Networking Heroes Never Make This Mistake

Networking reputations are in the spotlight at every networking event you attend. Make sure you don’t make this one big mistake.

We know that personal reputation is hard won, easily thrown away. So why do people think so little of their reputation that they dilute it each time they pass a lead.

Let me put this in perspective. If someone was to pass you lead at a networking event you would be pleasantly surprised and possibly, get excited. However, in my view, at a referral meeting like BNI (Business Network International), it could be seen as the lazy option and actually destroy your reputation.

Unlike ordinary networking meetings, BNI focuses on qualified referrals (personal introductions). When you receive a referral at a BNI meeting you can reasonably be assured that a) the person you are being introduced to known to be in the market for your product or service and b) they are looking forward to your meeting in anticipation (maybe excitement).

I don’t know about you, but if someone gives me an introduction based on this criteria, it’s something to be excited about. A genuine opportunity to do business and my reputation has been expanded upon by the person making the introduction.

A lead is merely the passing on of a name we ‘think’ might be an opportunity. Three important elements are missing. a) neither of us knows for sure if the person is in the market for my services b) they are not expecting my call c) they know nothing about me as the person making the introduction has not actually made a personal introduction.

When someone passes me a lead, especially one disguised as a referral, I make an immediate judgement on the person who has given it to me. I am either impressed with the effort they’ve made and for thinking of me or I judge the person to be either lazy or half-hearted. Experience has shown me that where a lead is concerned, a wild goose chase and frustration follows.

Someone’s reputation for trust and integrity is silently highlighted in everything we do. A hard won reputation, so easily thrown away.

My advice. Don’t pass leads, seek qualification and build your networking reputation.

rebecca crossRebecca Cross provides support for the BNI Dorset region as personal assistant to the Executive Direct, Paul Haley and as Director Consultant for a number of BNI Groups
Rebecca is also an Award Winning Virtual PA with a background experience working with IBM and the Wall Street Journal, amongst others. She specialises in providing creative business and administration support for entrepreneurs and business owners who understand the value of working on their business, rather than in their business.

She is especially looking to work with business start-ups, entrepreneurs and professionals who travel extensively  Linkedin Profile

The Question Guaranteed to Increase Business

In sales, it’s said that quality questions reveal hidden needs and want to share the ‘must ask’ guaranteed to increase business

Yes, if you really want to open up different ways to help your clients, prospective clients and referral partners you would remember this one question. “How do you see the next 12 months working out for you?”  Ask it at every opportunity. 

It is such a powerful question when asked at the right time and with the correct tonality of voice. It’s a question that looks forward and one that shows genuine concern and interest about the person you ask.

Clearly it show that you are interested and if you ‘listen with your eyes and your ears’ you will begin to understand how you can help that individual. Eyes will reveal body language. From the way someone may shift in their chair, lean forward or try to hide a frown or grimace if they are in fear of the future.

Listening ‘between the lines’ is critical and you will generally find three types of response:

  1. They are concerned about the future. Maybe worried about lack of future business, competitors or disruptive circumstances, beyond their control, that will effect their future revenue.
  2. They are excited about the future. They may have expansion plans or new opportunities for growth. Maybe they’re taking on new products or services or new staff, larger premises. You may notice an enthusiasm and excitement in their voice. Their plans may or may not be realistic but a few questions about how they going to practically achieve their new goals will reveal all.
  3. They are happy with the status quo. Everything is fine and cannot imagine any circumstance that could change their world.

The reason this question is so powerful lies in the responses from types 1 and 2 and your willingness to help. To help them overcome difficulties with your product, services or advice. To help them achieve their goals fast or with less risk or less cost with your products or services.

Let’s keep this practical you may or may not be able to help the person yourself but I’m sure you have a referral partner that can help them. This question is a very powerful one in helping you reach out to help more clients. Teach this to your referral partners – they will thank you for it.

 


rebecca cross

 

Rebecca Cross is a Virtual PA with a background experience working with IBM and the Wall Street Journal, amongst others. She specialises in providing creative business and administration support for entrepreneurs and business owners who understand the value of working on their business, rather than in their business.

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