How To Make Networking Work

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How to Make Networking Pay Off

Episode Summary

This week’s episode of the Valtimax Podcast is all about networking. People generally have two opinions of networking: The either hate it or they tolerate it. In this episode, Dave Lorenzo, Chairman of Valtimax Consulting shares some strategies and techniques that will help doctors, lawyers and business leaders get better at developing business through networking.

Transcript

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How to Make Networking Work

How to Make Networking Work

This is Dave Lorenzo coming to you live with another edition of the Valtimax podcast. Today’s episode is all about networking strategically and productively. That’s right, folks. We’re going to teach you in 15 minutes or less how you can develop business using only word of mouth. It is powerful. It is efficient and it is effective. You’re going to learn all about it today on the Valtimax podcast.

Before we get started, I want to give you a quick reminder that you can subscribe to us on iTunes. Just go to iTunes and download the podcast app and search for Valtimax and subscribe to us on iTunes. Also, if you like what you hear, leave us a review. We love five-star reviews and we love them on iTunes.

If you want more great information about networking, marketing, business strategy, practice management, client appreciation, practice management for physicians and leadership development for leaders of any and all kinds, you can find all that information at Valtimax.com.

Let’s talk networking. All right. Networking is the most productive way you can use your time if your resources are challenged. That’s right, folks. Networking is highly productive and it’s a great form of business development. The problem is that most people hate it. You heard me correctly. Most people hate introducing themselves to strangers. They hate introducing themselves to people they don’t know in an environment of people who are looking to develop business themselves. People either hate networking or they tolerate networking.

Nobody absolutely, positively loves to go out and meet new people each and every day and introduce themselves to strangers. You may be asking yourself why is that? It’s because of this innate fear that each of us has of being rejected. We fear looking foolish. We fear introducing our self to someone and having them turn their back on us and never want to speak to us again. That rejection can be painful and we absolutely fear it.

The first key to networking is to turn that feeling right on its head. You have to feel like the only thing you have to fear is the fear of not doing anything. That’s right, folks. I took that phrase and I turned it around. The fear you should be facing is your fear of doing nothing. That’s the only time you fail is when you don’t take a chance because you can never, ever go wrong when you take a shot at something.

I’m going to teach you today how you can go out and network like a pro even if it makes you uncomfortable because the techniques we’re going to give you will make you much more comfortable in introducing yourself to people you don’t know and hopefully developing business as a result.

Let‘s talk first and foremost about targeted networking. You know who you want to meet. This is the CEO of “XYZ company” or he’s the person in charge of the department that you need to meet in order to get your product in there. He’s the person that you need to meet in order to develop your law firm or your law practice. He’s the person, she’s the person you need to meet in order to help your medical practice explode.

How do you do it? Well, you know who this person is so you do some research on them. You go on the Internet and you Google them. You go on the Internet, you look on LinkedIn. You find out what they do at their company. You should already know that, but you find out a little bit more about what they do. You go into detail about what they do, how they do it, who reports to them.

Then you go into detail with the charities they belong to, where do they contribute, are they on boards of directors, look for their political affiliations, all available to you through public records. You can find all this information out just by doing a quick Internet search.

Once you find that information out, you reach out to your network of people. You reach out to all those people who are in your contacts files and you send them an e-mail. You say, “I’d like to meet George Jefferson at ‘XYZ company’. He’s the CEO. He’s also on the board of directors of this charity, of that charity, of this company, of that company and he’s involved with the Democratic party. He does this and he does this and he does this. If you know anyone who could make an introduction for me to George Jefferson, please e-mail me back immediately.”

About 30%-40% of the time, people in your network will know that person or they’ll know somebody who knows that person and they’ll be able to get you some sort of introduction. Now, if you don’t know how to get to that person beyond that, reach out to people who are on the board of directors. What you can do is you can get involved with those charities. You can get involved with those causes.

You can get involved with those organizations, attend those meetings and get close to the people who are close to him or get close to him yourself. Going through third party organizations is a great way to meet people who are contacts in the companies that you want to do business with.

Now, let’s say that you’re focused on developing your business by meeting people at events. How do you go up and introduce yourself to a complete and total stranger? This is uncomfortable. Nobody likes to do this. How do you do it? You walk into a room and there are 100 people in there. You don’t know any of them. Now you’re telling me that I’m supposed to go up and introduce myself to that person? Yes, you absolutely are and here’s how you do it, first and foremost, you walk up to the person and you say, “Hi. My name is Dave Lorenzo and I’m a consultant and I work with lawyers. Who are you and what do you do?”

