to a networking meeting. Those referrals are seldom ever really high-value referrals. Becoming a great networker is like everything else. You have to work at it.

I hope you noticed that all through this article I refer to “referrals” rather than business leads. You can buy various leads from many vendors and online. You usually get what you pay for. What I’m interested in giving is a high-value referral – that is, a warm introduction that means my networking friend will almost certainly get the meeting, if not get the assistance they need.

Can you imagine if everyone in your networking group would actually look for ways to help others, then return to your group with several business referrals to give to others?

I am convinced that if all networkers would make it a habit to look for referrals each week, the results would be amazing. They have been for me. When you make a new commitment to actually look for high-value referrals for others, you will elevate the trust-level in your relationships very quickly and start seeing reciprocity very soon.

Always remember: “Give and You Will Receive!” (in that order!)

BONUS Article: 5 Reasons Why You Should Give Referrals: How it Creates the Best Leads You’ve Ever Had
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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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Are You Helping Others in the Same Way You Want Them to Help You?

headinthesand2Ivan Misner, Guest Author and Larry James

If your personal referral network isn’t working the way you expect, it’s time to turn things around. Are you helping them in the same way you want them to help you? The best way to get your network motivated is to be motivated yourself.

Before you blame your network for the lack of referrals, ask yourself:

• Have you followed up with the referrals? ~ Networking: Here’s a Novel Idea!
• Have you educated your network about your business? Your job is not to close a sale, but to train a sales force. ~ Evaluate Your Business Networking Group
• Have you made it clear who you’re looking for as clients? If you’re looking for vice-presidents of major corporations, say so. ~ “Qualified” Referrals – The Currency of Successful Connections! and It’s Really Okay to “Toot” Your Own Horn…
• Have you built up the trust that encourages people to refer their own best clients to you? ~ Plant Some Networking Seeds!
• Are you holding your network accountable? ~ Don’t Join an Easy Crowd

In the beginning of the article, Ivan asked, “Are you helping them in the same way you want them to help you?” I’ve been helping to train networkers for more than 26 years. I find that the people who complain the most that networking isn’t working for them are really the guilty ones. They are not giving referrals or leads. Time to read, “Happiness in Networking is YOUR Problem…

As of July 14, 2013 there are more than 360 FREE articles about business networking. Check our Networking Article Index. No excuses! Get busy reading several articles each day and stop complaining that networking doesn’t work. It works AND you have to work it.

MisnernetHQCopyright © 2013 – Ivan Misner. Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths.

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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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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just How Referrable Are You?

Victoria Trafton, Guest Author

We all want more referrals for our business right? Who wouldn’t, 1 out of 6 referrals close versus 1 out of 20 prospects obtained by other marketing methods. Our studies at Referral Institute of Central Arizona show that 1 out of 10 past clients buy again so a referral is even better than a past client.

RQ2Are you achieving those closing ratios with your referrals? Are you getting all the referral business you want? Do you give more referrals than you receive? Your ability to win the referral game depends on one thing – your “Referability Quotient.” Just how referable are you anyway? If you have deep relationships with people who want to help you and you are not getting a lot of high quality referrals, you need to look at your RQ.

I devised a way to determine my RQ and I will share that with you. It is not particularly scientific but it will give you a starting point. After all if you can’t measure something you can’t systematically improve it. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being low and 10 being high . How referable are you? That’s your RQ. Be realistic. If you think you are a 10, you must be getting all the referral business you want.

You can check your self assessment by looking at the percentage of your business that has come from referrals in the last 12 months. Once you get the percentage, divide that by 10. How does that final number compare with your self-determined RQ. You may have rated yourself an 8 and you got 60% of your business by referral. If you divide the 60% by 10, there is a gap between your assessment of yourself (8) and the referral business you got (6). So, it might be worth a look to see how to improve your RQ.

How do you improve your RQ? There are two philosophies that are essential for a high RQ. One is the idea of “Givers Gain®“. This is the “motto” of BNI, an international networking organization that has generated billions of dollars of referred business for its members for more than 20 years. Members of BNI experience the benefits of adopting this philosophy. Those who join a chapter and attend every week with the intention of giving to others, get a lot of referrals. If they use the training available and proven structure of the group process, others are able to send referrals their way. They are motivated to give referrals to people who make a regular contribution to the group.

GiversGain

Click Cover for Info

The second philosophy is “It’s all my fault”. We teach this philosophy at Referral Institute. Here’s how it works:

1. If I get poor quality referrals, it’s all my fault. Perhaps I need to educate my referral partners on what a good referral is for me.

2. If I don’t get referrals, it’s all my fault. Perhaps I need to work with my referral sources and train them on how to refer business to me.

3. If I can’t close referrals, it’s all my fault. Perhaps I need to work with my referral sources to put together a layered referral strategy that builds to the close in such a way that I am almost guaranteed to get the sale.

Whatever the “problem” is, it is truly all my fault. In the past years of studying referral marketing and learning strategies and techniques to give and get good referrals, I have learned that referral relationships need to be developed before we ask for and expect referrals. Referral sources also have to be trained on what I do, how to promote me to their contacts, and what a good referral is for me. We also have to work together to assure I approach their contact in the right way so I protect their relationship and enjoy the benefit of third party trust in making a sale.

All of this takes training and time to implement. Our focus at Referral Institute is 100% referral marketing because we have seen proof that people educated in referral marketing are very successful in achieving all their business goals through referrals.

Copyright © 2013 – Victoria Trafton – Reprinted with permission. Victoria Trafton is a referral marketing specialist. She is the owner of Referral Institute of Central Arizona, a referral training and consulting company. For further information: www.ReferralInstituteAZ.com, and www.VictoriaTrafton.com.

netHQLarry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! 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. – 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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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Long Has it Been…

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

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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