Darren had ‘bought in’ to the commitment of spending time to realise a return on his efforts, so when we met up recently I was pleased to see he was now participating within a vibrant Network Forum, with a determination to help ‘grow’ with the group.
‘How do I give?’ was the question.
In short the best advice I could give him was to ‘continue turning up and educating the audience.’
‘But I feel under pressure to offer referral.’ Came the sharp reply.
This is a common misconception and one cultivated in some circles and although Darren had an understanding of why ‘people do indeed – buy from people’ he was still bothered with anxiety.
So keep the appearances I suggested, offer your support to colleagues through regular close meetings ‘off-piste,’ (the 121) ask questions that you cannot in the structured environment of the Forum, learn from each other, grow the partnership. Avoid at all costs the “takers” such as ‘Matt The Fat’ of post past … these you will come across ‘hunting for business’ on the odd occasion and their influence is sure to dissuade the uninitiated from ever returning to networking …
Most importantly I added, keep smiling and introduce your friends to the Forum … nothing consolidates your standing and reputation as a ‘giver’ within the Forum as introducing your wider circle of contacts.
Offering referrals is of course a great way to develop the relationships, although too much emphasis on passing referrals can undermine credibility – in a lot of cases, (especially during the early days of network experience), leads confused as referrals can do more harm than good.
Building a solid and reliable network of like-minded individuals does take time and of course the best referrals always come to those who are patient.