“I would not be exaggerating in saying that last night was the most well received and successful event YEN London has had in over two years. ”
Jairo Jaramillo - Chairman, London Young Engineers Network
“Andy worked with my business partner and me for a number of months as a referral and networking coach. Our business has demonstrably grown due to the new techniques and skills learned through working with Andy. ”
Dan Hall, Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
“Andy is really engaging and left the audience wanting more which is a rarity when you work in Finance! He is extremely professional and personable and it felt like Andy really knew the topics and had researched the audience. ”
Nicola Hradek, Co-Chair HSBC Balance Employee Network
“The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to run the training in other offices in EMEA. ”
Astrid Huijssoon, Senior Marketing Manager Cross Border Trade - PayPal CEMEA
“Andy, thanks again for making our Balance HK event a huge success. The audience gave you their undivided attention and you could hear a pin drop when you were speaking. I have never witnessed that before, with a room of 170+ people! ”
Maggie Suttie, Chair Balance Network, HSBC Hong Kong
“It was the best talk I’ve ever been to. Loved the content, pacing, delivery, structure. Your message was very memorable (imparting that much information can leave listeners forgetting what was said) and you managed the balance between substance, detail and memorability well. ”
Rebecca Aguilar, BBC Worldwide
“"I was captivated by Andy's insightful and thought-provoking workshop. You could feel the energy in the room at the end. Several people commented that the event had changed their lives!" ”
Miranda Abraham, Chair, Women in Banking and Finance
“Andy certainly made a difference on how I normally approach / perceive events such as this. ”
Ann Azzopardi, Category Buying Manager, Pret a Manger
“Andy’s style suited our company values perfectly as it is very much based around letting people learn at their own pace and be part of the sessions instead of just being presented to. There was a mixture of experience, job roles, nationalities and seniority in the room and Andy ensured that everyone felt this training was directed at them, such is his way with words. ”
Robert Kenward, Global Development Director, Banks Sadler
“The process to gaining the right referrals does not happen overnight, but executing Andy’s strategy into your daily business routine will lead to referral success. ”
Tom Price LLB DipPFS Hodgson Wealth Management
“Andy's enthusiastic and interactive presentation at our National conference was very much appreciated by all and his series of workshops for my leadership team has been put to significant positive use. ”
Shona MacDonald, Business Director UK & Ireland, Wound Care. Molnlycke Health Care
“I found the session with Andy really interesting and helpful. It offered a different perspective to development sessions I have been to before and it made me really think about how I was positioning myself at work and what I needed to be doing differently. ”
Tori Henderson, Senior Public Policy Manager HSBC
“Andy has a can do and flexible attitude and is happy to develop and shape the content in line with the clients changing needs. Feedback from participants on Andy's workshops has been consistently very positive. ”
Una Murphy, Manager BBC Careerlink
“At each stage of the event from planning to delivery to follow up, Andy’s approach was extremely impressive. He spent time at the outset understanding us, the way we work and our key objectives and this continued with discussions with us in the run up to the event to shape the session to our needs. ”
Andrew Kelly, Director Human Capital Services, BDO llp
“Andy Lopata is a true role model for any aspiring professional speaker in my view ”
Heather Townsend, author of The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking
“It is great to work with a speaker like Andy who really wants to understand the audience he speaks to and tailors his content to them. ”
Galina Lebedeva, Education & Events Senior Co-ordinator, Wella UK & Ireland
“As a direct result of Andy’s workshop, we are now implementing a “networking strategy” that is aligned to supporting our key business goal. Andy’s advice/insights have made me re-think all my customer interactions and even in the short term I am getting results. ”
Adam Newman, Health Outcomes Consultant, GSK
“There is a handful of people who I would consider really an expert in networking, and Andy is one of the few people on that list. ”
Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and CEO, BNI
“'Networking' as a topic can often seem forced... about tools and techniques to 'work a room' or 'get noticed' - Andy's take on it in this talk was so far removed from the glib truisms we've all heard before. ”
Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing
“Andy's 'The Networking Mindset' networking event was fascinating. I've been to loads of networking events over the years which are always full of people who don't quite know why they're there.... myself included. ”
Nicholas Harkin, Head of Risk & Governance at Close Brothers Retail Finance
“There are many motivational speakers on the circuit who leave behind them just a short lived glow and then there are the subject matter pragmatic, passionate presenters who can potentially change the long term way their audience thinks or operates. I’d put Andy Lopata in the latter category. ”
Trevor Salomon – Director, Corporate Marketing, IFS
“The feedback we received from members was overwhelmingly positive, making it one of the best sessions we had all year. ”
Aileen Parsons, Relationship Manager - Strategic Client Services, Paypal
“In the three months since Andy delivered his sessions, I've noticed a clear change in the approach taken by everyone who participated. We have already received a number of referrals as a result. ”
Andy O'Sullivan, Head of Sales - Hospitality, Wembley Stadium
“Several people were surprised to find out that Andy didn’t work in our sector as he related his knowledge so well and confidently, which was key to getting the audience to buy into his advice. ”
Suzanne Rowse, Director, British Boarding Schools Workshop
“Andy has successfully elevated networking into more of a strategic arena ...................rather than it just being a "skills" thing. ”
Phil Jesson, Director of Speaker Development Academy for Chief Executives
“Wherever I go, Andy is held in very high regard and I can personally endorse him as someone who is easy to do business with, professional and also great to work with. ”
Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK
“In the pre-event correspondence, you were the most professional speaker we’ve ever had. By asking great questions as you did, it helped to make us more professional event organisers. ”
Jackie Barrie, Co-President, Professional Speaking Association South East England
“I would recommend Andy to come and spend time with any team that wants to maximize the time of its busy people out in the market ”
Tomas Freyman, Partner, Valuations. BDO llp
“Not only my individual life has had a total makeover after I met Andy, as a result of my personal improvement, the networks that I lead are now making a much bigger impact in the society. I can never thank Andy enough and would highly recommend him any time without hesitation. ”
Ruth Lau, Central Marketing, HSBC Private Bank
“Andy is an energetic presenter who quickly captured our audience's attention. The content of his presentation was excellent and fostered lively commentary and questions. We will definitely have Andy back for another session and are looking for other ways to partner with him. ”
Jennifer Rademaker, Head of Strategy Development Europe, MasterCard
“I have already received three emails and two telephone calls from attendees who have expressly advised that as a direct result of the presentation they will without doubt be changing the way in which they network. A huge success. ”
Michael Strawbridge, Head of Member Services, Learning and Performance Institute

The Five Key Elements of a Successful Referrals Strategy

Yesterday saw the end of a nine month referrals strategy programme I've been running with a law firm. For the last session, I asked the delegates to share their biggest takeaways from the programme and for their top tips they would share with anyone embarking on a word of mouth marketing programme from scratch. 

Looking through their comments, the bulk of their feedback falls into five areas: 

 

1. CLEAR OBJECTIVES

A couple of the delegates struggled in the early part of the programme as they didn't have a clear picture of what they wanted to achieve in terms of referrals. Once they had defined their objectives, everything fell into place and it's been interesting to see them move from a position where they looked lost to one where new relationships are being formed on a regular basis. 

It sometimes does take time to develop a clear goal from your networking or referrals strategy. The sheer act of having more conversations creates opportunities that you hadn't considered before. So if you're not quite sure who the ideal introduction for you would be, take your time and test some new ideas. 

Once you know who you want to meet, you can then tailor your actions to that group. One participant talked about the importance of understanding the world of her potential clients, while another stressed the importance of listening when you speak to your network so that you can focus your requests on the needs of the person you want to meet. 

Your public presence can also be tailored to your target market. One of the participants, who is very active on social media, tailored her LinkedIn network to appeal to her new target group and focuses her tweets on their core interests. As a result she has attracted a lot of relevant people who have followed and connected with her on social media. 

