Advice on successful networking for building business through word of mouth has tended to be anecdotal and based on the opinion of people sharing what works for them. This was one of the reasons for the research we did into efective networking some years ago. We wanted to find the science behind it and that led to us developing the NRG Advocacy Model. The model is all about building your influence within your business network by developing trusted relationships with others who will be motivated to help you.
A basic understanding of how people are influenced is useful when applying this advocacy model to your networking. The leading text book on the psychology of persuasion is 'Influence: Science and Practice' by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini. In the book he examines the key ways people are influenced. The six are Reciprocity, Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity.
Many of the activities you need to undertake for building Word of Mouth through networking are under the heading of Reciprocity. Whatever it is that you want from your network then you need to be doing it for others first. The NRG Advocacy Model is all about developing business relationships to the point where you are regularly getting new opportunities, support, relevant information, the right introductions, testimonials and unqualified referrals. For people to be doing that for you means you probably need to take the lead in doing that for them.
In the course of doing that you get to demonstrate the other key ways of building your influence. You demonstrate commitment and consistency by regularly doing the stuff you say you will do. You get commitment from others by always being clear about what you want. You provide social proof to others by working this way and by introducing them to other people you do business with. It makes sense to build relationships with people you like as per the old phrase "people do business with people they know, like and trust". By being clear about your your target market and proposition and sharing your stories you build your reputation as THE expert in your niche. When someone comes across a problem that you can solve your authority and scarcity are demonstrated when your contact says, "I will introduce you to ...... They really are the best for this!"
Do you have a plan yet for building your influence and route to market through your network?