This is a guest post by Andy Lopata, Business Networking StrategistWe our pleased to welcome him to our panel of experts for Social Media Week London.

This article is part of our series for Social Media Week London. Read all the posts in this series.

Last week a client told me how something I said in one of my workshops indirectly led to his departure from his position at the time.

Well, that left me curious. So I inquired further.

Apparently, in a referrals strategy session he had attended I had asked the question, “Are you more likely to refer someone who visibly believes in the company and the product or service they advance?”

The feedback from the crowd—a resounding … YES! They felt that an obvious passion for the business makes a big difference whether they’ll refer a business or not.

After the session my client was approached by a close colleague who simply said, “You don’t believe in this company, do you?”

At that point, his mind was set on a change.

How can you tell if someone is passionate about their business — what does it look like?

Many speakers and authors will talk about the importance of passion in business, including me, but sometimes that can be a hard concept to grasp when the business is not yours. If you’re in a sales role in someone else’s business, how can you be passionate about their services, when you may well be offering something else next week?

That belief can make a huge difference to whether people buy from you or recommend you though, as the responses during my workshop indicated.

On the same day as my meeting with my client, the team from the global community Sandbox were holding a “superpower” brainstorming session in New York. The session was facilitated by Mathias Vestergaard, who asked the group to share a time when they met someone who was very passionate. What happened and what did they look like?

Niamh Hughes from Sandbox shared the results of their discussions on Facebook, and it was very interesting to see their perceptions of passion represented in the following diagram:

When you talk about your business and the products or services you are selling, how passionate are you? Does your face light up when talking about work? Are you smiling? Are you full of energy? Is your voice full of purpose?

If not, then others may not feel that you believe in what you are doing and what you are saying.

And if you don’t believe, then why should anyone else?

Think of the most passionate people you know in business. What do they do to stand out from the crowd? And what can you learn from them? Tell us in the comments below!

Constant Contact’s Social Media Week London event on Thursday is sold out, but you can watch via this livestream link.

Labelled “Mr Network” by The Sun, Andy Lopata was called one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists by the Financial Times. Andy is the author of three books on networking, as well as a blogger for The Huffington Post and NatWest Business Sense. Andy’s second book “…and Death Came Third!” reached number two on Amazon on launch, while his third book “Recommended: How to Sell Through Networking and Referrals” reached number one in the business charts at WH Smith Travel shops. For eight years, Andy was Managing Director of UK networking organisation Business Referral Exchange.  Andy has since spoken internationally and worked with companies from one-man bands to organisations such as Deloitte, Merrill Lynch, and Mastercard to help them realise the full potential from their networking. He is also a Fellow and a former vice-president of the Professional Speaking Association.