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Networking 101 – Reciprocity

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For the record, as much as I Network and as much business as I get out of Networking and as much value as I add by Networking, none of it would be worth a damn if I didn’t reciprocate!  In absolute honesty, I would probably lose any and all credibility that I have built up over the years.

Now before everyone falls over in a dead faint, because they think that they have failed miserably in this endeavour – let me just tell you that there are many different ways in which to reciprocate.

Let’s have a look at some of them:

1.    Many people like to get/give the money one.  In this instance, whenever you give someone a lead and that lead bears fruit, the recipient then gives you a percentage of the value of the fruit that your lead has generated.
2.    Some like to give reciprocal leads, so whenever they get a lead for you they will pass them on.
3.    Then if you have a ‘virtual’ company, like I do we all include each other.  Whenever I get work for example, I will pass on or include the members (where appropriate and necessary) of my virtual organization onto the client.
4.    One of my favourites is value exchange.  For example one of the people in my team is a Lawyer.  She does, mostly contractual work.  The majority of her clients come to her with the specific purpose of getting a contract done, so she gets very few ‘leads’ that would be appropriate for my business.  So what we do is that I pass on all the legal stuff to her and she does all my contracts and/or answers all my legal questions for free – how cool is that?  I now do not sign a single legal document without her first having a look at it and making sure that it is all fine.

Not doing the reciprocal thing is just not on.  Consistently trying to get as much as you can out of people without bringing something of your own back to the table will eventually destroy the very relationship that you are trying to build.  Don’t do it!

If you are strapped for cash and cannot pay people for their leads, find the other ways in which you can help others.  Make a point of referring business to your contacts.  You can do this by listening to the ‘wants, desires and needs’ of the person you are talking to.

Opportunities for this constantly arrive in front of your very own eyes, learn to recognise them and seize the moment!