networking breakfast table

In 2016 the most effective way to get business is by referral. People who rate you refer others to you so what do you do to make that referral process easy?

Most business owners network – online and offline. They’re on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and/or have a page on Facebook. They go to breakfast meetings, networking events and association meetings. In all these places there’s usually an opportunity to talk about your business, even if it’s just for a few seconds. Here are my top tips to make it easy for your networking contacts to bring you leads.

1. Know exactly who you are trying to attract. The more detailed your description of an ideal client, the easier it is for your networking contacts to recognise them when they meet them. “Anyone who wants what I do,” is not a description that anyone can relate to.

2. Plan your opening statement. When you stand up (or sit down) to do a 60 second ‘pitch’ open with something memorable. “Most of you know what I do,” is guaranteed for half the people present to tune you out. It doesn’t matter if people already know what you do, it’s an opportunity to educate them about why it’s important for them to connect you to their contacts so open with a statement that will get their attention. This might be a challenging question or an outrageous statement or using a prop that will focus attention (and maybe get a laugh!)

3. Think in terms of outcomes. People don’t want to know what you do – they want to know what they get – the answer to ‘What’s in it for me?’ The more examples of measurable outcomes your clients have got as a result of using your service or product are much more powerful than a list of the services/products you sell.

This can be quite hard to get your head around, but, for example not “I write commercial copy to help people with their marketing”, but “I persuade your clients to take action and purchase … ” or better still “The copy we create results in 15% more sales than most of our clients previously experienced.”

4. Be visible. The very least you need today is a website – and that website needs to be focused on the customer (not what the company does). However, you also need to be active on social media and post content in a variety of places, from your blog to emailing useful information to your list.

People have short memories and quickly forget you exist if you’re not popping up in their eye-line regularly.

5. Deliver value. Don’t just sell at people – they’ll disengage and that means that you lose a potential client and/or a potential referrer. Share your knowledge, curate useful material – blogs or articles, connect your network to each other when you think they could help each other.

If you have a system for people to sign up to your list – don’t offer them a newsletter – most of us won’t volunteer to get yet another email to deal with. Instead, offer them an item of value in exchange for their contact details – a checklist, a ‘How to …’ document, a ‘3 things to avoid when …’ document or your top ten tips on … whatever your area of expertise is. Make sure it looks professional, is in pdf format and carries not only your brand at the front, but your contact details and a short biography or company profile at the back.

If you do just these five things consistently you’ll see a significant difference in the quality and frequency of your network sending you potential clients.


If you want an online marketing system that will help you to tick some of these boxes with the minimum of effort – give me a call on 01245 473296 or watch the free video tutorial here.