One of the many benefits of having two business coaches within our firm is that occasionally we swap clients (with the client’s full permission). We have found that sometimes it’s useful for our clients to hear (very often the same thing) it from a different person, who has a different slant on the problem.

Anyway, this blog isn’t about us, it is about our client’s problem.

It’s a problem which many professionals (and business owners) face. They know that networking is the best way to find referrals – after all, isn’t this the first lesson that everyone with business development responsibility learns?

But… They hate going networking.

The hatred of going networking.

The thought of going into a room, and meeting and greeting a room full of strangers and having to make small talk makes them cringe. For some people, it just feels so artificial – particularly when you feel you have to be ultra friendly to your networking group members, who, under normal circumstances, you would normally steer well clear of. Others worry about the fear of rejection, not knowing what to say…

Regardless of why they hate going networking, the end result is always the same. They try and avoid going networking.

There is a solution.

You can still gain referrals via networking, but you don’t actually need to go out and do the meet the strangers bit. I am proof of this. I very very rarely actually now ‘work a room’. Honestly. I have tripled my business in the last six months, and all of this business has come to me via my network. I have a handful of champions who regularly – and I mean very regularly – ask me to work with their clients. Consequently I never have to ‘go out and find new clients’. Cool isn’t it.

Networking doesn’t have to mean networking meetings

Most people feel that networking means ‘go out and prospect for clients’. Why waste time doing this, when you could be spending that time deepening relationships with potential referral sources within your network? It may take a little longer to get a relationship with a referral source to the point where referrals regularly flow – but as I have found out, once they do, they really do. When that happens, and you have enough of these referral sources – or A-listers as I like to call them, then the pressure is off.

You can THEN stop working the room.

What do you think?

Written by Heather Townsend helps professionals and firms become the Go-To-Expert. If you want to grow your firm, and get more from your team, download Leading your team to new heights: Five essentials that every professional should be doing , click for your copy.