We hear all the time that people do business with business owners they know, like and trust (also known as the “KLT Principle”). It is very true! It’s also true that it can be a painfully slow way to build a business. This is coming from someone who built businesses networking. Why? Take time to reflect. Are you focusing on building relationships that are valued and offer reciprocation for each other? Or are you building relationships so that the other party will know, like and trust you in order for them to do business with you?
The foundation that people do business with people that they know, like and trust is great in theory. Reality is, if we spend a great deal of time with everyone… we will starve to death. Think about how long it takes for you to build trust in those you give or refer business to. You probably meet them at a chamber event or some networking mixer. Then you reach out to them within the suggested 2 days after your meeting. You set up a phone call to continue the conversation you started when you got their business card. What really happens is you end up not just discussing business, but you talk about all kinds of things. An hour later you might think…”I like this person.” However, you probably wouldn’t think “I’m sending ALL referrals for real estate to him / her…” Usually relationships are not built that quick. In order to truly hone in on the KLT Principle you must first “date” before jumping into the “marriage.”
Know your audience
Most business experts agree that when you try to push your business on somebody that doesn’t have a specific need, want or desire for it, you have not only lost them but also everyone they have influence on. People love to get to know how you conduct your business and after a while, they like you, they trust you, and then they refer you. If we spend this quality amount of time on everyone we meet while out networking, how hungry will you be by the time you close a deal with them? As stated before, probably “starving to death” and that’s not a good space to be in as people can sense desperation a mile away.
With that pretense, what you really want to focus on is building relationships with influential people. When you’re out there making connections, you can add value for their business and while they’re out there making connections, they can add value to yours. People like giving their business to referrals more than blindly finding someone online or any other way.
How do I find someone with high influence?
It’s kind of easy. When you attend events, they are usually surrounded by many others. This is because they have already practiced and perfected the skills it takes to gain the trust and likeability in their area. This shows that they have a large Center of Influence (a.k.a. COI). They usually network quite a bit and might even hold a leadership position in the group or be the president of their company.
With all of that said, it’s also important to remember something I mention in my book, “Secrets to Becoming a Master Networker” and that is “(Centers of Influencers)” are very seasoned. You must be willing and able to build authentic and mutually beneficial relationships. Trust will not be given; it must be earned. Make the investment and it will pay you dearly, mess up and it will cost you dearly.”