Now, if that’s too forward for you, you walk up to that person and you say, “Hi. My name is Dave Lorenzo and I really hate these things because I’m not great at introducing myself to people I don’t know. What’s your name?” All of the sudden the person will feel a little bit of sympathy for you. Or you can walk up to that person and say, “Oh, gosh, don’t you hate these things? I never know how to introduce myself, so I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Hi. My name is Dave.” That person will laugh and they’ll introduce themself.

What you’re doing is you’re showing a little vulnerability. You’re showing a little bit of weakness. You’re showing that you’re vulnerable. Human nature is to help someone who’s showing vulnerability. We only develop over time that crass exterior that you see from some

people but most people will revert back to human nature when they’re in a setting that has an element of commonality, because you know what? Not everybody’s comfortable at those things. In fact, most people aren’t comfortable at networking events. When you introduce yourself showing that element of vulnerability, people feel that they need to be empathetic. They feel like they should help you out.

Now, the next thing to do once you meet your new friend is to take your new friend and go over to somebody else you don’t know and say, “Hi. My name is Dave. I don’t know who you are but this is Joe and Joe does this, this, this and this and you give Joe a nice, little build-up, a nice, little introduction to the new person you don’t know.” All of a sudden that person will say, “Well, hi, my name is Pete and I want to meet you too. Hi, Dave, very nice to meet you. Hi, Joe, what is it that you guys do for a living?” Then the three of you are talking and then you can repeat the process over and over again.

What happens is you become known as a connector. You become known as somebody who connects other people and people will say to each other, “Wow, what a fantastic networker that person is. You see her introducing people to everyone all over the room.” Guess what you’re doing? You’re introducing other people to one another and by way of an introduction, you’re introducing yourself. The focus is off of you. You look like somebody who’s helping people out. You look like the greatest networker in the world. That is absolutely fantastic.

All right. You make these networking relationships and you want to ask for referrals but you don’t really know how to do it because every time you ask someone, whether it’s a client or a friend or someone you meet at a networker, you ask them for a referral, they just give you a dumb look like, “Duh.” They don’t know how to refer people because they can’t remember anybody. All right. The brain works like a computer so I’m going to give you the formula for unlocking the files in someone’s brain that will help them refer people to you.

First and foremost, you need to unlock the file that contains the information associated with the person you’re looking to meet. Let’s say you’re an accountant and you’re looking to meet a real estate lawyer because you know they have a lot of work to offer you and you know your buddy Pete plays golf with a real estate lawyer. What you do is you say to Pete, “Hey, Pete, you still playing golf each and every week?” “Yes. Sure am. Have a foursome that goes out every Friday.” “Excellent. Let me ask you something. Does that guy, the lawyer, is he still in your foursome?” “Oh, you mean Joe Smith? Yes, he’s still there. He shoots about 90, 95. He’s not very good.” “Oh, terrific. What area of law does he practice?” “Yes, he’s a real estate attorney. He was just involved in a couple of big deals, blah blah blah.” “Perfect. You know, real estate attorneys are great referral sources for me. I’d love to meet that guy and by any chance do you know anybody else who practices real estate law?” “No, but you know what? I bet you Pete knows a ton of people who knows real estate law. Why don’t you come and play golf with us next week and we need a fourth.” That’s how you do it.

Now, let’s say you wanted to meet somebody who’s two or more degrees removed than that. Let’s say you want to meet a real estate appraiser. You’d say, “Hey, Pete, do you still play golf with the guy who’s a real estate attorney?” “Yeah, I do. He’s doing really well blah blah blah.” “Do you think he would know a real estate appraiser?” “Well, I’m sure he knows lots of real

estate appraisers. In fact, I know some real estate appraisers. Tell me why you want to meet them.” You explain why you want to meet them. Then you get the real estate appraisers that Pete knows and you get the real estate appraisers that the real estate attorney knows and you’re off to the races.

The key is to open the files. Now let’s say you don’t know how the person knows the real estate broker. You go up to Pete and you say, “Hey, Pete, I understand you bought a house five years ago.” “Yes, I absolutely did.” “When you bought the house, did you use a real estate attorney or a title company?” “I used a real estate attorney.” “Do you happen to know the name of that guy?” “Yes I do blah blah blah.”

