Even though it's old school and not as fancy as the shiny new digital marketing options out there, networking is still one of the best ways to build your business. It’s never too late to set ourselves up with some good habits that allow us to stay connected. So, how can you become a champion within your own network and steadily build business opportunities for you and those around you?
Start by considering who you need to keep in touch with. Who should you be connecting with regularly? Your network is full of potential mutually beneficial relationships, and it works in your favor to take the initiative. If you're the one reaching out, you're modeling the right behavior and showing you’re a leader.
A champion is an educated referral source from within or around your niche. These are people who know your messaging. They may even have influence across more than one niche. They know enough about you and your business to comfortably refer people to your services.
The key difference between a referral source and a champion is that you have a two-way relationship with a champion. So, to have good champions, seek to be a good champion first. In a formalized champion relationship, you both know each other's messaging and you can repeat it across both of your networks.
“Uh oh… If I build a champion relationship with somebody, I need to provide client leads. I need to have actual referrals for them!”
Yes, many people feel hesitant about this process. In fact, that's where plain referral relationships fall apart, because you can't always have good prospects on hand to pass onto somebody.
Being in a champion relationship isn’t about constantly exchanging direct referrals. That's unrealistic.
Instead, start small by developing a list of potential champions. To begin with, you might identify one person per niche who you know well enough.
Start with those people and make a goal for yourself to practice having champion conversations with one or two of them over the next few weeks.
Once you've had the first few conversations, make sure you set aside champion time each month where you say:
“OK, these three are on my champion list. What should I be doing for them this month?”
This could be as simple as:
Once you start, momentum will carry you through. Start small and you won’t get overwhelmed.
In order to have good champions, we need to first be a good champion. That means doing something to champion them FIRST before asking them to champion you in return. Lead with that, and your connections will eagerly seek to return the favour. And from here? A valuable champion referral network grows!
With more and more connections actively championing you in the community, you will find yourself with more opportunities. Building champions will help you accelerate your visibility and credibility, leading to more profitability. And the best part? You get to return the favour for your favourite business colleagues!
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Need to do more networking to find those potential champions? Watch my video and learn 4 networking tricks that will get you results!