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Networking 101 – The value add of referrals

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At some point you are going to need the contacts that you have met whilst networking.

Today is only Tuesday and I have already referred about 15 people this week, out of my data base – all of whom I have met whilst networking.

You see in some instances, many of my colleagues ask me to refer people because, well firstly, they know that I have met with and chatted, on a one on one, type basis, every single person in my data base. Secondly, I have listened to what it is that they do and asked questions about their businesses.

Can I guarantee their work, or their commitment – no of course I can’t, but it is certainly a lot more trustworthy than picking someone out of the yellow pages!

So what does that mean for me – well firstly the person who has asked me for assistance, now on a subconscious level feels that they  “owe me”.  What this means is that the next time they hear of someone in need of the type of work that I do, they will be very quick to refer me because that will then even the score.  That means that work will be coming in.

Secondly, the person who has been referred – knows that I have referred them and now on a sub-conscious level they also ‘owe me’.  What this means is that the next time they hear of someone in need of the type of work that I do, they will be very quick to refer me because that will then even the score.  That means that work will be coming in.

There are some instances where people, who I refer, simply feel that they are not in a position to refer me to anyone – now here comes the fun part.  I have worked out a deal with these service providers – I get their time for free!  So now I have my own contractual attorney – I never sign anything without her having a look at it (for free).  I have my own Labour Attorney – I can give advice to clients and check my facts before I give the advice (for free).  I have my own Accountant, who does my books and looks after my tax issues (for free), and so on.

In fact, I am far better off than any Corporate Company – because I have specialists who are passionate about what they do and are committed to giving good service and value for money – where have you ever found a Corporate Company that can make that statement, with conviction and honesty?

The bottom line is that I have built a ‘Virtual Company’ out of my networking.  I have opened myself up to recognize the potential value, to my business, of every single person that I have met.  I did that by meeting one person at a time, engaging in a conversation with that person, by understanding what it is that they do and by listening to what people want.

How strong is your ‘Virtual Company’ – and do you actually have one?

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