While you speak at a networking event, do you expect your audience to be conjuring referral possibilities for you? Depending on the event, in most cases people are not doing so. Why? Most people are ineffective networkers because they don’t live the “givers gain” philosophy. Many of these people aren’t even listening to your message. They are thinking of what they are going to say when it’s their turn to speak, or perhaps they are pondering lunch. The best networkers WILL listen, but since they are so well connected, there is probably a list of trusted referral partners they already have in your field of expertise.
There is, however, still great benefit to public speaking at networking events as long as you keep in mind the following secret:
People respond to incentives
After you’ve caught their attention using this type of power opener, you must show them how it is in their self-interest to consider who they might know to help you.
Here are some ideas that I’ve seen work at BNI and other networking groups:
1) Refer a wedding to us and you get a romantic overnight stay at our hotel.
2) When your prospect brings up a price objection use this tactic: “If I can show you how to save that much money off your operational expenses, would you be willing to use that savings to invest in my solution?” This is Ben Hall’s (OverVIEW) strategy.
3) For every referral that turns to a sale, we will give you $100.
4) Everybody take out a piece of paper and write down the names of small restaurant owners to whom you would introduce me. As a thank you, here is a small box of Godiva for each name you provide me.
I understand that some readers will contest: “but networking should be people just trying to help oneanother. There is no need for incentives.” Okay, agreed! That would be nice, and there may be SOME groups that live that philosophy. In general, however, if you want people working for you, never underestimate the power of personal incentive.
What creative ideas do you have to incentivize others to search their mental databases for referrals to help you build your business? Please share so that our readers can get the most out of their public speaking at networking events.