Turns out, to get people to recommend you, you need to recommend them (since we’re all psychologically conditioned to return a favour – see Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini).
Focussing on this conditioning, members of many closed networking groups tell the room what they do and who they’re looking for and everyone else furiously scribbles down what they’ve said, rushes back to their office and trawls through their contacts in the hope of finding a great referral for each other.
But what do you do if you don’t know anyone who needs their house re-wiring; doesn’t have a house to sell or let; hasn’t considered the legal implications of dying without a will or isn’t planning a holiday ? You cold call.
You hit the ‘phone. You’ve had the call, you know the procedure – first ask a question that can only be answered by a ‘yes’ (Are you looking for more clients ? Could you handle more business ? I’m looking for a life coach with availability, is that you ?) and, because of our conditioning, the person on the other end is more likely to agree to any subsequent question.
So, yet again I find myself caught in a ludicrous contradiction. I network because I hate cold calling, and yet in order to retain membership of my networking group, I cold call ………. for others.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to just cold call for me ?