After more than 20 plus years of business to business networking I have learned it pays off very quickly to set up a power networking meeting and prepare for it in advance with several questions which I have listed below. If the meeting is conducted in person choose a quiet restaurant so you can hear yourselves talk, preferably somewhere that is neutral to either of you and turn off your phones. This hopefully serves to keep the daily business interruptions to a minimum.
I like to start the meeting – maybe even before we sit down saying that ” I want you to know that I am NOT here today to SELL you anything” rather I am here to understand you and your business and what a good referral would look like. This sets the stage and often breaks down the tension or walls what we all put up when we are meeting people for the first time. Then I recommend choosing a question one at a time from the 20 questions listed below and I really listen for their answers. Choose five or six questions then turn it around and ask them to ask YOU five or six questions.
Power Networking Meetup Questionnaire ©:
1. How long have you been in this business?
2. Why did you choose this profession?
3. Explain to me what you product or service you offer to your Clients.
4. Who could greatly benefit from your product/s or service/s and why?
5. What types of clients do you deal with the most?
6. What makes “a great prospect” for you?
7. Where has/have most of your business come from (referrals/advertising/networking)?
8. What are some of your greatest business success stories?
9. What can I be looking for, or listening for in order to give you a really great referral?
10. What are the comments/compliments you receive from existing Clients?
11. Why do Clients tell you they do business with you? Is it price/quality/convenience?
12. Do you have staff or partners and how long have you worked together?
13. What are some “Features” (most likely a product, thing or a tangible)?
14. What are the “Benefits” of doing business with you/your business?
15. Have there been some surprises in your business?
16. Who is your longest lasting Client?
17. Why have they stayed with you?
18. Who has given you the most referrals?
19. Why did they refer you?
20. How quickly will you follow-up on my referral?
By: Laurel Hillton, MCC, L.S.I., LSC