Business Networking Tips: Get Referrals Quicker!
Nurture your orchard regularly ...
Like so many of my blog posts, the inspiration for my topic this week came out of a conversation with a participant on my workshop this Saturday. She had stopped marketing one aspect of her services about 6 months ago ...
How do you shorten the time between asking for introductions and receiving them?
This was because she wasn't getting much response and had moved on to focus on another area of her business. Her frustration was that she was suddenly getting enquiries for the original offering, but not for her new service.
"I hear similar stories quite often!"
The reason is that with any system there is a lag between action and reaction and that can be particularly long when you want other people to react. After all, they have to get their head around what you’re suggesting and decide how that impacts on everything else they have planned and what they are going to do as a result. That’s very different from simply switching on a light.
The delay can be quite long with referral marketing. The biggest reason for the delay is usually in getting to know each other and to build the trust that you’ll do a great job.
The woman on my course experienced that delay; she was offering a personal service so it has taken time for people to get to know her, trust her and understand her. Now, they’re ready to help, but she gave up too quickly.
This is where the great Chinese Proverb on the image above comes in, which translates to this: How do you shorten the time between asking for introductions and receiving them?
When building your referral network, first look at the trees you’ve already planted. And no, I’m not suggesting you wait 20 years! There are plenty of trees that will bear fruit in a shorter time.
It’s the same with your business networking relationships.
Look to the people you already know, who like and trust you. Who out of all those people is in a position, you think, to help you? Maybe your orchard just needs some tending to give you a good crop?
Then there are the new trees you can plant. This is the major reason to go to business networking events or cultivate new relationships online. This is your new orchard. So, to get an early crop, prepare the ground well, add in plenty of tender loving care and be patient.
What activities can you do to shorten the gap and get those trees productive? Inspire and motivate others to want to help you. This starts with what you can do for them. Your tree isn't going to give you fruit unless you feed it!
Learn about each other both personally and in business. Share stories about why and how you offer what you do.
This shouldn’t need saying, but make sure you are ethical, trustworthy and offer a high-quality service. Check that others think so too. Have a system of constant quality improvement even if it’s just you in the company.
Take your time. Don’t pounce to either give or ask for too much. Do take the initiative and start with giving something small. Nothing cements a relationship quicker than demonstrating that you will deliver what you promise. Look for a small something they can do for you as well.
Check you both can deliver. Whilst success will deepen your relationship, failure may sour it. Make sure this person does know the sort of people you want to meet. Be equally honest in return. If you can't help maybe you know someone who can?
Teach each other how to refer. You know how to spot opportunities for your business, Others may find that harder, not because they don't want to help, but just because they’re not tuned into your business the way you are.
Supply the resources that will help them make fabulous introductions. Check that your online profile, your website, social media all back up what this person is going to say about you.
Be constant. If you only visit your orchard sporadically it will soon get overgrown and disease will set in. A small amount of time spent regularly with your key relationships will pay dividends. Diary in time for these people on a regular basis no matter how busy you are.
Now, of course, none of this will work if your market really has dried up, but don't fall into the trap of giving up just when your labours are about to bear fruit.
"Would you like to know more?"
Want some help in identifying the best trees for your orchard and how to nurture them? Call me on 0333 335 0416 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those “aha” moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forwards. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to work with Ascentiv and train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!