Have you ever felt like you've run out of people to talk to about your business? If so, you're not alone. Your company's products or services are a vehicle, but people are the fuel that runs it. To keep it running and in forward motion, you need to make sure there is plenty of reserve fuel.

There's a simple answer: keep growing your contact list.

Your contact list is the lifeblood of your business. Build it right, and it will be a never-ending source of people who are eager to talk to you. In this business, if you're not moving forward, you're moving backward. A growing contact list is the key to moving forward.


The Power of Your Sphere of Influence

You know the drill: your list needs to include everyone you know--everyone: family members, friends, neighbors, business associates, professionals, business owners, teachers, the soccer coach, the dog groomer, the pest control guy .... Carry your list with you at all times, and get in the habit of adding names, every time you meet someone new.

You don't necessarily have to contact everyone--just get them on the list. Their names may help jog your memory for someone you forgot to add. Even more important, they may be a good source of referrals.

Networking means building relationships with others in your sphere of influence, who can connect you with others in their sphere of influence. Your "sphere of influence" means the people you know on a first-name basis and with whom you have credibility. You've probably heard that, "The average person has a sphere of influence of about 250 people." How do they know this? Because the average funeral has 250 people in attendance. The idea is to get to them before you die!

People like to do business with (and refer business to) people they know, like and trust. Your list should include not only potential customers and business builders, but also people who could be a good source of referrals.

When you show these referral sources exactly what your company is and what you do, it also helps to tell them about your Model Prospect.


Who Is Your Model Prospect?

Have you identified your Model Prospect? I have

The New Mom: This Model Prospect is a college-educated, corporately employed new mother on maternity leave. She doesn't want to go back to work, but she has a lifestyle to maintain.

The Broke Free and Broke: This one is a corporate employee who broke free to pursue the dream of his own business--only to go bankrupt a short time later.

The Successful Discontents: These folks finished college with a good job and high hopes of a satisfying career, only to realize that corporate life isn't what they thought it would be.

The Retiree: Can't quite live the lifestyle he had planned for, due to stock market uncertainty.

The Working Couple: Both have to work to provide for their family, yet they can never seem to get ahead.

Are you getting the picture?

Identifying your own Model Prospects makes it a lot easier for you and others to find qualified prospects for your networking business. Using the Model Prospect, you can teach people in your sphere of influence, not to present for you, but to know if someone they meet or know is a good lead for you--and to simply get their contact information. You'll do the presenting.


Where is Your Model Prospect?

Who comes into contact with your Model Prospect? The exercise machine salesman, health club owner, personal trainer, dentist, hygienist, dry cleaner, realtor, chiropractor, massage therapist, banker, accountant, hairstylist .... These are great sources for referrals. Get to know these folks, touch base regularly--and teach them how to recognize your Model Prospect. They may not be prospects--but they may find ideal prospects for you.

Where might you meet your Model Prospect? At the health club, golf club, mom's morning out, kids' sporting activities and events, Chamber of Commerce events, at self-improvement seminars, business networking breakfasts .... It makes sense not only to place yourself in these locations, but also to get to know people who are in these locations! Again, referrals are powerful.

As you go about your daily business, errands and activities, in line at the bank, at the grocery store, the post office, the gym, the coffee shop or deli, the doctor's office ... everywhere you look, you'll see Model Prospects--and people who know Model Prospects.

As you go about your life meeting people and expanding your sphere of influence, the goal is not to talk about your business, but simply to create a contact, have a conversation, plant the seed of a relationship--to build your list. Get the other person's contact information and follow up with them as soon as possible.

It may be appropriate to give them a business card in these situations--but never count on others to follow up with you: always get their number to follow up with them. Whether with an actual prospect for your business, or a new source of potential referrals, the key to success is to follow up--soon, regularly, and consistently. Don't let your new contact slip through your fingers. It amazes me how often I have enrolled someone who had already been approached before, but the person had not followed up.

The possibilities are endless for expanding your list of contacts--and it all starts with your Model Prospect.


(sandramaggio@mail.com) is a coach, trainer, speaker and
consultant with 12 years full-time in network marketing. She lives in
Palm Harbor, Florida with her
husband and two young children.