Where do Your Opportunities Come From?
posted on July 5, 2009
Most of the people I meet out networking are there because they're looking for some type of opportunity. They're either looking for new clients, a new job, or to further their career and knowledge.
When I started networking it took me a long time to realize that many of the opportunities we're looking for don't come from the places we'd expect. When I built my first company, an IT Consulting Company, I primarily networked because I was looking for new clients. I would frequently target people who I thought had the potential to be really great referral sources. They had a bunch of clients that were in my target market and were in a position to introduce me to those clients. The trouble was that after numerous lunches and other relationship development efforts none of those obvious referrals ever materialized. On the other hand I noticed that I would get referred into really amazing opportunities by people who I never thought could be such a resource.
This is both the challenge and the fun of networking. It's never quite as logical as you might like it to be.
When you're working hard to develop the obvious relationships it's easy to overlook the real opportunities that are coming your way. Make sure that doesn't happen! You need to develop some sort of system to track the opportunities that come your way. Don't just track the closed business or opportunities that work out, instead track every opportunity regardless of its outcome.
What you're looking for is WHO is referring you. Somebody who sends you a referral is probably 10 times more likely than anyone else to refer you again IF you also do right by them. If someone refers you multiple times you really need to pay attention. Having a system that keeps track of these referrals and opportunities will keep you from overlooking individuals who are bringing you consistent business. A system like this will also make it easier for you to circle back and close the loop with these individuals. You may also be able to find consistencies in where you're meeting those golden individuals who are bringing you opportunities consistently.
Once you understand where you opportunities are coming from you can make sure you're helping the people who are helping you, and start to find the unique patterns of relationships that are successful for you.
Author: Scott Ingram