The Common Misunderstandings of Prospecting, Networking, and Referrals
Since my company specializes in Prospecting, Networking, Branding, and Referrals (and it says so on all of our marketing materials) people often ask me, “Aaron, what’s the DIFFERENCE between Prospecting, Networking, and Referrals?” (they usually can understand the ‘branding’ elements of it)
Well, it is my personal belief from the thousands of salespeople I’ve had the opportunity to speak to and work with that the three are VERY different, but must be used together to achieve ultimate efficiency…Here’s how I see them:
**PROSPECTING – Prospecting is the act of doing research to compile “attack lists” of potential prospects, business partners, strategic alliances, and referral partners. Prospecting does not actually require CONTACTING the individuals, but identifying WHO you need to meet and build relationships with.
Prospecting can be broken into a few simple steps:
1) Ask yourself, “What’s my perfect prospect/client like?” Start LISTING the qualities/characteristics of your perfect prospects. Try to avoid focusing strictly on income, but focus on what your RAVING fans are like.
2) Next, decide what areas, communities, organizations, and clubs these people (or types of people) are involved in
3) Compile attack lists of people you’d like to meet & do business with
After you’ve identified your prospects,
**NETWORKING can become the focus. Networking is the physical act of meeting with people who could help influence your business. This can include attending events of the organizations listed previously, or by strategically inviting prospects to lunch (or other appointments) to add them to your sphere of influence. Focus on meeting people who are WELL CONNECTED to the community.
*REFERRALS require asking your clients, referral partners, and business allies for names of people who you may be able to HELP. The goal is to utilize a warm introduction from someone who is already part of your sphere of influence. Again, Focus on meeting people who are WELL CONNECTED to the community! Ask your clients, “Who’s the most well-connected person you know?” or “Who’s the most popular person you know?” and make it an effort to CONNECT with them.
Here’s where it gets good:
Keep a list of “People I’d Like to Meet” and periodically ask your “MAVENS” (referral partners) if they know anyone on the list. If you’ve been doing a good job of finding the best networkers in the community, this step will be MUCH easier.
This was the secret I used to land multiple celebrity clients when I was a Cutco-selling College student. As I continued to ask all my clients for the most well connected people they knew, and my “People I’d Like to Meet” grew, I showed it to EVERYONE. All of the sudden, new connections were constantly opening for me.
(HELPFUL HINT: Connect with your clients and referral partners on Facebook. You may find that your friends are friends with your prospects.)
Once you know that these three areas are separate AND important, make it a point to focus on them this year. How many books can you read on the three topics?
Your Marketing Warrior,
Owner/CEO Orlando Branding Agency
AARON’S BOOK RECOMMENDATION: One of the best books on Referrals I’ve ever read is called “7 Levels of Communication” by Michael J Maher. I am in no way affiliated with this book, but am a huge believer in the message. You can purchase the book by clicking this link or on the picture below http://www.sevenlevelsofcommunication.com/michaeljmaher/products-page/