Does your networking add up?
Have you ever wondered what the winning formulas are for networking? Well, for a start it’s definitely not: Anyone + Vagueness = No-one
It’s a common misconception that when asked who you’d like introductions to you should cast your net as wide as possible. In an attempt to not narrow the
chances of receiving introductions people often keep requests as broad as possible. The trouble is requests that are too vague and unspecific often
mean others don’t really understand who would make a good introduction and so don’t bother.
Equally, the winning formula is not:
Everyone + Too Generic = Nothing
Some people believe in taking the ‘fling enough mud some of it will stick’ approach to networking but in our experience too broad or vague requests result in a real lack of introductions. I know it seems counter intuitive, but 20 years of networking has shown us this time and time again.
However, if you add ‘Being Specific’ with ‘Clarity’, it tends to add up ‘Sought-after Introductions’. And if you multiple ‘Sought-after Introductions’ by ‘Genuine Relationship Building’ the results tend to ‘Business Success’!
The simple fact is if you can’t be specific about who you’d like an introduction to then you cannot expect others to be able to make introductions to you. You have to do your research, leg work and preparations to help others help you and increase the opportunities you’ll receive form a business networking event.
At Opendoorz we put a lot of emphasis on leveraging opportunities such as 1-minute introductions or member presentations to make specific requests for potential new clients you’d like to be recommended to. We’ve found that being consistent in this message is imperative to ensuring that others truly understand who your target client is.
Opendoorz members testify to the benefits of putting an amount of time aside regularly to spend getting to know one another on an individual basis and discussing potential introductions in more detail. These ‘Insight’ meetings affords both parties the time to discuss exactly who they want to work with, why and how to be make the introduction.
It’s worth spending some time thinking about a recent client you dealt with. One that was enjoyable to work with, appreciative of what you did for them, paid you on time and told others about you. Jot down what it was about this client that made them such a good client.
What characteristics was it about the client that made them such a good one for you?
Was it their sector? If so, could you target other businesses in that line of work? If you draw up a list of other businesses in your local area you can name specific companies you’d like an introduction to. Having a track record of working in that sector already will give you a great case study to refer to as well.
Perhaps, that may present a conflict of interest, in which case think laterally and see if there are similar industries that might have similar needs that you can fulfil.
Granted, for some businesses it is not this simple. For example, an Estate Agent would struggle to be specific about the actual client as all sorts of people sell and buy houses. In which case it’s often more effective to focus on other business professionals who come into contact with your potential clients, such as Divorce Lawyers, Mortgage Brokers, etc. Once you’ve identified these professions think about companies locally and, even better, name the person within the company you’d really like to speak to.
The other interesting outcome of this approach is that when you’re specific, others often start to think laterally. We’ve often heard conversations amongst members along the lines of: ‘I don’t know Joe Bloggs of Joe Bloggs Photography as you requested, but I do know an interior designer looking for larger premises would you like to be introduced to them?’
So, in summary, it is so important that you are clear about exactly who you want an introduction to; a clear specific request to enable your fellow networkers to take action.
In addition to a specific person it will help if others are also clear about some of the following: -A strong understanding of your product of services.
- Your field of specific expertise or niche.
- What pain or challenges do your clients experience that you resolve or prevent?
- Who also deals with clients in this situation and currently introduces to you?
- What are the signs someone might need you – verbal, visual, situational?
- How would you like to be introduced?
- What are potential objections and how do you overcome them?
Business networking can become a very effective and key marketing activity when you apply the correct formulas. It’s simply a case of doing the maths!
At Opendoorz we know that networking done properly, not only helps you to grow your business but brings with it a whole host of benefits for personal and professional development.
Creating that perfect environment where real networking takes place is something, we put a huge amount of effort into. From the physical locations to the structure of the meetings and from the calibre of the members to the social events - all contribute to creating that perfect networking environment where relationships flourish and business takes place over and over again.
The Opendoorz guest event happens once a month within each group and helps members expand business networks, make new connections and develop strong relationships. It’s an opportunity to rub shoulders with ambitious business owners, directors, partners and senior managers as well as learn something new both during the meeting and in the bar afterwards!
If you are a company owner, Director or partner and would like the opportunity to step out of the day to day running and managing of your business to reap the rewards and benefits of valuable networking opportunities on Oxfordshire and Berkshire we’d love you to join us as our guest.
Drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org