It's fair to say that within any networking scenario, a large proportion of potential referrals to good people running great businesses are missed. There are many reasons why ...
The one I was reminded of recently was how often we pass up opportunities to introduce people because we think we know what the other person is thinking or wants.
Here's an example from my early networking days where I assumed that two people (Let's call them A and B) in my network knew each other a lot better than they did. One of them (A) had asked me for recommendations for services that the other (B) offered.
At first, I assumed she'd already discounted B's services. After all, I thought they knew each other. I understood that both parties offered great services so assumed it must be a personality thing.
Further discussions with both parties revealed that actually, they hardly know each other at all, except through me. And, as a bonus, as I facilitated this introduction I realised how little I knew about the services B offered or their background, despite the fact that we regularly network the same places!
I'm not going to beat myself up on this as I know we all do it. As humans, and social animals, we wouldn't survive long if we didn't second guess what other people were going to do. We're wired to anticipate how others will act, and react, to us.
And it stands us in good stead every time we venture out onto a busy road. However if, when we're networking, we start second-guessing to the extent that we make people's decisions for them, we can miss out on opportunities.
What is your reaction to many people's requests for introductions when you network? Do you find yourself thinking of reasons not to introduce people?
- "I know someone like that, but he'll not be interested"
- "I know her, she's so organised she won't need ..."
- "They're like chalk and cheese they'll never get on"
If you're an upbeat, positive and natural giver, you may stray the other way. Ever wondered why some referrals never go anywhere or even get followed up? Were you assuming something like the following without any further explanation from you:
- "They're so alike, I know they will get on famously!"
- "He definitely needs these services!"
- "I know that if they just expand their thinking that they can help each other!"
There's a simple way to increase your success rate with referrals. This is to let the other people decide if it's right for them. Spend more time learning about the key people in your network. The more you know the less you'll have to guess.
If you know them well and want to help them, how about sharing your database with them? Not full details of course; remember your data protection. LinkedIn contacts are a great place to start as these are in the public domain.
When you identify someone they'd like to meet, check it out with them, explain your reasoning for the introduction and let them make up their own mind if it's a good fit. Then agree on the next steps, in particular, giving the third party you want to introduce the right to say yes or no as well. Oh, and do what you say you will do.
Making referrals is easy, but making good referrals is almost an art form.
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.