You don’t need contracts or agreements with referral partners. Here is why
When it comes to LinkedIn, the age-old cliché is right – You never know who you’ll meet.
LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool for so many reasons. But what’s one of its best features? The fact that you can see exactly who’s been checking you out with one click of a button.
It’s great flattery when people are viewing your profile and piques all of our interest, but the problem is – this is a huge opportunity to expand your network – but unfortunately, most people don’t do a single thing with the information. And you’re missing out.
So how can you start making some new connections and grow your network? It’s just an easy start to a conversation. When someone has viewed your profile, and you’ve checked them out and find there could be some mutual benefits to connecting and growing each other’s networks, your only goal is to have your connection request approved.
You won’t have or want to do this with every person who views your profile (that’ll get exhausting), but when you find someone who you genuinely believe you could help each other out, reach out.
This is an easy message to send and your next best step is to do a little detective work yourself to find out more about the person so you can reach out with a personal message when you request a connection.
Start things off with a simple introduction, try to include something that you might have in common and ask how they came to view your profile. This part is important and often overlooked, but you want to know exactly what brought them there, and it’s perfectly fine to ask. Here’s an example:
My name is Louise, and I’m a Sydney-based freelance writer. I’m always looking to expand my network of contacts (especially with fellow UNSW alumni!). I noticed you visited my profile on LinkedIn, what brought you by? Did I do something?
I’d love to connect with you here. Looking forward to keeping in touch and finding ways to help each other out.
And it’s that simple. This message does more than strike up a generic conversation; it asks the person to explain exactly what they were interested in. Knowing this provides you with a clear foundation and direction for the relationship or potential next interaction. Which is where it all begins.
Your networks should be opening doors for you, creating new business for you, promoting your lead magnets for you! However this just doesn’t happen for most of you. Why? Here is the reason!!
While some entrepreneurs may be hesitant to partner with other companies due to fear of misalignment, not a balanced relationship or a branding disaster, it can actually be quite beneficial if done correctly. Forming the right strategic partnership can increase your efforts in two essential areas of the business — credibility and distribution.
Be clear on your why. Often people enter into strategic partnerships because they don’t feel they have enough value on their own. Coming from this place almost never creates a mutually beneficial relationship. This is not the recipe for success.
Be clear on the value you bring to the table. Be honest about why you’re interested in creating a partnership and what you bring to the table. Be able to answer the following: “Why does this relationship benefit my professional and personal growth?” “What value do I offer to this potential partnership?” and “What do I expect to gain from this partnership?”
This is not a time to hash out your business plan or a mission and vision statement. If you don’t have clear answers to these questions, you’re not in a position to create effective connections.
Do your homework. Do not pass “go” until you have these answers covered.
Understand the why of your potential partners. Don’t hesitate to ask a potential partner why he or she is seeking to connect and what he or she is hoping to gain.
The answers are not always clear at the outset. Listen carefully to what the other party is saying. Do you have the right chemistry and a shared vision to make this relationship mutually beneficial?
If you sense resistance or a lack of clarity, postpone any decision making until your questions are answered completely and you’re confident this relationship will be profitable and beneficial to you both.
Do your whys match? Seek commonality and a shared vision. Do you see this partnership as boosting the vision of both sides? Do you share the same excitement and passion for what you do and how you want to grow?
Certainly everyone comes with different strengths and weaknesses, however, the best partnerships work because the vision and values are shared as well as passion and enthusiasm. These can carry the partnership through any sticking points in negotiations. Remember, the best partnerships work most smoothly when each party’s strengths shore up the connection to create elevated and shared success.
Sometimes hearing from someone else can make the difference… Listen in 😀
Trust is the foundation of any relationship, so we can appreciate the importance of building trust when networking, facing new clients or customers and generally anyone we’re doing business with.
Keep these small things in mind in your next interactions and you’re sure to build trust quickly and connect with the person you’re talking to.
It’s almost an insult to call someone predictable because it implies they’re simple and boring. But predictability is a major ingredient in trustworthiness and it makes sense. The more consistently you behave, and the more congruence there is between what you say and what you do, the more transparent and trustworthy you’ll appear to others.
The most trustworthy people aren’t just self-aware but also genuinely humble. Humility helps us take responsibility for our mistakes instead of blaming others. This makes self-deception less likely in the first place, and with that comes a lower likelihood of deceiving others. Think about it, when people are arrogant and self-important, that’s a pretty good sign to keep your distance. Chances are good that they’re more willing and able to deceive you and aren’t to be trusted.
A number of studies have shown that highly competent people can make themselves appear more approachable by being vulnerable. Something like a bad joke, revealing a secret, making a small mistake or blunder is all it takes to appear a bit more human, approachable and warm.
Balance is Key.
If a stranger came up to you and asked you to hold their wallet for them, would you trust them? Contrary to popular belief, trustworthiness is arguably best in moderation. As in this situation, if you trust someone excessively then you risk being naive, increasing your chances of getting taken advantage of. On the other hand, if you’re completely unable or unwilling to trust others, you won’t be able to build and maintain relations.
A little secret. You don’t get many referrals because you don’t have many referral sources… Here is how to fix that!!
Networking events have so much potential as a starting point for building great business relationships. And when done right can lead to endless business possibilities and success. However, too many people make the same mistakes each time. Learn what they are and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: You jump from one conversation to the next and although you might have some meaningful conversations – you forgot to get their contact details. Whether we get nervous, caught up or just forgetful, sometimes we don’t exchange contact information. Luckily the other person might remember but you could lose out on a valuable business relationship so don’t forget.
Mistake #2: Even worse, you collect cards from everyone you meet, but either you wait too long to sort through and organize them, or you forget all the important details in the first place. Bottom line mistake: you’ve forgotten who was who and now you’ll have to back track and waste time figuring it out, or you won’t even be able to. Don’t underestimate the value you’ll get from just a couple minutes of jotting down notes after a networking event.
Mistake #3: You don’t take the time to review the handouts, worksheets and resources you received at the event. Networking events are laden with successful people, valuable knowledge and great resources. A big mistake many people often make is failing to take advantage of the incentives offered by the speakers and presenters.
Mistake #4: Failing to prioritise who to follow up with and why. You might have made many, many connections but the mistake people often make is not prioritising the most important ones while they’re warm. Go through and identify who makes the most sense to follow up with first and why. Don’t make the mistake of being vague and always be specific.
Mistake #5: Following up without a plan. You should have at least a 30-day plan for how to follow up with the contacts you would like to establish a working mutual relationship with. But you wont develop these relationships if you catch up once and then forget to show up. You have to be consistent and stay in contact on a regular basis (or as much as possible).
Mistake #6: Waiting. The biggest mistake people make after an event is waiting too long. Timely follow up is critical. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until the person has forgotten you or the connection you made before you follow up.