We spend a lot of time, money and effort networking for business development, but how do we effectively leverage this network to grow our business? We create and follow a systematic approach that creates proven results every time. People give referrals to those they know, like and trust.
Use a referral system and with each transaction you will:
- Build a database of solid client relationships
- Provide them with excellent service they'll remember
- Stay in contact with them so they'll think of you when they need a professional
- Become the person they trust and recommend to family and friends
To leverage your business network requires a relational mindset. So, before you see a referral from another business owner, you must have built a relationship with them. When I enter a room of business owners for the purpose of networking, I'm not looking to hand out as many business cards as I can, but rather, I'm looking to start a relationship with another business owner that may lead to referrals and business growth for both of us.
My favorite thing to do after every networking event is to take the business cards collected and send each of these business owners a hand written thank you note. Next, I will connect with them via social media channels and add them to my database. I will stay in touch and care for them. I create a community by connecting them to potential referral partners that are likely to help them grow their business. I will invite them to other networking groups or events that I participate in so that I can continue to develop my professional relationship with them. Through contact, care and community, I become a thought leader and trusted authority such that I am their resource and top of mind for referrals.
Start leveraging your business network today by reaching out to your database and ask them how you can be of service. Support their business by making recommendations; give them a testimonial if you have done business with them; and introduce them to your community. You could even host your own networking mixer and introduce your business contacts to each other. This is the difference that is taught at Business Network International ("BNI") where you sell through your business network to find business.
Other ways you can serve your business network is by following them on social media and sharing their content. If you believe this article has given you at least one take away, then please share it and tag me via Twitter (@AttyChristine) and let me know what I can do for you.