One of the best ways to get new clients is to network. But few people talk about the specific details of how to network, and especially how to network in a way that will lead to new clients. Today, I’m going to share with you a simple system to network your way to new clients without being sleazy and sales-y. You’ll see that this approach really is about making new friends and keeping the old.
The approach is 4 simple steps:
1) Make a list of people you know and people you want to develop relationships with.
I suggest using a customer relationship management (CRM) software like Nimble or making an excel sheet (or numbers sheet if you have a Mac) called “my network” or “networking.” In Nimble you can “star” your important contacts—the ones you want to get more. In your spreadsheet or CRM, make note of all the information you can find on your prospects (every important thing you can find on their social media accounts. What’s cool about Nimble is that it does a lot of this informaiton gathering you.
2) Build relationships with these important contacts.
After you make a list of who you want to develop relationships with, it’s really simple: just reach out to them and try to genuinely connect with them. You can connect through asking interesting questions, figure out what you have in common, or give them genuine compliments.
You can meet plenty of new people, but if you don’t follow up, the relationship won’t go anywhere. If you know how to “follow up” you’ll quickly cultivate meaningful relationships. Follow up with important people in your CRM and develop the relationship by escalating to different mediums. For example, if you’ve reached out through Linkedin and you’re getting along, try to Skype meeting. If it’s going well, eventually you could meet in person and continue.
3) If you become comfortable with a person on your CRM (or are already comfortable), begin to discuss business opportunities and ask for referrals.
This shouldn’t be your only intention in mind, but if you are able to develop a good relationship with someone, there’s no harm in eventually talking about opportunities to work together after you’ve bonded a little. .
You should ask for something only after you’ve established a relationship with someone. Then congratulations — you’ve earned a new friend who you can work with/go out with/get referrals from!
4) Find new people to add to your CRM, and repeat.
You can find so many qualified people through searching on social media online whether it be through linkedin, twitter, facebook, reddit, instragram or anything.
But remember, your goal when reaching out to people initially is just to build a relationship and connect. Talking business comes second.
Test this method out, modify it to your needs, and let me know how it works ! In my experience, this method is a lot easier than people imagine, doesn’t require that much effort, and leads to really natural friendships, connections, and referrals.