Being Specific is Easy!

by Charlie Lawson on May 29, 2013 · 0 comments

Part 1: Business to Business

Two Women Shaking Hands In An OfficeAny good networker will know the importance of being specific when networking – whether in a formal presentation to a networking group, in a 1-1 meeting, or in a general open networking context, being specific will bring more opportunities for referrals and business.

This topic is covered in more detail here.

However, the point of this series of three blogs isn’t to look at WHY being specific is important – but to look at HOW to be specific.  We’re going to start, here in Part 1, with being specific in a Business to Business context.  Next, in Part 2, we’ll look at how to be specific in a Business to Consumer operation, and then in Part 3, we’ll work out what to do once someone says those magic words: ‘I know that person, I’ll be able to make an introduction for you!’

So let’s start by me telling you about Julia, who runs a Virtual PA business; she asked me the same question that I’ve heard countless times before from other networkers: ‘I know I should be specific, but how do I actually do it?!?’

Julia primarily offers her Virtual PA service to businesses – which makes her a Business to Business operator.  The question I asked was a simple one:

‘Who’s your best current client?’

This is a good place to start, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, if we’re going for specific referral requests, we might as well go for similar businesses that are likely to be good to have as clients too (accepting that it may not always be appropriate to work for a direct competitor of a current client).  Secondly, when it comes to actually speaking to the target business, it is really important to be able to provide some evidence of how you’ve helped a similar organisation.

Julia’s answer to this was a chiropractor, so immediately that brings us to the Health and Wellness industry.  Then, I asked her whether another chiropractor would be good, or was there any other profession (within Health & Wellness) that would be good for her. She told me that a doctors’ surgery would be a good opportunity for her.

Then, I just had to keep asking questions:

‘Where would you like this doctors’ surgery to be located?’ – South East London

‘Which doctors’ surgery in South East London?’ – The Hurley Clinic in Kennington

‘Who would you need to speak to at the Hurley Clinic in Kennington?’ – The Practice Manager

‘Do you know the name of the Practice Manager at the Hurley Clinic in Kennington? – I’ve no idea.

This often happens when asking these questions: we may not know the answer to all of them.  However, it isn’t difficult to get the information we need – all it needs is some research – Google or LinkedIn will get you the answer 99% of the time. In this case, it didn’t take long to find out that the Practice Manager was a guy by the name of Steven Hunt.

And with that – Julia had successfully managed to be specific.  A good referral for her is Steven Hunt, the Practice Manager of the Hurley Clinic in Kennington, South East London.

Julia’s problem, in common with many other networkers, was just getting started – and here I want to reiterate the key point: the simplest way to do this is to think of your best current client, and consider what industry they’re in. Once within that industry, think of the type of business you would like to speak to. Then, you just have to ask yourself the questions.

One final thing – at the time of writing, I know that Julia hasn’t yet had an introduction to Steven Hunt at the Hurley Clinic in Kennington. So, can you help at all?

Charlie Lawson
Charlie Lawson – BNI National Director and Word of Mouth marketing expert, whose passion is to see BNI members succeed in their businesses.

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