Keeping Track

 
Keeping Track

In your business, you track sales and expenditure to let you know if you are performing as you would hope. The same is true of your networking, by tracking your income (referrals received) and outgoings (referrals were given) you will be able to see that your efforts have been well targeted.

Set yourself some goals. These goals need to be achievable and reasonable. Do not say you are going to bring five referrals a week to the meeting that is unlikely, and you are fooling yourself thinking that way. A more manageable goal is to aim to find one referral a year for each member. In an average group of 30 members, this should be an achievable goal.

I hear people already asking, how can I set goals for getting referrals for people? This is because you are seeing the chance to get a referral as a random occurrence, caused by someone else needing something one of your members can offer. If you feel that way, your mind thinks that there are ‘only so many referral opportunities’, when in fact if you just change that sentence by dropping only one word, ‘There are so many referral opportunities’, you can begin to see things differently.

I do not know what opportunities to refer my fellow members I will meet today. However, I do know that by being consciously aware of what my fellow members can offer as a result of learning during recon meetings, by being open, and listening to complaints, problems and throw away remarks or requests, I am in a referral state of mind. Which means I am better able to spot referral opportunities when they present themselves.

If you don’t keep track of things, how will you know if you are succeeding?

What else can you do to help yourself find referrals? One technique is to have a member of the week. This is the member that you actively seek out referrals for. By focusing on one person and keeping them in mind you will be more likely to find them a referral.

I know it sounds strange but does not underestimate the power of thought. There are many theories about the power of thought, positive thinking and laws of attraction. We all have our own opinion. However I know from personal experience that active thought about things makes them happen, good or bad. A further effect of being actively aware and looking for referrals for one member is you will also find referrals for other members. Just try it for the next seven days. Take the accountant in your group and think about them and finding good, qualified referrals, and watch what happens.

Another method of prospecting for referrals would be to feature members in your company newsletter or on your website. Promotions of this kind are very effective and can generate referrals from untapped places.

Like with all sales, you need to have a target to aim for and a strategy of how you are going to achieve it. It is also important to keep track of results and review them regularly. It is not just by chance that the referral slips have a section for you to retain. This is so you can keep track.

You will see that I have prepared a very simple one page tracking sheet that allows you to track referrals given and received, dances completed, and other activities conducted, to benefit your fellow members. Many groups using software like refur.com have this facility available online.

Once you start to measure your performance, one of two things will happen. Either you will be pleasantly surprised that you are already hitting the target, or, and this is more likely, you will see that you are far from hitting your goals. This is not a bad thing either because at least you know, and now you can do something about it. Like a sales person who knows they are behind on their targets, it helps to focus the mind.

The same tracking of referrals received will allow you to see the benefit of the effort you are putting in. Again, when this is done the results are seldom a surprise. You know if you do nothing, you get nothing, it is truly a case of cause and effect. However, tracking referrals you receive will help you see patterns, allow you to see your best givers and also people who have never given you a referral.

This tracking of referrals received leads to the question of how do you reward people for their referrals? This is a question that only you can answer. Ultimately, the answer is that you do not reward people for bringing you a referral, other than looking harder for ones for them. True networkers give without thought of receiving. If you are giving referrals expecting reward you are doing business, not networking. This might seem hard, you might want to buy them a gift basket or a present, especially if you made many dollars from their referral. Fundamentally, giving for its sake is the core of the networking philosophy. A simple heartfelt thank you, and a rap given in the meeting are all true networkers need as a reward.

So what about the poor performers, those who have not brought you a referral? The first question to ask is ‘have you found them one?’. Secondly, have you held a recon with them? Do they know and understand what you are looking for? Have you given them help in being able to find referrals?

Target the worst referrers and dance with them, learn about them and teach them about you, make an effort to get to know them, activate your relationship. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link, so by giving people the knowledge they need they are more able to find you a referral.

You should also put a dollar value on the business you get from and give. When you give a referral, ask a few weeks later (as you will be anyway) how the referral worked out and what sort of value it became. By keeping track of your effort, you will be able to know you are making a difference and finding the right quality of referrals. By tracking incoming referrals, you will be able to calculate your hourly networking rate, so you know your efforts are worthwhile.

Your hourly networking rate is the amount you earn as a result of activities. As with all your business activity, you should keep track of time spent actively thinking about or conducting networking activity. Keep track of the cost of this activity (meeting fees, membership, travel costs to meetings and dances). By doing so, you will know if your activity is profitable and you will be able to see the amount you are earning being an active networker.

It might sound strange to talk about results, profit, and rewards, but like in any business your fellow members do not want you to make a loss by helping others, they want you to succeed, and grow. In every aspect of business, keeping track of results is essential to allow you to gain the big picture. It is the same with networking, if you do not record and measure activity, you will never know if your participation has real value or see the tangible rewards for your efforts.