A little birdie told you that you should Always Be Networking, so you go to one or two networking events, pass out some business cards and collect a few yourself. You've had coffee with a couple of people you met at said events and learned more about their business.
A lot of people get stuck after the initial meeting stage of the networking cycle and for one reason or another don't continue the relationship or get any new leads out of it.
There are numerous ways to continue to nurture a relationship after the first meeting, but this strategy is geared towards how to come away with leads from your new contact. The beauty of connections is that even if the person you meet with is not your ideal client, they likely know someone who is. You can find out who that person is by asking for an introduction, not a referral.
What's the difference? I'm glad you asked.
When I say referral, I'm referring to when you ask a person, let’s call him Joe, to give you names of people he knows who may need your services. You then contact them either via phone or email saying Joe thought we should connect. I'm not saying it doesn't work, but it's not the most effective.
One reason is that it puts the pressure on the other person, in this case Joe, to do your prospecting for you to try to come up with some names, if he comes up with any at all.
A better way is to ask for an introduction to people you already know Joe has a connection with. For example, you can go through Joe’s LinkedIn contacts to see who of his connections you would like to meet and ask Joe if he wouldn't mind introducing you to those people. This way, instead of you reaching out to Joe’s contacts, Joe reaches out to his contacts on your behalf saying that you two should connect. It's way more effective!
To get the ball rolling, make it easy for Joe by giving him referral language to use when making the introduction that briefly describes who you are, what you do and who you help. All he has to do is cut and paste and voila, you have a new lead.
I've been utilizing this process to get new leads for the past few months and it has really grown my business. I can't recommend it enough!