Over the years I have developed a pretty deep network and one of the things that I spend a lot of time doing is up dating my database. In the process of doing that this week I noticed that my strongest referral relationships are with guys. So I began to think about that, why are there more males in my strong contact network instead of women and here are some of the things that I came up with.
When I sit down with a guy to build a referral relationship the conversation tends to be straight forward. When I ask the question, “What can I do to help you grow your business?” They almost always have a response. They let me know exactly what it is I can do; “You can help me get more speaking engagements” or “If you do a newsletter it would be great if you would let me put an article in it.”
On the other hand if when I sit down with a female referral source and ask the same question I am often given this response; “I can’t think of anything but if I do I will let you know.”
Women seem to be challenged at knowing what they need and asking others to help them. We feel that we cannot ask others to do things for us. After all, have been raised to believe that it is our responsibility to take care of others, we do things for our spouses, our children, our family members even our co-workers.
One of the tough things for women to do it is ASK for what they want, clearly, succintly without guilt. It is something that we really must learn if we are ever going to be good at leveraging our networks. Keep in mind, we are not going to ask anyone for anything that we wouldd not do in return for them if they would ask.
Take a moment and ask yourself the following questions:
1. What 2-3 things could I ask others to do to help me? If you know in advance what kinds of things your networking members can do for you it will be easier for you to ask them when you are sharing a cup of coffee.
2. List 3-4 people you would like to meet or be connected to. Your network members are happy to connect you if you ask for someone specifically instead of “Anyone who needs my services.” These might be professionals you want to add to your network, possible referral sources or potential clients.
3. Make a list of the 4-5 people who might be willing to help you. Most likely these are people in your network whom you have a relationship with. They are people whom you are also willing to help if they ask you to.
It is important that you ask for what you want, there are members of your network who are more than happy to help you but they will not figure it out for you or take the initiative. Our beliefe that “If they like me or if I do a good job for them, they will help me, refer me or connect me” hurts us. We get what we ask for, if we wait for people to help us it may never happen.