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Sorting Out Who's Who - By Ivan R. Misner
1. When talking about what you do at networking groups, focus on one aspect of your business at each meeting. Remember, your goal in the networking process should be to train a sales force, not close a sale. Therefore, each time you have an opportunity, focus on a specific product or service you offer, then train people how to refer you in this area.
Too often we try to cover everything we do in one introduction. When you have the chance to be in front of the same group of folks regularly, donít make the mistake most people make by painting with too broad a brush. Laser-sharp networking calls for you to be very specific and detailed about one thing at a time.
Sometimes I hear businesspeople say they have a ďfull serviceĒ business. I think saying this alone is a mistake--full service doesnít really mean anything to people who donít understand the details of all the services you offer. Instead, talk about what you specialize in or what you're best known for. There's something that sets you apart from the competition--let others know about that aspect of your business.
2. When asking for referrals from your networking partners, be very specific about what you want. Identify specific people to whom you wish to be introduced. Personal introductions can open doors for you that would've otherwise remained closed. If you donít know the name of the manager of another business you wish to meet, find out--then ask specifically for a referral to that person.
Give vivid examples of the type of referral you wish to receive. I'd recommend reviewing a case study from a current client or past successful referral with your networking partners. Define what the needs were of that prospect and how your business met those needs. Be as detailed as you can be so your networking partners can really visualize the experience and have a clear picture of how you were able to meet this personís needs. This'll give them clarity and focus when they're away from you and they meet another person with the same needs.
3.Meet with each person in your networking circle one on one, away from the general networking session, to deepen the relationship and dial up the focus of your networking efforts.
I can't stress enough the importance of deepening the relationships with your networking partners. To really maximize the energy of the partnership you're forging with your referral sources, it's critical to spend time with them. Just going to a social function or sitting side by side at some type of conference or networking event isnít enough. You have to be face to face, talking and exploring commonalities and complimentary aspects of each of your businesses to be as powerful a referral source for each other as you can be.
In our increasingly fast-paced society and business climate, it's important to take your time to get to know your referral sources and cultivate long-lasting and mutually profitable relationships. It's true that "time is money," but I also know that without investing a good chunk of your time in one-on-one relationships, you won't have the kind of strong and deeply focused referral sources you need for successful word-of-mouth marketing.
By focusing your efforts like a laser beam, you'll fine-tune your networking message and increase your results.
Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author and Founder of BNI (www.bni.com), the worldís largest business networking organization. His latest book, Truth or Delusion can be viewed at www.TruthorDelusion.com. Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company (www.referralinstitute.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Sorting Out Who's Who - By Ivan R. Misner
About the Author: Ivan R. Misner
RSS for Ivan's articles - Visit Ivan's website
Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder & Chairman of BNI, the world's largest business networking organization. BNI was founded in 1985. The organization has over 5,800 chapters throughout every populated continent of the world. Last year alone, BNI generated 6.5 million referrals resulting in $2.8 billion dollars worth of business for its members.
Called the "Father of Modern Networking" by CNN and the "Networking Guru" by Entrepreneur magazine, Dr. Misner is considered one of the world's leading experts on business networking and has been a keynote speaker for major corporations and associations throughout the world. He has been featured in the L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times, as well as numerous TV and radio shows including CNN, CNBC, and the BBC in London.
Dr. Misner is on the Board of Trustees for the University of La Verne. He is also the Founder of the BNI-Misner Foundation and was recently named "Humanitarian of the Year" by a Southern California newspaper. He is married and lives with his wife Elisabeth and their three children in Claremont, CA. In his spare time!!! he is also an amateur magician and a black belt in karate.
Click here to visit Ivan's website.
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