In generating referrals for your business, you are going to want to spend less time with frogs and more time with princes and princesses − and at the same time, make sure you aren’t a 'networking frog' either.
How do you become networking royalty and find other like-minded referral partners, avoiding the amphibians out there? Let me give you some telltale signs that you might be kissing a networking frog:
- This person is always asking you for referrals, introductions and favours but rarely reciprocates.
- This person doesn’t seem to have the time to sit down and really learn about your business, goals, and ideal customers.
- When you schedule face-to-face meetings, this person often reschedules the night before or the day of your appointment.
- This person takes forever to return your phone calls and emails, if at all.
- This person rarely goes out of their way to help you, and seems inconvenienced when complying with your requests for help with making a connection.
- This person often makes you feel like you’re just OK to be around, and may not be quite 'big enough' for strong collaboration.
- This person talks excessively about themselves and their business. They rarely asks you questions. If they do ask, they really don’t listen to your answers.
- When you do get around to sharing something about your business, they quickly turn your comment into a chance to move the spotlight back onto themselves.
- At networking events, this person is hunting for new prospects, shaking hands and passing out as many business cards as humanly possible, moving quickly from person to person.
- When you exchange business cards with this person, they don’t even glance at your card, never make a written note on the back, and quickly tuck it away in a pocket.
- While you are with this person, they are always looking around to see who else they could be meeting, rather than focusing their attention on you with continued eye contact.
- You always feel a little slimy after an encounter with a networking frog.
How can you be sure that you are a networking prince or princess and not a frog? The simple answer is to do the opposite of what networking frogs do!
It may take a little time to discover a person’s true networking nature, so keep your eyes peeled for the signs above. Sometimes frogs are on their best behaviour at networking events. Their scales and warts reveal themselves later in follow-up interactions.
In networking, you are simply going to have to kiss some frogs to find your true princes and princesses. Just make sure that you are not being a networking frog yourself and you will become known throughout the land.
Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the founder and chief visionary officer of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organisation. Dr Misner is also the senior partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company.