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

Why simply networking gets you nowhere

You can’t expect build trust with people simply by having the right conversation at a networking event. As I explain here, events are just the start of the networking process. Trust is built over time as you get to know people personally. It’s important to know each other on a much deeper level than you ever could over canapés and networking and that’s why meeting up away from events or, in the case of clients, away from negotiations and case reviews, is so important.

One to one meetings with fellow members away from the group are essential if you want to build a robust referral network. It’s only by having more in-depth conversations, both about business and about the individual, that trust can be built.

Meetings don’t always have to be just between two people. I used to attend one monthly networking breakfast where I would set aside an hour afterwards and invite three or four fellow members to join me for a chat. I find that a group of people bouncing off each other encourages a more relaxed conversation than two people swapping extended elevator pitches.

Socialise with the people in your network as well if it’s appropriate. It’s very easy to spot where strong bonds have been formed between people who socialise together and trust is more likely to grow from those bonds.

Powerful relationships are more likely to be forged away from networking events than simply at them. Attending events allows you to recognise faces. To generate referrals you need to get to know the people.

Building trust through experience

Testimonials

While getting to know people on a personal level provides the foundation of a trusted relationship, other people’s trust in you will be elevated by experience of your services and behaviour, both their own and those of others.

Testimonials play as important a role in business as they have ever done, perhaps even more so. Online networks, particularly LinkedIn, make it easy for others to leave testimonials for our services, testimonials that are easily accessed by others.

LinkedInallows you to ask for amendments to be made to testimonials before they are posted onto your profile. Don’t be afraid to use that. If someone is giving you a testimonial and you know they have experienced something particularly relevant in their relationship with you that you’d like others to know about, ask them to share that.

With social networks making it so much easier to ask for and collate testimonials, make sure that they are well represented on your own website and in your corporate literature. Wherever you can, don’t just share the outcome in the shape of a testimonial, tell the story. If people start to understand the journey your clients have been on as a result of working with you, their trust in you will grow a little more.

Feedback

How you respond after giving or receiving referrals can also help develop trust between two parties further. In both cases you have the opportunity to build a stronger relationship, show strength in the way you lead and demonstrate absolute integrity and commitment.

When you have received a referral from someone in your network, involve him or her and keep them informed of each step of the process. Let them know when you have made contact, set up a meeting and whether or not the referral has turned into business. If it doesn’t work out, let them know why. If it’s not the right type of referral for you, be honest. Either give them the opportunity to pass it onto someone else, or even help them by doing so yourself.

People trust you more if you involve them, if they know that you are following it up, hopefully making them look good.

Similarly, when you have passed a referral, keep in touch. Ask both parties how it went and show a strong interest on an ongoing basis.

Being sensitive

When you look at the people in your network and ask whether they have the right level of trust in you and would be willing to refer, be sensitive not just to their perception of you personally, but also professionally. On the flip side, if they know your business well and trust your delivery, how well do they know you personally?

People may also be less willing to refer you if they have a personal relationship with you and don’t like to mix personal and business networks. There will always be a barrier based on concerns about the implications for them if anything goes wrong. Similar issues arise when people are asked to refer to key clients or important contacts.

As well as reassuring people, you must also respect their right to say no if they are not comfortable referring. Also be aware of times when there may be professional regulations or other similar barriers that would prevent them referring, or that they feel may come into play.

In their shoes

If you want to know if your prospective Champions will refer you, you need to get inside their heads. Picture yourself in front of them asking them if they would be happy to refer you. Imagine yourself in their shoes, how would they feel? Do you sense that they would be delighted to refer you, or nervous about doing so?

One of my clients was a business consultant working with a range of large companies. When we worked together he was re-establishing his business after six months without working following an operation. He needed to virtually rebuild his business from the start.

I asked my client about the people who might refer him. We established that he had a number of high-level contacts who were perfectly placed to help him, but he was very nervous about asking them for referrals.

He listed five contacts who would be potential Champions for him and I asked him to place himself in their shoes and look from their perspective, thinking about how inspired they would be to refer him. I then asked him to score each of them for trust and understanding. He scored high on both counts for all five people we looked at.

Feeling more confident as a result, he met with his contacts. He found it much easier to explain his situation and ask for referrals because he knew that they would be very comfortable supporting him. Just one of those meetings resulted in ten high level referrals.

How referrals grow with trust

Any strong referrals strategy, therefore, has to be built on a foundation of strong relationships and trust. The more people trust you, the greater the chance they will be happy to refer you and that soon becomes a positive cycle.


 


 

Each successful referral, where you have kept them in the loop, will build their trust further. Make sure they enjoy a positive experience when they refer you and they will do so again. You’ll see a move from qualified to unqualified referrals and to more and more business from the same source.

So many businesses I meet have people who have referred them once or twice but have failed to establish a positive referral cycle simply because they’re not feeding back. They’ve been reacting when referrals have come in but failing to recognise the potential rewards that are available by being proactive and building deeper relationships with the sources of those referrals.

When you first meet people and the relationship starts to grow they may test you out personally or with small referrals at first. As their confidence grows then the quality of the referrals may get better or the flow gets steadier. As long as you do the right things, there will always be a stronger chance of referrals in the second year of a relationship than the first.

A common question I hear is, “how can I refer people I don’t know?” Hopefully now the answer is clear. If you want people to refer business to you, you have to get to know them first and win their trust.

 

Comments

I found it very effective to

I found it very effective to offer support, service, contacts etc. to my network and its contacts. Extending valuable help in a certain topic or introduction to a certain person, may be long sought after, is very effective in promoting trust.
At the same time, it is important to avoid the impression, that we expect something in return. As Keith Ferrazzi puts it: "Don't keep score!" The return, by the way, will come almost on its own - when the time has come.

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