Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Interview with Glenn K. Garnes and Mac Cassity of Referral University

I’m pleased to bring you the following interview I did with Glenn K. Garnes and Mac Cassity, President and Vice President of Referral University and Perfect Networker. You can reach them at PerfectNetworker.com and also learn more about their Perfect Networker Radio show.

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Glenn K. Garnes: I define Business Networking as the process of reaching out to business owners who are complementary to what you do and finding a way to develop a long lasting referral relationship with them. The reason it’s important, is that it can be easier for someone you know to refer business to you than it is for you to get that business yourself.

Josh: Can you share one idea that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Mac Cassity: Simply put: Develop your listening skills. Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. Let them talk about their favorite subject and miraculously, they will find YOU fascinating. Josh, I know you have adopted this technique well as I have read it in some of your material. It is so easy for us to go into OUR story, but if we just learn to listen, and give others the ability to talk, it can make all the difference in the world.

Josh: Why do you think some people discredit the power of having a well established business network in place?

Glenn K. Garnes: There are 3 reasons that come to mind:

1. They don’t understand the true power of a business network.

2. People are intimidated about their ability to attract business through the people they know.

3. People will not take the time to nurture a network properly. It takes persistence and a commitment to put others needs first, which for some is a difficult philosophy to embrace.

Mac Cassity: Absolutely, and in addition, I have found that some folks have attained success through other means, and because they have, they simply push aside effective networking as something that isn’t needed or doesn’t work. By other means, I mean cold calling, door knocking, direct mail, etc. All potentially effective forms of getting business, but not for me. I would rather have a friend, call me, and refer me personally to one of THEIR friends…

Josh: For some people knowing where to go to network in the first place is a problem. Can you share some specific resources, events, or places that you have found helpful for meeting new people and growing your business network?

Glenn K. Garnes: Finding a place to network is not the problem, it’s what you do when you get there that makes all the difference. Mac always says, “It doesn’t make a difference if you go to a bowling alley every Friday night, if you know what to say, then you can be successful in developing Referral Relationships.”

Every city in the country has a Chamber of Commerce, or a networking group, or some other type of member based organization. Check your city’s calendar of events, plan some dates, get some Relationship Marketing training under your belt, and go and test the waters!

Josh: How do you follow up with the people you meet? Do you have any particular system in place for keeping up with and managing the relationships in your business network?

Glenn K. Garnes: Yeah, that is a good question and one of the key aspects of relationship building that most folks miss. We are advocates of using technology effectively to leverage one’s time effectively while still being true to the philosophies of offering value and giving before you expect to get.

The system we use does all of this extremely effectively, and while we don’t want to keep it a secret here, it is much too involved to go into detail here. It is one of the key components we include in our Referral Mastery Program and a large part of what we teach in our “Relationship Marketing for the Rest of Us” seminar.

Mac Cassity: I will simply add this… the follow up system is so incredibly valuable that it is THE reason that Glenn and I ever got together in the first place. The contact and follow up system that Glenn used with me made me think… no, KNOW that this was someone I had to do business with… it is that valuable.

Josh: What are some special techniques for starting a conversation at a networking event? Can you share some memorable ways to approach people you are interested in connecting with?

Mac Cassity: I prefer the good old fashioned approach: Hi, My name is Mac Cassity. Once they reciprocate, I simply ask them what they do, and continue to focus on them and what they do. This allows the focus to be on them, and for me to find out more about them. I will certainly always try to work in the Bob Burg classic “How do I know someone I am speaking with is a good referral for you?”

Josh: Can you share a personal “networking” success story with us?

Mac Cassity: That’s an easy one. Glenn and I met each other at a networking event. The rest, as they say, is history.

Glenn K. Garnes: That’s right. Once I met Mac, and realized that he shared the same philosophies as I do, and a lot of similar interests, a fantastic business partnership was born. We are true examples of practicing what we preach.

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