The act and practice of networking – for business or any other endeavor – is one of the great intangibles in life. Networking can help you get into a college, a new job, a business prospect – you get the picture. But none of this happens until you actually meet people.
In the marketplace, the business reason for networking is to get referrals. Ivan Misner is the Founder of Business Network International (BNI), the world’s guru of networking, and the author of a wheelbarrow-full of books on the subject. He thinks people who don’t get enough referrals just don’t know how to ask for them. I agree. Ivan has an excellent suggestion to help with this, and it revolves around the person called the “center-of-influence,” or COI for short. The COI is the connection between you and the person you want/need to meet, and whom you likely met while networking.
Ivan says, “Don’t make your COI do all your work for you. Help them out by asking this question, ‘Who do you know who…?’ and then finish the sentence with a description that fits what you need: your business, industry, product, service, etc.” Here’s an example: John, let me ask you a question, who do you know who buys advertising? …truck tires? …owns apartments?
Here’s a concept I call, “Blasingame’s Entrée Spectrum.”[Continue Reading]