Five Secrets For Getting Referrals For Your Small Business: Part 1
Posted on November 07, 2010 by Nathan R Mitchell, One of Thousands of Business Coaches on Noomii.
Nathan Mitchell, Small Business Consultant & Entrepreneurship Coach, Clutch Consulting LLC, addresses the importance of intelligent networking.
By Nathan Mitchell, Small Business Consultant & Entrepreneurship Coach, Clutch Consulting LLC
This article is the first of two parts on the importance of networking and getting referrals. Part 1 deals with the importance of networking, as well as a few fundamentals the small-business owner can use to make their networking efforts more effective. Part 2, which I will post the beginning of next week, will address the “Five Secrets For Getting Referrals For Your Small Business,” and how the small-business owner and entrepreneur can maximize the number of referrals they get from their networking efforts.
It is extremely important as a small-business owner that you realize networking is not an optional business activity–in fact, it is one of the most important things you will do to ensure a win in the game of entrepreneurship! The biggest challenge in networking for small-business owners, especially those who are sole-proprietors, is the strategy for how they will integrate networking into their business schedule. In addition, it must quickly be established the number of hours per month that will be committed to networking activities. Some experts in this field recommend ten hours per month. Ten hours per month is definitely manageable, but please note that it is better to do five hours per month of quality networking, than ten hours per month of unintelligent networking that doesn’t lead the way to increased sales for your business.
Here are five tips you can use as a small-business owner to ensure that your networking activities do not find themselves at the bottom of your priority list:
—Make the commitment by marking your calendar.
—Make sure you are choosing the right events: If there is likely to be fifty or more people at an event, you should be there also, especially if it aligns with your business strategy and draws attendees that fit within your overall target market.
—Network smart: Find a good book on networking skills, read it front to back, learn from it, but most importantly utilize the techniques you have learned in your networking efforts, and practice, practice, practice. I recommend “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi.
—Offer your assistance: People don’t really care about you until they know how much you care about them and their needs, so offer your assistance. Ask your prospects “leading” questions that will help you define a need. This will help you gain interest from the prospect, and increase your chances of setting up an appointment.
—Work the entire room: Don’t spend too much time with any one person. Spend no more than five minutes with each contact; this will ensure that you will at least get to make twelve new contacts every hour that you spend networking.
More information can be found online at http://www.clutchconsulting.net