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

Networking Tips – Introduce Your Customers to Each Other for Their Benefit By Josh Hinds

We hear the term “do business with those who do business with us” all the time. I think that’s a statement worth considering.

You see, as it relates to networking look at the commonly accepted definition of networking which states: networking is simply developing mutually beneficial relationships with others — be they personally, professionally, or a combination of both.

The idea makes sense if you really give it some thought…

If you believe in one of your vendors or service providers enough to use them, doesn’t it also make sense that you should naturally be on the lookout to help them grow their respective businesses by referring them to other folks you know (i.e. those in your network, even among your own clients and customers) as the opportunity to do so arises? Sure it does.

Doesn’t it also stand to reason that the vendors you use should want to make a point of doing the same for you? After all, doesn’t your accountant, family physician, lawyer, or for that matter just about anyone you choose to honor by being their customer have a vested interest in your business also growing and becoming prosperous? I think so — yet I’m constantly amazed by how many lost opportunities to do so go by the wayside because neither party has made a solid commitment to keeping the best interest in mind of the people they themselves do business with.

Allow me to share an example which should further illustrate the importance of what we’re talking about…

Recently I was speaking to a friend who happens to run a local business in my area. He mentioned that he had a piece of commercial property, an office space that he was looking to rent.

He mentioned that up to this point the advertisement he placed for it in the local newspaper had resulted in a big fat goose egg in the number of leads (for those unfamiliar with the term it means it had produced none, as in zero results).

I really wasn’t surprised that going that route hadn’t yielded satisfactory results. However, I was surprised that he hadn’t thought to tap his network (friends, colleagues, and associates he’d already forged some type of win, win relationship with) for help though.

We came up with a solution based on an idea which I’d heard about that had been used effectively, which I believed would yield similar results for my friend.

The solution we came up with was based on an example I’d heard about where a local attorney would always make a point of asking how he could help his clients (beyond the obvious things related to the service he offered).

He would go as far as playing the part of match maker between his clients for their own genuine benefit. He made a point of matching the needs of his clients — by tapping the products and services which his existing clients had to offer.

While it is true that the intent in helping his clients was not for his direct benefit — indirectly he was being rewarded by putting their needs first.

Here are several examples of how putting his clients first yielded positive returns:

1. he was viewed more favorably in the marketplace for having matched two of his clients together who needed what each had to offer, but likely wouldn’t have connected on without the introduction from the clever attorney.

2. by placing a focus on improving the revenue of his clients he in turn increases the likelihood that both clients will grow and prosper, and in turn be around longer so that they can remain as his clients.

3. By becoming known as a person who helps his clients actually grow their businesses he develops a bond which if continually cultivated and taken care of will be virtually impossible for a competing attorney to take those clients away from him.

I could go on and on listing benefits and reasons for doing what I mentioned above, but I won’t waist your time with that. Instead I’ll assume that you get the point 🙂

The point being that it’s well worth developing the habit of positioning yourself as a person who truly has your clients best interest in mind. Yes, even to the point of matching your own clients with each other when it’s truly to each parties genuine benefit for having done so. When you are the match maker, you’re in the perfect position to connect your clients, as both parties obviously know like and trust you, otherwise they wouldn’t do business with you in the first place.

Now back to the story of my friend, and what we decided would be the best plan of action in his situation…

I suggested he think about his vendors — in particular those who would be the most likely to have clients which might have a need for what my friend was offering (in this case it was to rent an office space).

The answer came quickly in the form of his accountant, as well as the separate company he uses for book keeping services.

I suggested he ask both of his respective vendors (his accountant and bookkeeper) to ask their clients if they have a need for what he had to offer (after all, he was their client — so wouldn’t it be in their best interest to lookout for him? Of course it would. Not to mention his clients who wanted this need filled would be appreciative to him as well. HINT: That’s what we call a win, win).

Needless to say I’m confident that if his vendors (i.e. book keeper or accountant) understand the value in “networking” the win, win way (i.e. going beyond their own self interests) there are going to be some exciting results which go way beyond the obvious one being that the property is rented. Here’s what I mean…

My friend’s happy because he is able to fill his need. The person who had the need which is filled is happy. And of course the accountant or bookkeeper (whichever happens to be the matchmaker in the deal) builds a tremendous amount of goodwill and “value” in the eyes of not only his own clients, but all the people who happen to hear the story about how their accountant or bookkeeper really has their best interest in mind to the point that they even help them increase revenues and fill needs beyond their core services.

Of course the really exciting results kick in if the particular vendor or service provider decides to go beyond simply doing this as a one time deal — and instead adopts this as an ongoing way of doing business!

If you’re not putting the ideas shared above into practice in your own life (personally or professionally) give some serious thought to starting now. The sooner you do the sooner you will begin to find yourself in a truly enviable place in the marketplace… at a point where it will be all but impossible for the competition to separate you from your current customers.

Happy Networking, Josh Hinds 🙂

* Josh is available to speak on topics related to professional networking and becoming a person others look to do business with. Get details on having him speak to your group at www.GetMotivation.com/speaker/

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  • Josh Aronowitz

    Very interesting post… I absolutely agree with your points… I see a current trend towards the world of networking, both for personal reasons and professional, business reasons… From my own personal experience I have found that companies like http://www.octopuscity.com have increased the trend leading towards free online CRM (customer relationship management) systems. These companies offer a business network along with a CRM system, which allows people to meet other over the network and keep track and mangage those contacts with customized system. They offer numerous capabilities such as, sync with webmail accounts and Outlook, as well as, teleconferencing. I believe it is definitely worth taking a look at.

  • The Peoples Tax Lawyer

    I agree. Business networking is imperative. I don’t know if you have seen this yet, but there is an online business networking site (passitto.com) that aims to make the business referral process easier. It even provides an indentive for users to make business-to-business referrals, namely, money. This is in addition to being able to track and monitor referrals. In sum. I love the idea and I hope Passitto takes off.