You want more new clients. And you’ve been networking like crazy. But in spite of all that activity, your efforts to get new clients have not been very successful. Let’s take a look at the most important key to making the right connections and finding the right referral partners and clients.
Here’s the key that trips up a lot of people when they try to figure out who to connect with: Opportunity!
Opportunity cuts several ways: It can be the opportunity for you to connect with the right kind of people who could give you referrals or become your new clients themselves, possibly both, or the opportunity for the people you connect with to refer people to you.
1. Determine your target
Before you can even know whether there’s opportunity, you need to be clear about what “opportunity” means in your case. Otherwise, you’ll be spinning your wheels trying to find… what?
Get very clear about the “what” that you’re looking for. If you haven’t yet figured out your niche or determined your target prospects, do that before you move to the next steps, or you’ll be wasting your time.
2. Opportunity for you to meet the right people
Once you know what you’re looking for, it will be much easier for you to determine whether a specific networking event or a particular person you meet might be a good fit.
For example, one of my new clients was really frustrated with networking events. No matter how many people he talked to, no one was ever interested in his service, which was a special insurance program that helped business owners get money out of their business to shelter it from taxes.
Once he told me which meetings he went to, it quickly became obvious why he wasn’t more successful. These meetings were full of start-ups, whose concerns were not to get money out of their business, but to keep the business afloat and to grow it. They were absolutely not his target audience.
Instead, I sent him to different meetings where he would meet business owners who had money to shelter, and his business started thriving. That is a way on how to get new customers.
3. Opportunity for your potential referral partners
The other way you need to look at opportunity is to make sure your referral partners have the opportunity to refer people to you. They need to be in regular contact with your perfect prospects. Once again, this is why it is so important that you know who those ideal prospects are.
Let’s say you’re trying to work with alternative health care and/or service providers. A person who has plenty of connections with bankers and corporate types might not be the ideal referral partner for you, unless he or she also happens to be passionate about yoga, acupuncture, organic food, etc. Otherwise, it won’t matter how much of a center of influence he or she might be. On the other hand, the organizer of the local alternative health care expo or the editor of the local alternative health publication would be perfect.