Everyone talks about getting business networking referrals that pay off.
Locally, one of the most productive methods is to meet people in person by attending some sort of gathering where your target audience is present and is prepared to make contact with others by networking.
Interestingly, networking is the biggest reason most people say they join local chambers of commerce.
And yes, new contacts have resulted in million dollar contracts from introductions at chamber meetings.
So you how can you set up your own business networking referral system?
First, you have to get onto the playing field. Joining your local chamber of commerce is a great way to "get in the game".
Membership puts you in one-to-one touch with hundreds of other chamber members who, like you, have chosen to socialize and work with other business people.
This also applies to those within your professional association, on a state, regional or national level.
Second, you need to observe the group dynamics of how leads are exchanged and how business is done so you can tailor-fit a referral technique to your situation.
One friend goes to meetings with the express goal of getting to know one or two people really well. Over time, she has built a strong network that keeps her in touch through both inbound and outbound leads.
Some go to chamber of commerce dinners where they can meet CEO's and get a chance to chat with them for just a quick minute or two.
All they are seeking is a quick referral to someone within the company they are trying to contact. The business phone call has much more authority when the caller says, "your CEO told me you were the one to contact."
Third, you must keep records and follow-up with your contact. Study after study shows that business is not written (on average) until the fifth or more "touchpoint" contact.
Whatever plan you develop for yourself, you are asking others to refer you to people who are in a position to help you. These people can become customers themselves or pass your name and recommendation on to their associates.
So when a good lead comes to fruition and someone asks you, "Was it just being in the right place at the right time with the right people?" you can tell them it was much more that facilitated the transaction.
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