When I advise people that networking is about building relationships rather than selling, most people ‘get’ it. After all how many of us are looking to find suppliers when we are networking? However, most people still then wonder how do I move from building relationships to actually winning business?
This is the question which the book ‘Recommended: How to sell through networking and referrals‘ answers. It is the perfect companion to ‘The FT Guide To Business Networking‘ which will help you meet and develop relationships with the right people both face to face and online. Recommended shows you how to proactively use the relationships you have built up (following the advice in ‘The FT Guide to Business Networking‘) to then proactively develop business via those relationships.
The book, Recommended, is split into 5 parts:
- Why you need to get recommended
- The foundation of the ultimate referral strategy
- How your network can help you generate referrals
- How to get your network to refer you
- Tools you can use
Similar to ‘The FT Guide to Business Networking‘, Andy recommends all through the book finding and building strong relationships with your referral champions – or as I call them your A-listers. I particularly liked the chapter on using LinkedIn to stimulate referrals. Whilst the information given about how to use LinkedIn is at a fairly basic level and pretty widely available on the internet, 99% of everyone who has an account on LinkedIn would benefit greatly from following Andy’s advice.
What I learnt from the book:
- The difference between a tip, lead, recommendation and referral – and why I was generating more recommendations rather than referrals
- How I as a networker could slightly tweak my approach and generate more high quality referrals rather than recommendations
- The importance of tailoring my answer to ‘who do you want to meet’ -previously I had always said ‘partners in professional practice with HR/training responsibilities’… And guess what, introductions to these folks had been few and far between.
- Why the classic approach, often practiced in financial services, of asking for a referral BEFORE the work is done is typically flawed. This has confirmed to me my gut reaction that this was not the way to go for my business, and why this didn’t work when I tried it. In case you are wondering, it is better to ask for a referral when the work is done to a high standard and your client is pleased.
- To be more proactive asking for introductions.
Whilst I recommend that every networker reads this Recommended, being honest, this book could have been improved in the following ways:
- The layout of the book was messy. The publisher has pulled out key quotes from the text in 2 ways, firstly in the margin – but without using any quotes around the words, and again within the text by repeating key sentences verbatim from the text and putting them in a box titled ‘in a nutshell’. As a consequence my eyes got very distracted whilst reading the text, the page got messy and I got fed up with the ‘padding’.
- The examples Andy uses from his own experiences help turn a very dry subject into an interesting read. However, I finished the book and struggled to recall much from the book. I had to skim read the book again to pull out the nuggets and gems. Maybe I have a low attention span, but (in my opinion) this book would definitely be improved by shortening it and possibly taking out some of Andy’s examples from his own experiences.
If you are a seasoned networker or even a newish networker this book is a must read as it demystified how to move from building & maintaining a network to proactively developing new business from your network.
Like all of the Pearson titles (including the FT Guide To Business Networking) they would benefit from a Kindle version being available.
What this book wouldn’t do is tell you how to network – whether online or offline. For that you need ‘The FT Guide To Business Networking‘
Recommended: How to sell through networking and referrals is available through amazon as well as other good book stores.
- 14 ways to generate more referrals via business networking [part 1]
- 14 ways to generate more referrals via business networking [part 2]
- 3 activities needed to generate a healthy network
- Are you helping your staff network effectively?
- Seven ways many professionals sabotage their ability to network efficiently