Riding the Circuit of Leads/Networking Groups
How many of us go from one networking or leads group to another every week, hoping to connect with someone who will refer us and our product or service? I’ve ridden the circuit for years in various sales and marketing positions and have found that it doesn’t really pay off.
Many of those meetings & groups are either too structured (where you have to bring x amount of leads every week, stand up and declare your number, or humbly state you have none to offer this week) — or it’s an “after hours” cocktail time where you find yourself screaming over the noise just to be heard by people who’ve “had a few” and aren’t even listening.
Kissing a Few Frogs
There has to be a better way. And there is! What if you targeted your prospects for referral partners, just as you do sales calls? In my case, I’ve figured out who in my industry is providing a service that leads to mine and enhances their own results — and is really good at it. I’ve been meeting with a few in my area and building relationships. Yes, it takes time. It may not happen right away. You may have to kiss a few frogs… but when you find a match, it just clicks.
Once you’ve established a good rapport, referred some business back and forth and gotten to know each other better, you now have a solid base for spending time with those who can really make a difference in your business. Share insights and materials, co-host an event, guest blog, whatever. Forget spinning your wheels to get one or two leads from random people. Of course, if one falls in your lap, all the better. But steady, qualified referrals come from someone who knows you and your business.
What products/services are related to what you’re offering? How can they benefit from your expertise to make their service even more productive or attractive? Can you shed some light on the customer’s needs from another perspective?
Let me know what other ideas you have for forging new relationships in 2011. I welcome any ideas you’d like to share.