Are you getting results from the time you spend networking?  If not, why? Even worse, have you stopped networking, believing it was non-productive time?  If your referral sources are not getting you all the business you can handle, perhaps you should consider how and where you are networking. If you are not networking, how will you water your referral tree? See below for some tips on networking:

  1. Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, and  building trust and relationships.
  2. Ask yourself what your goals are so you can pick the groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Are you looking for education, making contacts with connectors, volunteering or just looking  to connect with prospects.
  3. Get involved and ask how you can volunteer for a position. This is a great way to get to know key people and stay top of mind.
  4. Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This will open up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
  5. Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc. This keeps you visible to them.
  6. Have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes your doing it special or different from others doing the same thing. Be able to easily articulate these things to others.
  7. Be able to communicate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind.
  8. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. Be sure to follow up with the person who gave you the referral. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
  9. Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, qualify and ask to meet for coffee or at one of your offices for an hour.
  10. Following the approach that you are there to help others will force you to follow these concepts.  In doing so you will uncover opportunities to help people strategic for you and in turn help yourself.