There are 19 Networking Nuggets that I share in the 4 ½ Networking Mistakes.
This week’s blog explores one of those nuggets…
Good luck as you work towards becoming a master networker.

number-5Networking Nugget #5: Tag-Team Networking
By Tom Fleming, BNI Executive Director & Referral Institute Trainer in West Central Florida

Dwight Davies and Bob Roberts often attend networking events together. Dwight runs a local marketing consulting firm and Bob is a prominent realtor in the area.  At one event, Dwight recognized a woman from the law firm of Smith, Bernstein & Kawolski from the advertising her firm does in the community.  This particular firm has a great reputation around town as really taking care of its clients, of keeping their best interests at heart. 

As Dwight and Bob casually made it over to the professionally dressed woman, Dwight slowly took a step forward, held out his hand, and, glancing at her name badge, said, “Fran, I would like you to meet Bob Roberts of Roberts Realty.  Possibly you have met before?” Fran smiled and shared, “I don’t think so.” Dwight continued, “Bob comes from a broken home and knows how tough separation and divorce can be on families. Bob specializes in working with such families on their housing needs, and all their needs, for that matter, thrown into crisis due to separation and divorce. I know your firm has a great reputation in town as Family Law specialists who really care about their clients, too.”

Bob then took a step forward and shared, “Yes, it’s great to finally meet someone from your firm, Fran. I have been looking to meet someone from Smith, Bernstein & Kawolski due to the caring reputation you all have earned. How have you come to develop that reputation?”

Fran shared a bit of the firm’s history as Dwight and Bob remained fully engaged in the conversation. 

Bob then shared, “I’m sorry Fran.  I haven’t introduced Dwight.  Have you met before, by chance?”  Again Fran smiled, looked Dwight in the eye, and shook her head no. Bob went on to share that Dwight runs a marketing firm in town and mentioned a couple of his prominent clients. She acknowledged having seen some of his work in various local publications, of hearing talk of him on radio spots, and of being friends with some of his clients via social media.  Fran was excited to meet Dwight and asked for his card. Evidently the firm, just the previous week, had let its current marketing firm go. Fran promised to reach out to Dwight the next week to discuss the marketing message the firm is looking to promote and their thoughts on media strategy.

As the conversation neared its end, Dwight shared with Fran that he would love to see she and Bob get together, given that Fran’s clients have housing needs fitting Bob’s expertise. Dwight shared with Fran how Bob has worked for years helping hundreds of people caught in delicate situations like separation and divorce. Fran agreed that Bob would indeed be a great resource. She offered to accept a phone call to set up a meeting and explore how he might best support the clients of Smith, Bernstein & Kawolski.

tag-teamnetworkingGreat story, was sheer luck or superb strategy at play?

It’s always about strategy, intentionally applied.
In this instance, “tag-team networking”.

Let’s look at what just happened.

Dwight and Bob have had a great business relationship for a while. They are confident in each other’s services and comfortable referring one another. They have taken the time to get to know each other’s style, each other’s stories, each other’s target markets and referral relationships.  Each knows how to promote the other; how to sell for one another.

Dwight and Bob also understand the power of a testimonial, of someone else promoting your product or service.  If Bob had approached Fran and shared, “My name’s Bob and I am the Realtor you should be referring all of your clients to,” the conversation would have ended there. Whenever we are telling people how great we are or how great our products and services are, we are selling. Let’s face it, no one likes to be sold to!

Dwight and Bob are masterful at supporting one another. They pick up a guest list in advance of events they attend, review it, and target specific people to whom they each want to be introduced.

Networking can be intentional. In fact, networking should be intentional, because intentional networking is both effective and efficient.

Tom is a master trainer for the Referral Institute® and featured on “Who Can Pass You Business All Day Every Day”, an audio CD that focuses on helping people create referrals, all day, every day!
A thought from the author on this Networking Nugget:
When I am picking who I want to network with me, I first think of my networking challenges and find someone who can help me move beyond them. I am an introvert (which often surprises people) and it takes effort to walk up to people I do not know and strike up a conversation. So, before networking events, I look for extroverts who enjoy speaking to everyone, pair up, and allow them to “break the ice” on my behalf with Tag Team Networking.