This post was drawn from the teachings contained in Duct Tape Selling – Think Like a Marketer Sell Like a Superstar by John Jantsch
No matter what field you are in, relationships play a big factor in your success. The more relationships you have, the greater the possibilities of growing your business. And one way to do that is to work on expanding your connections and going deeper into your customers’ networks. Once you make all these connections, you’ll want to be able to offer something in return and be proactive about it.
The practice of making introductions within your network of contacts truly opens the door to more prospects and builds your reputation in a positive light. If you step out on a limb and connect people who are in need of something and you happen to have the answer, it will shine highly on you. Putting people in touch with each other like pairing members of your IT team to work with a client’s IT team on a shared project or introducing two or more strategic partners together because you know they would hit it off only adds value and differentiates you from the pack. Introductions are like networking gold and can sometimes even be better than your typical referral.
There’s a productive way to make an introduction that takes the pressure off the two people you are connecting. Here’s an example that shows what I’m talking about:
By Way of email, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Gary Smith. Gary is an expert on how to build partnerships with the media. Currently, he leads Media Buzz and just came out with a new book, How To Land PR By the Truckload. In addition, he helped me start Effective Financial Planning, my coaching company for financial advisors. He’s very interested in leveraging his talents to build a higher profile as well as an information marketing solution.
So instead of the typical just passing the email addresses along or making a remedial introduction that is bland and quite effortless saying, ‘Gary, this is John…’ he explained who the person was, told me about his expertise and credentials, and gave some background on how they knew each other and what he was looking for. He also described me in a similar way to Gary. This way of introducing allowed us to establish right off the bat who the other was and gave us a starting point for a conversation to begin. Keep this in mind when you are connecting people to each other because it will increase the value you bring to every interaction.
Build Your Own Leads Group
Lead groups are different from your typical networking group because they focus on passing active leads to members of the group. They can be very powerful at generating leads but there can be a lot of time commitment and meetings in some of these groups and you hear of there being problems controlling the quality and quantity of the leads. So, why not take the best from what works in this format and create your own lead group?
Handpick your team
Start with your current customers and find out who they like doing business with and who they most often refer. You will already have the common bond with the companies you are reaching out to because you share a client.
Set Goals and Expectations
As you are selecting your team, let everyone know how you want this group to work. Establish your goals and expectations and what they will need to do to stay active in the group.
Time is something most of us lack these days and that’s what people find frustrating about other leads groups- the required time commitment. Some of them have mandatory 90-minute meetings each week. While it’s still important to have face-to-face time, a way to meet in the middle is to incorporate a tool like LocalBase or Loops from passingleads.com to help facilitate leads tracking, sharing and scoring. This way, people don’t have the pressure of getting penalized for missing the weekly meeting but they can share and track their leads in real time.
Make sure that you still keep the “in real life” aspect of your group by having at least one meeting a month so they can share leads and brainstorm on ways to expand the group. Also think about turning them into possible networking events and encourage your members to invite other people who could potentially be added to the group.
Creating and being in charge of a group like this raises your profile and credibility within your community and happens to create authority as well as leads. Have the setting be one that speaks to who you are and how you want this group to run. Since you’ve created it, you get to be the one to set the rules!
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, Duct Tape Selling – Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar is available online and in bookstores May 15.