we are learning the importance of networking and referrals. If you stop and think about it, almost everything we do involves networking in some fashion. You can have a great deal of influence just because of the sheer amount of “networks” you are in. Stop and consider how many different groups you are a part of—your family, your work, your friends, your church, your industry, clubs you are a member of, sports teams you or your family participate in, your children’s school and activities, etc.
Even though you may not be aware of it, you are also considered a part of someone else’s network. There is value in that. You have the opportunity to influence any or all of these groups/networks you are part of. What kind of influence do you want to have in your networks? You can develop and/or improve your ability to influence others. Jim shares in today’s edition how to become a valuable resource for others, which will, in turn, enable you to become an influencer in your world.
Here is what we are covering this month under the topic of Networking and Referrals:
1. Developing the Attitude for Networking (and life). The old saying is true that your attitude determines your altitude. You will only go as far as your attitude will carry you. We will look at the kind of attitudes that will enable you to successfully expand your network and make your life all that it can be. There are certain attitudes you must have toward circumstances and those that you must have toward yourself and others. Your attitude also governs the process of what takes place when you are networking. We took a look at the whole world of attitude in last week’s edition.
2. Becoming a Person of Influence. The ability to attract and influence others is paramount to being a successful networker. We will cover the principles of influence and what motivates others to follow your lead, which, in turn, builds your network. We will also discuss how to expand your contact list with people who want to go with you to greater heights. This will all be covered in today’s edition.
3. Working your Network. It takes a certain skill to search for and gain new referrals in order to expand your business. We will show you how to develop your network and grow your business—what to do before the meeting, during the meeting and after the meeting, all designed to help you grow your business through an expanding network of people. We will cover this next week.
4. Getting the Referral. The success of your business depends on keeping your current customers satisfied while at the same time gaining new customers. The key to getting new customers is getting a referral. We will discuss a technique for this and also cover the ins and outs of working with people in such a way that they help you find others to grow your business—and gladly refer you! We will cover this in two weeks.
Principles of Influence
When I think about the basic principles of influence, I think of three main elements. These are the very core elements that give people the ability to influence others.
Do you want to expand your influence and become a leader? Of course you do. There are many benefits to doing so—you can have better relationships, you can make more money, and you can make a difference in the lives of others. That’s fun!
When you apply these principles to your life you will see yourself become a better and more highly skilled person, and that will cause you to see your influence in your network grow exponentially. So let’s take a look.
Three Basic Principles of Influence
Principle One: Character does indeed count.
I always find it interesting when there is a discussion on whether or not character matters in leadership. Of course it does! You simply cannot become a person of long-term influence if you lack good character.
Of course, the obvious questions are “What is character?” “What does it consist of?” and “What are people looking for in character?”
Character is an issue of trust. People want to be able to trust you. They need to know that what you say is true. They need to know that when you say you will do something, you will.
What makes people trust others? Honesty. Do you tell the truth? Always? If you do, you will greatly enhance your ability to influence. People will listen when you speak. They will know that what they hear is what they get.
Honesty is being the same personally and professionally. You don’t act one way in one situation and another way in a different situation. When people see you tell a “little white lie” in one situation, it is only natural that they will wonder if you are eventually going to tell them a “little white lie” as well.
If you want to influence others, first and foremost make sure that you are a person of character and integrity. This is a central issue of influence.
Principle Two: To influence, you must be great at what you do.
The last in the class is not usually the influencer, right? Right! Who is usually the influencer? The first in the class. People look up to those who produce the best results. People want to see that those they listen to have already achieved a certain level of success. So if you want to influence, develop a reputation for excellence. By continually sharpening your skills and knowledge, by improving your relationships and your finances, you will more easily position yourself to be an influencer in the lives of others.
Principle Three: Influence is based on helping others.
One of the most influential quotes in the arena of personal and professional development in the past 50 years has been my friend Zig Ziglar’s quote about how you can achieve anything you want in life if you will help many others achieve what they want out of life. It has been so influential because of its innate truth.
It reminds me of Jesus’ words, “Whoever wants to become the greatest among you must become the servant of all.”
You see, true influence is about serving and helping others. Do you want to be the “go to” man or woman in your network? Then be the best helper or servant in the group. Do you want to be connected like no one else? Then be the person whose name comes to mind when people ask themselves, “Who could help me with this?” If your name pops into their mind, that is influence! Why? Because they will call you and you will get the opportunity to influence. And if you can deliver the goods, your reputation will grow even more!
