These days, our calendar is dominated by the International Networking Day event at the Cobb Galleria on 7 February. Getting sponsors and attracting participants is a huge undertaking, especially for a first-time event. So, like any good referral marketer, I turned to my networks to help us fill the room. This brought to mind strategies to activate my referral network to help me with planning and marketing the event.
In the new and improved Certified Networker III® we discuss 16 ways to activate your referral partners. These are activities that will support their marketing goals and motivate them to become an active referral source for you. Three of these presented themselves as ways that I might achieve my goal of selling tickets to our event.
First, Volunteering. I went to my Referral and Support Networks seeking people who could contribute to organizing and promoting the event. I was able to secure seven Volunteers to assist in various aspects of event planning.
Second, I solicited my network for sponsors. Sponsoring an event that a member of your network is conducting is a powerful connection to your referral source and is a major deposit in the Referral Bank Account. Deciding to become a Sponsor is usually based on the type of event and the target market it is likely to attract. However, a major part of the decision is the value of your relationship with your Referral Source and the opportunity to deepen your relationship by supporting their goals.
Third, I solicited my networks to buy tickets to the event, not just for themselves, but also for others. That’s where the Inviting comes in. Inviting provides an opportunity to establish or strengthen a relationship with a referral source. Showing that you are interested in helping them is a starter. And working with them to make the event successful for both of you shows them you will invest time and effort into the relationship. Preparation for the event may include strategy sessions that help you to understand who they want to meet and how they want to be introduced. What materials will you need from them and will you work the room together or divide and conquer?
Building a referral network that works takes planning and effort. Utilizing the strategies learned in Certified Networker show up as points on your Networking Score Card and ultimately, in referrals.