Who should I network with?

If referrals are a key part of your marketing strategy, then focus on your Key Business Influencers (KBI’s).

These are not contacts in your network that are ‘nice to know’, but people who potentially are ‘advocates’ of your business and are willing to influence the success of the business with referrals or recommendations.

Many business owners have a long list of contacts in their network, usually with the hope of obtaining a referral or piece of work, so one activity we recommend is to rate your contacts from 1 to 5, with the following scale:

  1. Nice to know and have in my network, but unlikely to refer in next 12 months
  2. Nice to know and possibly could refer in the next 12 months 
  3. Good to know and may refer
  4. Great to know and is likely to refer with personal attention if asked if they know someone who offers your product or service
  5. A ‘KBI’ (key business influencer), an advocate who currently refers business and would recommend you by suggestion rather than waiting to be asked if they knew anyone who…

If you can’t rate them as not even nice to know, then remove them from your network!

This simple exercise gives you focus for your limited resources (time and money): Diarise time to speak to and meet with your contacts rated 4 and 5.

It should also be your objective to move your contacts up the scale from ‘nice to know’ to ‘referrer’. If they are not a 5, then what do you need to do to move them up a level? How you do this will be different for each individual, but a personal touch, knowing what is important to them and the application of focus will move your contacts closer to the desired advocate, ‘Key Business Influencer’ status.

See further thoughts in the knowledge base under the question “What is Networking?”

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