All right. Let’s say you wanted to meet a probate attorney. You go to Pete and say, “Hey, Pete, did you use a real estate attorney when you bought your house?” “Yes, I absolutely did. I used a real estate attorney. His name is Jeff blah blah blah.” “Do you think Jeff would know a probate attorney?” Well, Pete may know a probate attorney as a matter of fact. Or Pete could introduce you to the real estate attorney who I’m sure knows a probate attorney that he refers people to all the time and this is how it works.

The key is to first set up the context within the person’s mind whom you’re looking to get the referral from, who you’re looking to receive the referral from. The context has to be in place before they can refer someone to you so you have to open up a file in their brain that will allow them to picture the context.

All right. Let’s do one more. Let’s say you want to meet the CEO of a local manufacturing company. Well, your buddy Joe just happens to work in construction and he buys supplies all the time. So you go to Joe and you say, “Hey, Joe, you and buy construction supplies all the time, don’t you?” “Yes.” “And the supplies you buy, they come from wholesalers, right?” “Absolutely.” “Do you know the name of the President of the wholesaling company?” “Yes, absolutely. I just went to lunch with him last week.” “By any chance, do you think he would know the manufacturer of the bearings that we use in “X” manufacturing process?” “Well, I don’t know. Let’s go to lunch with him and ask him.”

Then you get to go to lunch with that person and pick that person’s brain. You can use the multiple degrees of separation theory in order to research how you’re going to get referrals. The key is to open the mind to get the person in the mindset of delivering the referrals to you.

All right. Final point today, we’re going to talk about our networking groups. Civic groups, charitable groups or structured networking organizations are all groups you should be a part of and you should be a part of one of each of them. Let me tell you how they work.

A civic group is a chamber of commerce or it’s a marketing association. They exist for members to introduce themselves to one another and to try and get and do business with one another. That is the purpose for their existence. The way you can leverage your membership in a chamber of commerce to the hilt is by joining committees or getting into a leadership position in those organizations.

You see, if you get into a leadership position in those organizations, you establish credibility with the membership because people view leaders as people who have confidence and people who have confidence are people who are naturally attractive and magnetic to others. It is absolutely phenomenal. So join a chamber of commerce and get on a committee. Get into a leadership role, get out there, see and be seen and by all means, attend every single meeting you possibly can because frequency of interaction builds trust. The more you interact with people, the more people see you, the more likely they are to trust you.

All right. Now, in addition to civic organizations there are charitable organizations and charitable organizations can be very good for business development but there’s one caveat, if you join a charitable organization, you must believe in that charity. If you only go to the charitable organization’s meetings strictly to develop business, people are going to see through that. It will be transparent and joining that organization will backfire on you.

You must be passionate about your charity. You must give, give until it hurts and you must give of yourself unselfishly. If you do, and you work with other people in the charitable organization, natural relationships will develop that will turn into business relationships. But you must be passionate about the charitable organization.

All right. Finally, absolutely last point is structured networking organizations. If you join a structured networking organization, it will absolutely pay off for you but you have to join the right group. When we talk about structured organizations, we’re talking about BNI, Business Network International, or LeTip, those types of organizations exist for members to pass business to one another.

That’s the sole purpose for their existence and they are, indeed, structured. They have rules, regulations, you must attend all of the meetings, you must pass business to other people. You must be on the lookout for business to other people. This is not for everyone but if you are interested you should check it out.

Now, the determinate of whether or not you’re going to be successful, you’re going to get good business from these groups is the quality of the membership. So visit multiple groups, look for multiple professionals. Look for people who are just like you but in other industries and people who are aggressive at seeking business for one another.

Now, when you do your networking, you have to realize that a networking relationship is just the beginning. You go to a networking event, you meet someone, follow-up is the key to getting business from that person. Picture it as a dating relationship. If you went out on a date with someone one time and you asked that person to marry you, the answer would almost always, 99.9% of the time, be no. The answer would always be no. What you need to do is you need to have an effective courtship. You need to follow-up constantly with these people. You need to stay in front of them and we’ll talk about that on the next Valtimax podcast.

That’ll do it for this week’s episode of the Valtimax podcast. My name is Dave Lorenzo and I’d like your feedback and comments on this week’s episode. You can call me at 888-692-5531 or e-mail me. Here’s hoping you make a great living and live a great life®.

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