Networking is Not Working by Derek Coburn

The premise: Collecting business cards isn’t getting you anywhere. Rather, developing a handpicked group as your primary network will give you more ‘wins’.

How to make yourself invaluable:

  • Increasing the quantity and quality of value you provide your best clients
  • Identifying and developing relationships with other remarkable and relevant professionals
  • Positioning yourself to get more quality introductions to prospective ideal clients
  • the best dating books suggest that you leverage your friendships and expose yourself to environments that are more conducive to finding a compatible mate.
  • You have to actually do something to differentiate yourself, and you need to do it in a meaningful way, if you want to actually stand out from the competition. I now believe there is no better way to set yourself apart than to refer clients to your clients and facilitate these valuable connections.

“What if instead of trying to be amazing you just focused on being useful? What if you decided to inform, rather than promote?”

  • By utilizing your network to refer clients to your clients, you make yourself an extension of their business development and marketing teams.
  • By holding myself out as well-connected to all the top businesses in my orbit—the best contractor, the best realtor, the best chiropractor, the best car salesman—I made myself the go-to guy.
  • for this to work, you need to identify and only recommend top-shelf businesses and people—not necessarily your clients or people who are referring business to you.
  • I created my own networking group and made myself the Ultimate Connector. I brought together a group (20-30 people) that included my clients, their key relationships and other remarkable professionals with whom I wanted to collaborate.
  • The professional who effectively uses both the Ultimate Tiebreaker (referring opportunities to your clients) and Ultimate Resource (providing qualified resources) strategies can easily become the Ultimate Connector (adding extraordinary value by making connections)
  • The first step is to identify who the members of your group should be. Do this by identifying your best relationships, the ones most worthy of the effort, and then learn everything you can about them.
  • John Jantsch said it best in The Referral Engine: “Referrals happen most naturally when two people are talking and one of the parties expresses their current pain in the neck.” He goes on to suggest, “the best way to make it easy for people to refer business your way is to develop a list of ‘trigger’ phrases that experience tells you are the exact words your prospects utter when they need what you’ve got.”
  • The next step is reaching out to set up interviews with your clients to share your plan. I told my clients that I wanted to contribute as an extra member of their business development team.
  • After taking your clients through this process, invariably they will want to know more about your triggering events. This is yet another reason it’s so important to clarify your own triggering events prior to these conversations.
  • Once I gathered the information I needed about my clients’ ideal clients, I asked them for connections to a few of the other businesses with whom they interacted.

The single most important thing you can do at this stage is expand your network to include the best professionals in your area.

There are three primary outlets to expand your professional network:

  • recommendations from your clients,
  • reconnecting with those in your own network with whom you already have relationships
  • identifying and connecting with those you have yet to meet.

The first step is identifying people with high-quality businesses. Once you’ve connected with a person who has a world-class business you would feel comfortable referring to your clients, you need to take the additional step of determining whether they’re ideal for your purposes

Start by sending out an email communicating that you’re in the process of creating an intimate networking community comprised of professionals who are committed

Assuming you have around 20 people in your group, you should start by hosting two lunches a month with spots for 10 at each one

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