Saturday, February 03, 2007

Making it All Work

My friend, Michelle Donovan, owner of Pinnacle Training Services and a co-hort in the Certified Networker training cause, posted to her blog about the call to seriousness concerning developing a word of mouth referral network.

So many people don't realize that, as Michelle says so well, "It takes a commitment to implementing a new system into how you do business. It takes a seriousness towards networking with your referral network to produce results. (read more here.)" I couldn't have said it better.

Networking has a connotation that it's just about hitting the Chamber Business After Hours event, or collecting new business cards. I'm not going to discount those activities, but those are just the surface. It's what happens after those measures that brings the pay-off.

Here are five steps you can take to advance your word of mouth marketing strategy.

1) Identify specific people you want to meet. It is the hallmark of a great networker if s/he knows those people before the event happens. But sometimes that is impossible. The important part of this strategy is to single out just a few people to focus on.

2) Make a time to meet individually with the targeted people. You have to find out if there is synergy between the two of you. If that's not there, nothing will ever happen and you can move on. If it is there, you have established a foundation for a profitable relationship.

3) Figure out if there are ways you can each help each other. You may not find this information at the first meeting, but at a second or third meeting, you need to share your business goals with each other.

4) Strategize about how to help each other. It's not just about passing referral business to each other. In fact, early in the relationship, it may be more about making introductions or getting speaking engagements for the other person. Instead of going to networking events alone, you may go with this referral partner to find people for her/him to meet.

5) Commit to action for each other. Yep, that's just another way of saying, "set goals." You may want to help someone and also have the best intentions. But life will get in the way unless you set and commit to doing specific acts for the other team member. This doesn't have to be a big production. It can sound like this, "Before the end of next week, I will contact _____ to schedule time to introduce the two of you." I'll talk more about this in another post.

What strategies have you used that have helped you gain more word of mouth business?

No comments: