“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
“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 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 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
“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 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 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’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
“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
“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 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
“'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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“"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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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 certainly made a difference on how I normally approach / perceive events such as this. ”
Ann Azzopardi, Category Buying Manager, Pret a Manger
“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

What is word of mouth marketing?

Culturally, we still struggle to ask people for help, yet many of us love to be asked. We’d always rather source a supplier through referral and recommendation than through cold search.

According to Grant Leboff, author of  ‘Sticky Marketing: Why Everything in  Marketing has Changed and What to do about it’ “In every major channel of marketing, response rates have dropped. Buying behaviour has changed from the days when consumers used to make decisions based on the adverts they saw on the television and in magazines.

“If you want to purchase a product or service today, you do one of two things - ask your network for recommendations or search online.”

Proof of the rise of the power of recommendation can be seen in the popularity of websites such as TripAdvisor.com, where people will see what other people say about holiday destinations and hotels before booking. Amazon have taken this to heart, with reader reviews and ratings forming a large part of any book’s success on the site and their use of what other people have viewed to guide purchasing behaviour.

In other words, if we look at buying behaviour, word of mouth is one of the two main routes people go to. That makes it vital for sales teams to maximise their reach through word of mouth marketing, referral and recommendation. A robust referrals strategy is essential to balance the lost market penetration from traditional routes.

It’s well-recognised that personal introduction is powerful. I had a meeting with an individual within a very well-known trade association. A business acquaintance of mine had sent an email introducing to me to her contact, who runs development programmes on behalf of the association. The woman at the association immediately replied to both of us and invited me to get in touch.

We initially arranged to talk on the phone to see what scope there might be to work together. It turned out however that, on the day she was free to speak on the phone, I was delivering a morning workshop at a company based across the road from her. I suggested that we meet in person after my workshop.

We therefore managed to bypass the ‘prequalification’ phone call and went straight into a meeting within a week of being introduced. Talking about this on the way out of a very productive meeting, she said how the credibility offered by the connection introducing me meant that she was happy to meet in person, during a busy day, without a clear idea of any agenda. She wouldn’t have done so if I had contacted her cold. This is word of mouth marketing.

You make the same decisions on the same basis almost on a daily basis. For example, how do you source your suppliers? Whether suppliers for your business or those you need to help in the home. Do you pick up the local telephone directory and search the listings? Perhaps you’ve adapted with changing technology and now use Internet search engines or online directories.

My guess is that your preferred route is neither of the above. Most people feel much safer if they agree to spend their money with someone who has been recommended by a trusted contact. They will ask business colleagues or neighbours whom they use or whom they know could do the job in hand.

On New Year’s Eve last year my thermostat broke down at home and I was left with no hot water. After failing to get in touch with the electrician I had used previously, I immediately contacted a friend who lives locally and asked if she knew of anyone in the area. She recommended the son-in-law of one of her friends, based on the fact that the friend is reliable and trustworthy.

It was such a tenuous link but I immediately felt much more comfortable hiring the recommended electrician than I would have done if I had picked one at random from the telephone directory. I knew that, at least, there was some comeback if things went wrong, a relationship he had that he wouldn’t want to put at risk. It might not be the most rational decision I’ve ever made (although I must stress that I was delighted with the service I received) but it made me feel much more comfortable.

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