Anyone who is in business wants to get connected to others who can help them to get more business. It's what networking is all about. In fact, working' to get connected is the most effective way to build your business --- through referrals.
Why are referrals so effective? Because people tend to take action on personal referrals over any other type of advertising. If you’re in need of a marketing firm, and a friend of yours recommends one to you, you’re more likely to act on that referral, right?
The key to true business networking is the formation of a mutually beneficial relationship – a stark difference from the standard shake-hands and exchange your business card event. The best way for an entrepreneur to get clients is by referral. But the process of building enough word of mouth to produce the number of clients you need can seem daunting, to say the least.
According to experts, business networking functions best when individuals offer to help others to find connections, rather than "cold-calling" on prospects them. Business networking can take place outside of traditional business environments and at public places such as airports, restaurants, golf courses, and movie line-ups.
If you want to gain the most out of business networking, follow Mark McGregor's Ten Commandments of Networking:
1) Lose the "what is in it for me?" attitude.
2) Listen to what the other person is saying - hear it, and be moved by it.
3) Strive to build a relationship with those you meet.
4) Make an effort to give the first referral.
5) Do not tell others of the referral you require. Instead, "show them" with a story.
6) Be specific in the type of referrals you’re interested in.
7) Reciprocate when appropriate.
8) Participate in the network executive, functions, and network time.
9) Thank the person who gave you a referral.
10) Follow up on the referral within 24 hours.