How can you not use the phrase “who do you know that…?” when you’re networking with purpose? If you aren’t, do you know what you’re missing?
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Background context to Networking with Purpose
To give context to this blog, my experience has been that a large proportion of business executives and professionals (irrespective of age) often don’t see the value in developing their network. Or won’t admit that they feel uncomfortable to go out amongst other business people. Why? Either because they are introverted. Or perhaps because they struggle with their self-worth and feel uncomfortable to “impose themselves” on others or to “ask for a favour” or to ask for their business.
There isn’t a coaching program that we don’t cover networking. And there isn’t a networking session where we don’t cover this phrase “who do you know that…?” . It’s a fundamental part of successful networking language. And networking with purpose. And most of my clients have felt it to help alleviate many of the above concerns.
The elegance of “who do you know that…?“
Those that have endured any sales training will know of the technique used to distract from the original “risky” question we want to avoid. If we ask whether or when the client or prospect would want to meet, we enable a rejection, right? They can say no to a meeting. However, if we ask: “what works better for you next week, Tuesday or Thursday or else mornings or afternoon’s”“, we have bypassed the whether question and gone straight to the which question. Pre-supposing we are going to meet.
That’s exactly what the “who do you know that…?” question tries to help achieve. Many people feel uncomfortable asking a direct question. Just as many people dislike having to respond to a direct question.
Instead of asking the client or prospect whether they have a role or an opportunity for you, putting them under (sometimes awkward) pressure, we bypass that. By asking who they know that might be looking for someone like you. If they have something for you they can say so. If not, they can have a think if they’re able and willing to refer you to someone in their network.
Using this to network with purpose
Let me share with you a typical networking day in my life from one day last week.
1. First call
My first call was with a past corporate client who had since moved organizations. It was just a catch-up to hear how he was settling in and what his first impressions were.
I had no firm agenda other than maintaining our relationship.
One of my objectives was to understand his new role and inherent challenges. Why? Twofold:
- So I could better understand how I can recognize a good client to refer to him and his team’s services.
- And to see how I (or my network) might be able to help him with any of his challenges.
He outlined what some of his challenges were. Something he wouldn’t do if the relationship wasn’t strong enough to allow that level of trust. Enabling me to appreciate what kind of customers could be looking for those services he and his team provided. And allowing me to test in my own network “who do I know that could need that?”.
And secondly regarding his challenges, learned that they were struggling to hire the right caliber of resources to support their growth. Again I asked myself “who do I know that could solve that?”
Our relationship also had him ask me to remind him how he best recognize a good referral for my business. Which I could answer by sending him my one page flyer during our call. That he immediately agreed to share with some relevant colleagues after seeing it.
Networking and relationship management at work, right?
2. Second call
My “who do I know that…?” question for his challenge prompted me to make my next call.
It was to one of my clients in the recruitment space that I’m coaching in some career transitioning. We updated each other on progress since our last conversation. And then he was easily able to agree to help with my previous call’s challenge. And so I am connecting the two to explore some options together. Of course I asked each one whether it would be OK to connect them.
Plus, when it was my turn to update what I was up to, he asked if writing me a testimonial might help me. Again, a hallmark of our trusting relationship.
3. Third call
My next call was to someone who’d found me on Linked-In who had grown up in the same city as me. He runs a very specific financial planning business helping selected clients choose and implement the right stock market investments.
We spent an hour together starting a relationship and understanding each others’ businesses. We now both know how to recognize a good referral for the other.
I had that morning received a new coaching clients’ completed pre-coaching questionnaire. In which it transpired that the way he answered my “net-worth” question, that he needed some perspectives in some investment portfolio thinking. Another “who do you know that…?” question.
Guess who I’m going to connect? Next to one or two other financial planners I know and also work with.
4. Fourth call
In the meantime a friend and associate reached out to ask me in an email “who do I know that might be wanting to have a fresh look at their business, in particular the value of their business asset”.His business has a very smart questionnaire resulting in a comprehensive and free report which breaks the score into 8 drivers of business value.
So now I know what he’s busy with at the moment and can point his opportunity to people in my network I think could benefit from this. How? Well, I “had a go” with it myself too. And found it most revealing about my business.
You see, I’m a consummate professional networker and ongoing relationship builder. People know that if they ask me “who do you know that…?”, that I’ll more than likely be able to connect them to some possible sources of relevant solutions. Or ideas.
And when they do, do you know where in my network I find the answers most frequently?
That was just one day in my normal networking life in business.
Can you see how networking with purpose just works?
It’s all about connecting people “that know that…”
If you want to read or listen to everything I know and have blogged about networking, you’ll find a bunch of relevant blogs right here:Networking with Let’s Talk Coaching
I hope you avail yourself of them and enjoy their content.
That’s what one of Let’s Talk Coaching’s primary purposes is all about: to share relevant information from all my coaching sessions in the public domain. So we can all benefit and grow. Ourselves and our businesses.
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