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

Michael J Maher – Author, and America’s Most Referred Real Estate Professional

Michael J Maher is a speaker, author, and real-estate professional who has earned the title (with documented numbers to back it up) the title of America’s Most Referred Real Estate Professional. No matter what industry you’re in Michael has a lot to teach when it comes to building powerful professional relationships and growing your business. It’s an honor to have Michael sharing his wisdom with us.

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

Michael J Maher: I would define Business Networking as “growing and maintaining your Community (network) by be-friending and nurturing Ambassadors who speak highly of you, connect you often, introduce you strategically, and refer you willingly.”

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

Michael J Maher: Here are a few and these are included in (7L): Come from a spirit of helpfulness rather than an attitude of sales. FROG is a great acronym to conquer the tongue-tied feeling. Focus on the other person by asking questions about their Family, Recreation, Occupation, and Goals. When meeting with them, make sure to ask, “What is your biggest challenge right now?”

After hearing their answer and perhaps even re-stating so that they know you understand their challenge, ask them “so what have you tried so far?” Going to the “past” will allow them to analyze what they’ve done so far to conquer this challenge. It level-sets the conversation. Now everyone is at the same place on this challenge.

The next question is so powerful: “so what are you going to do next?” There are many strengths to this question, but one of the main ones is that it is a very respectful question. Rather than telling, you are saying without speaking, “you are intelligent, knowledgeable, and can solve your own problems”. Many times, my referral partner will solve their challenges at this meeting and I happen to be there. Even more incredibly, they give me the credit for helping them solve the problem! Follow up with handwritten notes. I call them POWER Notes.

Josh Hinds: How has having a well-established business network benefited you? And how can someone just starting out, who basically knows no one in his or her area, go about developing their own network of people? What is key?

Michael J Maher: My network is my net worth. I am inter-dependently wealthy. The network has opened up opportunities for me, but the biggest strength of having a vast network is that it increases my capacity to help others. The more helpful I am to others, the more value I have to others. The more value I have to others, the more valuable I become. The more valuable I become, the more wealthy I become. Which increases my capacity to help… and so on. For the new person, remember that every person starts with a small or no network.

Start today and grow it week by week, person by person. Soon, you will have a vast network. The key is to realize that it is no longer about who dies with the most toys wins. It is now about who dies with the most friends win. Every challenge you have ever had, have now, or will have in the future can be conquered by the right network. Need I say more?

Josh Hinds: Michael, you’re the author of, “The Seven Levels of Communication: Go from Relationships to Referrals”. Can you share an idea or two from your book which our readers would find helpful? Also, please be sure to let everyone know where they can learn more about your book.

Michael J Maher: The book can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and of course, There is a terrific conversation going on about it at I am known as America’s Most Referred Real Estate Professional. Real estate provides me with 1.1 million competitors every single day. Having had such success in such a competitive environment has brought me the opportunity to answer a lot of questions.

Unfortunately, what we do cannot be answered with a single sentence, thus the book. The book is the answer to all those questions about how to develop a Community of Ambassadors who help you grow your business. Wouldn’t it be great if your business was the most referred and most recommended business in your field or industry?

The first idea is to think about the question: How many of your clients would attend your funeral? Are you treating your clients like you would a friend? This person entrusted you with their money in exchange for your value. Are you over-delivering on that value?

There are many strategies in the book: The 7 Steps to Connecting with Connectors, the 7 Steps to a Successful Success Story, and the Guaranteed Response E-mail that can make a significant difference in a business. I also show exactly how social media should fit in your Communication Plan. Many have said that has been a large a-ha for them. Last idea, set a Referral Goal. Set it in terms of outgoing AND incoming referrals. Something like, “I will give 200 referrals and receive 100 referrals in 2011” is a powerful statement.

– Happy Networking, Josh Hinds
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