Have you been setting your competitors up for success through your networking efforts?
Your first response may be one of immediate denial, and you may even think I am crazy for asking, but let's think about it for a minute.
One of the biggest challenges with networking and referral generation is that it takes time to see results. While we would love to see referrals start flying in right away, it just doesn't happen. Just as we need to invest time consistently working out before we start to really see the results we desire in getting fit, the same is true when networking for referrals.
In order to see the referrals we desire we need to accomplish two things:
1. We need to build the appropriate business relationships with people so that they trust us enough to pass us referrals (this takes time).
2. We need to educate these same people on what a good referral for us is, and how to find them.
Now, as we network with other professionals we are essentially doing both of these things at the same time. While we are investing the time in building the relationship we are simultaneously training them on how to find use referrals (if we are networking correctly that is). The issue though is the time requirement. This leads back to my question.
You see far too many people will not invest ENOUGH time to see the results they desire. They will put in time networking with people, and asking them for referrals, but right before they are at a point where they have built up enough trust and confidence, they stop networking. This is typically because they have never realized the time required for building the relationship, or because they have invested too much time due to a lack of knowledge on HOW to network most effectively. When we quit at this point all we have done is invested time in teaching these people how to find referrals for someone in our profession. Meaning they now know how to find referrals for ANYONE in our profession! This means the next person who meets them, and starts networking with them, will have a head start on receiving referrals because the person already knows how to do so.
So when we invest time networking with someone, and maybe don't see results right away, and we "move on" to the next person we are essentially setting our competitors up for success. Not only would we have wasted our time but we would also be making it easier for our competitors. It is vital that we learn how to network more effectively so that we are not hurting our business in this way. We need to learn how to build relationships and train others on how to find us referrals in the shortest time possible so that we are not wasting our time. We need to foster relationships and build our network and stop helping our competitors build THEIR business with OUR referrals.
So I ask you again, have you been setting your competitors up for success?
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