I teach a series of Networking Classes to beginning Networkers here in Indiana. As we were summing up the class I asked each student, what is the most important thing that you have learned in this program? Shane, EyeDesign Graphics & Advertising Co., summed it up beautifully. He said, What I learned is to build a great network you have to learn to ask twice. Ask, how can I help them, then ask for what I need. Right on target!
Asking others how you can help them and finding ways to do it, is how you will build credibility with potential referral sources. Many times when you ask someone the famous question, How can I help you? they often have no answer at all, and if they do have an answer then it is the usual send me leads statement. They have not really given much thought to what others can do for them. In this case, you may want to make some suggestions on how you might be able to help them. Remember to use the 18 tactics; here are a couple of easy ones that you can always put to use.
- Invite them to an event with you.
- Ask them if they would like to put an article in your newsletter.
- Send out their information in your next client mailing.
- Introduce them to someone who could be a possible source for them.
- Quote them in one of your articles as an expert.
There are a great many things that you can do beyond, giving a referral or a lead. Be creative, look outside the box. Once you have helped someone else, then you will be ready to ask the second question.