I just spoke to my friend Jennifer. She's a realtor and uses my termite inspection services for all of her transactions. I contacted her a little over a week ago in a panic when I got the IRS letter. I asked her which lender had, in her experience, been the most willing to work with someone whose credit was not stellar. This was after striking out with my own bank and several other lenders. She immediately gave me a name and said if anyone could work magic, he was the guy. I spoke with her contact the next morning and, as you know, he arranged for me to refinance my home, at a very good rate, in less than a week. To take such a transaction from opening to closing in such a short period of time is virtually unheard of. I will, of course, be recommending him to others in the future.
All of the money that I make from doing inspections for real estate transactions comes through escrow. While I was in the title office for my signing, I met several escrow officers who have been sending me checks for years. They introduced me to others in their office who were not yet familiar with my services. While it is most normal for realtors to contract for my services, many of them ask the escrow transaction coordinators to do it for them. The folks I met today can be essential in helping my business grow. Lenders sometimes require that their clients to get a termite inspection when they apply for a loan. My lender has a stack of my cards and inspection order forms. We've been added to each other's networks.
So what's the point of this? I met Jennifer through a networking opportunity a few years ago. I don't know how long she's been referring her clients to my lender, but he's part of her network, too. Each of us has our own network of individuals and companies that we do business with and serve as referrals for. Those networks overlap and new associations are made. The escrow officers who "knew" me, though we had never met face to face, increased my own network by introducing me to their fellow officers. I didn't ask them to. They did it spontaniously because I've provided them with excellent service.
This particular networking opportunity came about because of my personal business. Each of us needs to recognize and capitalize on such opportunities whenever they arise. With a business like mine (and perhaps yours) personal referrals account for more than half of my new business. To waste such opportunities would be tanatamount to shutting the door in a potential client's face.
Labels: business, friends, networking, work