The Two Reasons Your Referral Network Is Asleep

I'm in the process of reviewing who is in my close referral network from the thousands of people I have in my database. Being in business for a number of years, it's easy to make many, many connections ...

There are those people I relate to on a weekly basis and those I contact when something reminds me of them or who contact me when something reminds them of me. There are those I bump into online or in person, others who receive my mailers, and those where I pop up on their screen on social media because we're friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter or connected via LinkedIn.

"The rest I have largely forgotten and they have probably forgotten me too!"

I suspect you have a similar network? And if you're in business, and get out and about a lot, you add new people all the time and people ask to connect with you daily. The truth is that from a referral and sales point of view, the vast majority of this referral network is asleep in the sense that they don't relate to you in any meaningful way.

How do I know this? Well if the majority of people you know were referring you regularly then, chances are, you wouldn't have either the time or inclination to read this. You'd either be running around like a scalded cat or, if you were well-organised, sunning yourself on your own private island.

I think it's time for a wake up call! There are only two reasons why your referral network is asleep:

- You've been ignoring them

Don't beat yourself up. It isn't possible to relate to all these people to a level which will generate lots of referrals. Read my blog post about it being a numbers game. We can actually only manage about 150 relationships to any meaningful level.

What's more, we can probably only manage to maintain a really strong relationship with less than 20. A strong referral relationship means being constantly in touch, planning together and actively seeking out opportunities to help each other. Let's face it there are only so many hours in the day that you can do this.

- They've been ignoring you

Of course, people in your referral network might be ignoring you because you've got nothing interesting to say. Some (I hope very few) make a conscious decision because of what you say or how you say it. I'm not talking major controversial subjects, those usually spark a response even if it is a negative one.

It is more likely to be when you are pitching your product or services at them in what they perceive to be an overly aggressive manner or something they just aren't interested in. I recently unsubscribed from a mailing list I had just joined because I was getting 4 or 5 emails a day from that person.

Even if you are not sending out daily emails, others may just be on information overload. We are bamboozled with blogs, newsletter, sales messages and people talking to us every day. Just imagine if you have 1,000 people on your database the chances are each of those people has too.

Have you really got something that will interest all of them every week? Even if they've signed up for your newsletter many people will never read it. I receive loads of communications from people I know - and actually like - that I just never get the time to read let alone respond to.

This takes me back to why I'm reviewing my network at present. Just taking stock of who I am spending my time with and why.

There are my friends and family who I keep in touch with for pleasure and mutual support. Then there's my business network. Who should be in my inner circle? Am I spending my time with people who are in line with my referral marketing strategy? Am I willing and able to help them and are they willing and able to help me?

I'm clear on who is helping me now (you're all marvellous) and now need to look at who potentially could help me if I woke them up. Then I can plan my activities depending on the level and reason for our relationship.

So what about all the other people should I just ignore them? This is where networking both in person and online comes in. It keeps me in touch with my wider network to let them know what I'm up to and to keep in touch with what they are doing too.

Then the serendipity opportunities will emerge and I'll get a great deal of satisfaction from developing a deeper relationship with some of them.

Wherever you sit in my network, I promise not to send you 4-5 sales emails a day!

Want some help waking up the right people in your referral network? Why not give me a call on 07970 638857 or click here to send me an email enquiry and let's see how I can help you review the people in your network.

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.