Sometimes, when you’ve been doing something for a long time, you forget that there was ever a time when you didn’t know this. It’s easy to get impatient when others just don’t get it ...
I had an instance of that last week when talking to my new network group members about who else they wanted to see in the room. Who should we invite to join us? What came back to me from some members were descriptions of their ideal clients.
This is a common mistake usually expressed in a phrase like, "My clients are not the room" or even, "This networking group has dried up for me!" They are getting confused because they are not recognising that a referral relationship requires three people and three intersecting relationships.
To explain this, it's easiest to use an example from one of the people joining my new network group. My group is specifically for suppliers of green alternatives and solutions. So, everyone in the room has a product or service designed to offer an environmentally sound alternative to the mainstream.
Using Dawn, a new member of the group, let's look at the three relationships:
- The Seller is Dawn Walton of Aurora Eco Products who offers completely recyclable paper cups. She wants to sell into independent cafés and takeaways. The trouble is, café owners rarely come to networking groups, but they do buy other products or services
- The Introducer is someone who supplies one of those other services. Let's say, efficient energy management also to cafés and takeways
- This person can then introduce Dawn to their customers, who are all café owners
So, Dawn is unlikely to meet her customers by going networking, but she is likely to meet an energy management consultant. By developing her relationship with the energy expert she will get introduced to the cafés and takeaways that are interested in environmentally friendly solutions.
By sharing that information with us in the network group we know that a good person to invite to join us will be an energy consultant who works with smaller businesses as Dawn will be able to introduce them too.
I think where people get confused with this three-way relationship is that at different times we take on each of these roles. In business, we're sometimes selling, sometimes buying and sometimes introducing. The key to success is to look for networking groups that contain people who can introduce you to your ideal clients.
She'll create a whole range of relationships with others who can introduce her to clients needing paper cups and they, in return, can help each other with further introductions. How much time would that save in trying to access their ideal clients? How much more productive will it be than just having one café owner within their group?
Worth getting your head around who you want in the room with you, don't you think?
If you'd like to learn more about referral marketing then do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat and see how I can help you.