Let’s make some simple applications of these principles.
You want to be a person of influence in your network, right? Good. Let’s take a group of 50 people you know. Who will rise to the top and become the influencers? Will you? Who will be listened to most closely when they speak? Who will move the group when they share their opinion? It will be those who combine the three elements above in the most integrated way. If you are a person who is known to have high character, a reputation for excellence, and who helps others, then you will be in a strong position of influence.
Think about those things this week. Think about where you are in relation to each of these principles. Grow in each and you will position yourself nicely in your network!
Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!
One of the most important things you need in order to develop a large network is a contact list.
Expanding Your Contact List
The first thing to keep in mind is that you have to have a contact list (some refer to this as their Rolodex). Now, we know there are many different ways to keep information in this day and age, including smart phones and other electronic devices. But the basic principle is that you need to have something in which you can keep—and easily access—information about the people in your network. So, whether you prefer paper or electronic versions, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have one! If you don’t, go get one! If you do, let’s move to point No. 2.
Decide to take the time to build your contact list. You will have to invest time entering data and honing the entries. This may take a little time each week or so, but if you are doing it right, it will be well worth the effort.
The collection. To build your contact list you have to be aware that everywhere you go is a collection opportunity. As you talk to someone, determine whether or not this is a person you will want or need in your network. In the old days of paper only, you had to use more discretion. Now with smart phones you can keep tens of thousands of names in one handheld unit. So, if you are using paper, you will need to enter the information by hand. This means you need to get their business card. Most people will offer it to you, but if they don’t and you want it there is only one way to get it—ask!
Now, for those big networking opportunities when business cards are flowing freely: When you are talking to someone and they offer you their card, make the decision whether or not you want to put this person in your network. If so, take a look at the card and make a note on it if that would be helpful. Then stick the card into your right pocket. When you come across someone you know is not a person who will end up in your network, and they offer you their card, stick that card in your left pocket. Women can follow a similar system using their purse, etc. Then, when you leave the meeting with 40 or 50 business cards, you will have an automatic filtering process in place. The right people to keep in your network are found in your right pocket. The left pocket cards go into the circular file. Pretty good system!
If you are using electronic forms, then this process is relatively easy today. Most smart phones have a function wherein you can transfer or text your information from one phone to another. That is about as easy as it gets!
The entry. As mentioned above, you will need to spend some time entering the information. The key is to focus on two things:
1. Put in the right information.
2. Develop a built-in process of follow-up.
Put in the right information. Below is a modified version of the Mackay 66—a tool that our friend Harvey Mackay developed for his own use. We have shortened it to only the very basic elements that everyone should have.
The Modified Mackay 66
Email and website:
College attended/Year graduated/Degrees:
Military service? What branch? How long?
Spouse’s name and occupation:
Children, if any, names/ages:
Professional/trade associations they belong to:
What do you feel is his/her long-range business objective?
What do you feel is his/her immediate business objective?
What do you think is of greatest concern to the customer at this time—the welfare of the company or his/her own personal welfare?
Does the customer think of the present or the future?
Clubs, fraternal associations or service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.)
Politically active? Party:
Active in community? How?
On what subjects (outside of business) does the customer have strong feelings?
Favorite places for lunch and dinner:
Hobbies and recreational interests:
Spectator sports interest:
What adjectives would you use to describe the customer?
What do you feel is the customer’s long-range, personal objective?
What do you feel is the customer’s immediate personal goal?
As you can see, if you can keep this kind of information available to you on the people in your network, you will be way ahead of the game!
Develop a built-in process of follow up. So, when you look at the information above, what areas do you see that would be built-in reasons to connect with those in your network? Here are just a few: Positive news in the paper on their company, birthday, anniversary, their favorite sports teams, or positive news on any associations or clubs they are active in. Anytime you can contact them in regard to positive happenings, it reminds them that you are thinking of them and it also associates you with that positive event. At the very least, be sure to remember birthdays and anniversaries! Drop them a note or make a quick phone call to congratulate them and let them know that you noticed!
The important idea to remember is to regularly connect with the people in your network. Keep your name, face, and voice in front of them, help them achieve their goals, and basically be there for them, and they will be there for you!