Turn Your Networking Inside Out

You probably know someone who is a resource for a connection.

It’s a mystery to me why people say they hate networking.

When asked their best source of new customers, most business owners say referrals.

What is the flip side of referrals?


Everyone makes referrals of professionals, with whom they’ve previously worked, to contacts who need someone with that particular skill. We all pass names around our network.

For those who claim to hate networking, think instead how you might make – and receive – referrals to and from people in your various circles.

These circles include formal organizations, such as professional membership associations and networking groups, current and former clients, vendors and partner organizations, even friends, family and members of your faith community.

It’s amazing how far your reach will extend when your approach is focused on referrals, not networks.

Here’s an example:

A neighbor asked me for a referral to an engineer to evaluate the repair work the condominium board had arranged for her friend’s terrace. Because I did not know any engineers, I directed her to Fred Basch, an architect and former client. Fred named an engineering firm, saying the project “is right up their alley.”

Referral made. Problem solved.

The sequence of emails was completed in less than two hours.

Everyone knows someone worth knowing. Who might be the intermediary who can introduce you to a prospective client or your next hire? When there is someone for whom you’d like to do a good turn, think about the people in your circles (or networks) who might be useful to that person – or who might have a colleague who could suggest the resource the contact seeks.

This Month’s Tip

Whom might you offer and whom do you seek to meet? Members of a networking group can provide mutual referrals in an exchange exercise. Each participant writes the profession of a contact they’d like to help on a 3 x 5 card (offer) and requests a person with a specific occupation or employee at a company they want to meet (seek) on another card. Every pair of cards gets passed around the room, so all attendees can see each one. Invariably, a match will materialize.

For example, a grantwriter, who wanted to enhance her LinkedIn profile, learned about a very active LinkedIn user. That referral helped her draft emails to request recommendations from clients.


Let’s brainstorm about the people among your professional and personal connections. Contact me at Janet@JanetLFalk.com, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s consider how so you can make and earn the referrals that will promote business growth for your contacts and yourself.

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