Do you need new customers or clients but can’t seem to get enough of them? People generally want to make referrals when they can. It feels good to be able to connect those who can help with those who need that help. But, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. We’re all busy, faced with too much on our plate and not enough hours in the day, so the more painless you can make it, the greater your chances of getting the referrals you want.
** This concludes our series on how to build natural and authentic relationships in every day life. **
Step 3: Convert
All things being equal, we prefer to do business with those we know, like and trust. And all things not being equal, many of us would still prefer to do business with those we know, like and trust. I heard this said at a panel discussion recently and I couldn’t agree more.
The question is: How can we allow that know, like and trust to happen effortlessly and automatically so that networking doesn’t seem forced, fake, or time-consuming?
You are one conversation away from your next opportunity. One conversation away from learning of a key way to re-position yourself for your next job; from gaining a deeper understanding of the needs of a potential new client and how you might address them effectively; or from finding the ideal joint venture partner to help expand your business.
You can get what you want if you just talk to enough people. One of the key ways to uncover hidden opportunities and gain an edge over your competition is through the information you glean through conversations with your network.
We started this series by exploring the concept of building relationships organically, the natural way nearly all of us follow when we aren’t trying so hard to get something.
Without thinking about it, we do go through an instinctive process of connecting, conversing and converting. We connect with the people around us at work, at school, in our community. We converse with them, learn who they are and share something about ourselves. And then through conversation over time, the interaction converts into friendship.
The follow up process is one of the areas of networking that still seems to confuse some people. Most realize that meeting someone at a networking event for five minutes isn’t enough to build a relationship, and that follow up is critical.
The fortune is in the follow-up
But while they may have good intentions of following up with the contacts they meet at events, once they’re back in the office they find themselves staring at the stack of business cards they collected and wondering what’s the next step?