It goes without saying that networking is an amazing marketing method for building your business, which is why I encourage my students to join networking groups that meet regularly. Different groups meet weekly, monthly or even quarterly, which means there is a group out there that can work with every schedule. Through women’s groups, trade associations and local Chambers of Commerce, it is actually quite easy to find a networking group.
Another great way to make sure you are taking full advantage of networking is to seek out those individuals I personally like to refer to as “Centers of Influence” or COI. These Centers of Influence are the people who seem to know anyone and everyone – and they are great people to have as contacts.
Identifying your Centers of Influence will help you make connections to people who can power up your networking in ways you never imagined.
1. Identifying your COI
Whenever I speak of COIs, the number one question I get is: where can one find these amazing Centers of Influence?! The funny thing is that you likely have a COI in your life but you just don’t know it. So think of that friend you have who just knows everyone – and that person is your Center of Influence! If you don’t already have a COI in your life, the networking events and groups will help you identify one.
These COIs are master networkers who know droves of folks and can regularly refer you to the right people. Most COIs absolutely love to make connections and introductions. They like to provide referrals for when you need service or help. I call them natural “bridgers” because they get a thrill from bridging one person to another.
2. Meet with your COIs regularly
When you meet regularly with your Centers of Influence it will have a direct impact on growing your business, which is why it is important to meet with your COIs often. Making a point to stay in touch keeps you top-of-mind when they are out networking. Personally, I like to meet my COIs for lunch or a cup of coffee about once a month.
3. Getting referrals
Centers of Influence are one of the fastest paths to referrals. Even if you feel weird asking for referrals, just remember that your COIs really enjoy it. They feel awesome, valued, proud, confident and influential whenever they help their friends out. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship!
4. Reaching out to your COI
Because reaching out to others about networking is uncomfortable for some people, here is a sample email you could send: “Hi Jane. It’s been a long time since we’ve caught up. I’d love to hear what you are up to and also let you know what‘s new with me. How about meeting for coffee? My treat. When are you free?” I recommend coffee because that’s a lot cheaper than lunch or dinner.
You can reach out to COIs by phone, email, text or social media. If you want to connect with people outside your area, go virtual! You can Skype, FaceTime or try a Google Hangout. Be creative and find a way.
Your Client Attraction Assignment
Right now, make a list of 10 influential people who could be your Centers of Influence. Don’t get hung up on how well you know them. Remember, they enjoy networking and connecting people. You can even list 10 people you’d like to meet because of their influence and connections. Then contact them this week and watch your business grow.
This is just one of the many best practices we dive deep into with the students of The Client Attraction Business School, the premier training school for growth-minded entrepreneurs looking to quickly attract more clients and make more money. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit www.ClientAttractionBusinessSchool.com for more details.© Copyright 2015 Fabienne Fredrickson