A clear focus also makes it easier to recognise who within your network has the opportunity to refer you on a consistent basis. 

 

2. FOCUS

A number of the participants reported that, for their networking and referrals strategy to yield results, they needed to retain a constant focus. In an industry where time productivity is a key measure of performance, it can become easy to put networking onto the back burner, particularly in busy periods. Such an approach leads to a purely reactive stance and to strong relationships disappearing as contact drops off without you realising it. 

One participant said, "You need to be doing this all the time. I have set aside 2-3 hours per week for my networking activity." Those hours may be spent at events or, more often, picking up the phone to people in his network, or joining them for lunch. Another spends one hour each day on social media activity. They are prioritising this activity despite time being their biggest challenge. 

Focus is not just about the time invested but about maintaining a structured approach. Everone is different but the majority view was that you do need some form of formal record of your activity, making it easier for you to track your progress and pick up dropped contacts. Such records can also act as a strong reminder and be built into the management reporting process too. 

Little reminders, such as receiving regular newsletters (you can subscribe to mine at the top of this page!) and tips emails also helped to retain focus and try new approaches. 

 

3. BEING PERSONAL

Probably the strongest area of feedback was the importance of building strong relationships. One participant stressed that the most important factor in gaining help from your network is "Whether people like you". Rapport, he said, needs to be developed and it's important to remember that the power is in "conversation, not presentation".

For another participant, the idea of looking for many 'touch-points' with her network was important. She increased the amount of follow ups she makes by phone rather than email, looks for opportunities to help her network (more of that shortly) and tries to meet people face to face wherever possible. 

One approach that has worked well for her has been to call people in her network when she plans to be in their area to try and arrange a catch up. 

Another participant has taken one follow up model I shared with the group and adapted it to new connections on LinkedIn, with a view to creating more personal relationship from online connections. The model, 24-7-30, is outlined here

More than one member of the group stressed the importance of getting away from their desks and out to meet people in their network in order to build stronger relationships. 

 

4. LOOK BOTH WAYS

A few short paragraphs ago I mentioned one of the participants who has started actively looking for ways to help her network. The example she used was helping the son of one of her contacts to gain access to a closed job board. It didn't take much effort on her part but made a big impact on her contact. 

What can you do to help other people in your network? By constantly looking for opportunities to help others, you will find others more likely to want to help you. One participant said that she tries to dig deeper in her conversations to find out where their challenges lie and how she can help. 

The same person also makes a point of thanking people for referrals received. That may sound like an obvious thing to do but it doesn't happen automatically. She now tracks back to find out where new enquiries originated, so that she can thank the person who recommended her, even if it is not immediately clear who they are. 

 

5. BE CLEAR AND COMMUNICATE

A big shift for a number of the people on the programme was understanding the importance of letting their whole network understand what they do for a living. One participant had never mentioned her work to her personal network before, they really didn't know what she does. Others had similar experiences, their network may have a general idea but no real understanding.

Since changing the way they communicate, members of the group have been able to identify opportunities and benefit from introductions made by family members and friends. And no one reported any negative experiences from sharing their professional needs with their personal network.

Stories and anecdotes were identified as a great vehicle for educating people about what they do, particularly using stories in the news and linking them back to their own experience.

I talked earlier about being very focused about who you want to meet through your network. If you have a clear picture of your ideal referrals, it becomes much easier to communicate that need to your network. The group felt very strongly, however, that they should let people know what the wider firm around them does, not just their own work. People might be more likely to recognise opportunities for their colleagues, but that allows them to get a foot in the door and build trust. 

So be clear about who you want to meet and know your bullseye, but don't take your eye off your target as a whole. 

Finally, the group reported that they felt more confident about asking for referrals or asking for business. In the past some of them may have been reticent when it came to commuicating their needs, but they now recognise how important it is to communicate what you want. Accept that not everyone will help or respond immediately, be patient and maintain a personal connection. But still ask! 

Comments

Very good strategies, thanks

Very good strategies, thanks for sharing with us.

Ellie

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