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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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How to go from networking to ‘show me the money’


I spend several days most months working with professionals, such as lawyers, accountants and consultants, helping them improve their business networking skills. Very often I am asked by delegates on my workshops, how to go from networking to ‘show me the money‘, i.e. how to win business from my networking activities. (apologises to Jerry Maguire)

It's not only lawyers and accountants who want to crack the code of winning business from networking - I strongly believe that most trainers would rather like to know the answer to this connundrum. After all, everyone knows that when the phone isn't ringing as much as you would like, or the bookings are a bit light in the diary, you've:

"got to get yourself out there"

Firstly, before we even go into the specifics of how to win business from your network, I think it is important to address a huge myth that many trainers (and other professionals) have about networking. They believe, whether logically or rationally, that if you go networking you have to go out and come back with real invoice-able business. In the world of training we very rarely sell a £20 widget – which means that what you are selling is a considered purchase. A considered purchase is one where the price is high and the risk to the buyer of something going wrong is high. This means that before someone will buy coaching or training services from you, it’s going to take more than one chance meeting and a cup of coffee after that meeting, before enough trust and credibility has been established for a business development conversation will take place. So, why do we kid ourselves to make some quick wins with business development from networking?

Now that we have addressed that huge myth, there is still the question of ‘how can I go from networking to winning business from my network’. Or as I have said it before in the title of a popular workshop which I run, from coffees to instructions.

Most trainers win over 80% of their new business from referrals. e.g.

  • existing clients wanting more (particular for associates)
  • existing clients recommending you to others
  • professional intermediaries, such as HR consultants, recommending you to others

With this fact in mind, you may have noticed that the two most important types of people to win new business are from existing clients and professional intermediaries. Therefore, the question to ask yourself is as follows:

  1. Does my networking activities bring me into regular contact with existing clients and professional intermediaries? And are these activities more than just 'working the room'? (Here is a free downloadable networking plan)
  2. Am I putting in place relationship plans for existing clients and professional intermediaries so that I can remain ‘top-of-their-mind’? This is essential to do, particularly when you have no current matters on your desk to deal with for a client. (Download a free copy of a relationship plan here)
  3. Does my network know the kind of opportunities or referrals I am looking for? (For help with this, see this article on how flickering lights will help you win more referrals)
  4. Am I spending over 70% of my time deepening and maintaining existing relationships with clients and professional intermediaries within my network?
  5. Do you know the help you need from your network, and how this fits into your marketing plan? (Here is a step-by-step free guide to writing your own marketing plan, which can help you do this)

When you can answer these questions with a ‘yes’, then you will have cracked the code to how to win business via your network.

Author Profile Picture
Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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