The Only People you Really Need in your Network and How to Find Them
If you evaluate your current business networks, what percentage of your contacts has ever delivered any tangible benefit to you and your business like a referral or key introduction? If you’re like most networkers in business, it’s less than 10%. By definition, this means that when you meet people, there is a less than 10% chance anything productive will come of it and over 90% probability that nothing will. Do you recommend our clients and customers solutions that have a 90+ percentage of failure? Probably not. Yet, we’ll still go to that next networking meeting.
We all have a story about how the most unlikely person referred us business, but the reason they make good stories is because it was so improbable. But successful strategies are not built around possibilities; they are built around probabilities. Good strategies don’t depend on probabilities of less than 10%. So, let’s talk about how we can dramatically increase the probability that someone we meet will much more likely help us and our business.
First, think about your customer profile. Your customer profile is not a prospect profile, but someone who has a high potential to be a prospect. For them to become a qualified prospect for you, something has to change in their world that makes them much more interested in your offering. It’s a moment in time. Think about those changes in your target customer’s circumstances that trigger interest in your offerings, and become an expert in those triggering circumstances. Learn more in the article, Help your Network See more Opportunities to Refer You (Click here to view).
A simple example that we can all relate to is a homeowner becoming a prospect for a residential realtor when they decide they need to upsize, downsize, or relocate. What are the changes in the homeowner’s circumstances that would trigger the decision to move, which in turns, makes them a prospect for the realtor? It could be a big promotion at work or maybe news they are expecting twins that would trigger the need to upsize. A decision to downsize might be driven by the decision to retire, or because the children have all moved away and the parents are now becoming empty-nesters. The need to relocate may be because of a new job or job transfer. What are those changes in circumstances that trigger your prospect to be highly interested in your offering?
The next thing to consider is that for all of these changes in circumstances, there are always witnesses. There are people who are inherently aware of those changes in your prospect’s life simply by virtue of what they do for a living. The changes may not have any special significance for them, but they are just simply aware of them. Continuing with the realtor example, a human resources manager or recruiter would know about relocations, retirements, and promotions; the local chapter of Mothers of Multiples will know about newly expected twins; and a retirement community sales office will know about couples considering a lifestyle change for retirement. In your world what other occupations would inherently know about the key changes in your prospect’s circumstances?
This thought process will take you beyond the obvious referral sources you work with today and will help you identify new types of referral sources. Realtors are not likely to ask you if you know any HR managers, recruiters, or twins club officers, but they should. This process will likely reveal good contacts for you that your competitors are not even considering. It will also bring much greater focus to your networking, because not only will it reveal who you really want to meet and spend time with and why, it also reveals those that you shouldn’t.
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