Monday, April 13, 2009

Networking for Champions

I went to a great presentation this morning by Steve Bauer of The Referral Academy that highlighted the difference between networking and referrals. Networking is about meeting new people so that you can begin building trusted relationships. Referrals is about leveraging your trusted relationships to meet new people, presumably new people that will become what Steve calls your "best-fit clients".

Note that trust and fit are key factors in the success of referrals. Steve discussed how referral-based selling is a three-way relationship, with a Seller, a Buyer, and the Referrer. All three are volunteers, and the referral has to be a "win" for all three or it will go nowhere.

Steve mentioned that the Referral Academy has an upcoming course on "Networking for Champions" beginning May 21. A champion is someone who will not only refer you to a potential client (or employer) but will be a supporter before, during, and after the connection is made. I've talked about the importance of weak ties in networking, but this is a time when strong ties are essential. Steve can help you build stronger champions in your network.

Here is a brief course description:

“Networking for Champions” teaches students to identify, attract and cultivate champions that are in the best position to refer them into good-fit opportunities. This course will help them develop a personally tailored referral marketing plan that is more comfortable, more strategic, and which yields better results than using scripted referral tactics, joining affinity groups, or attending broad-based networking events.

The course will entail five 3-hour classes. Tuition is $2,500 per student.

Students: The course is designed for those who have the responsibility of developing new business. Typically the students are busy delivering their service and are not having enough of the right conversations with the right people in order to move their business forward in the manner they desire. They are in need of a strategic plan to develop better, more effective relationships and they want to put their prospecting time to best use.

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