Networking: How To Get Others To Refer To You
You scratch my back ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 23/12/2015 @ 8:00AM
I recently talked about going out networking for your network. Unless you want to go out of business fast, your network had better go networking for you in return ...
You may be referring business to many of your contacts but if they don't know how to refer to you, you won't get any in return!
Well, that's easy isn't it? Givers Gain®: "I give you business, you'll want to give me business in return." Ok, maybe there's a bit more to it than that.
I first got involved with the Referral Institute because that absolutely didn't work for me. I gave and gave but very little came back. I had so many light bulb moments about this that I lit up like a Christmas Tree!
Let's go through some of the things that have to be in place for others to refer to you:
They have to want to
Yes you referring to them will increase the likelihood that they will refer to you. However, have they ever said that they would? They may not actually like your style - too pushy or too reserved? Have you adapted your style to match them?
They need to believe you're credible
Are you presenting an ethical, professional image appropriate for your prospective clients. Are they ready to trust you with their best contacts? What evidence have you given them that you supply a great service? Are you currently supplying the local craft fairs and expecting referrals to Tescos. What about your general demeanour? Do you arrive late or cancel one to one meetings? Do you get drunk at business social events or have fights with people online?
They need to understand what you do
And, of course, what needs your client has that you can provide the solution! Don't assume people understand what you do, check, it can be enlightening. I recently asked someone who I have networked with for some time what she thought I did. She thought I connected people for a living. Well I do connect people but she had completely missed the point that I consult with and train business people in how to get referrals. My fault for not being clear.
They have to know someone who has a need for your product or service
My own big Aha moment! Asking people in my network group who didn't know people in my target market to refer me. How daft was that? Choose your network wisely.
I have covered these topics in previous blog posts, but today I'd like to focus on the 5th point:
They have to know how to refer you
In my experience most people don't know how to refer. And because they don't know how, they simply don't! A participant on one of my recent workshops had the courage to admit this. She has a wealth of clients and offers a great service right at the heart of their business and she quickly and easily builds trust with them.
However she felt awkward and unsure how to raise the subject of other needs that her client might have that her network could supply. So who is in the best position to help her find the right words and get past her fears?
You can model the behavior you want her to demonstrate. When giving her a referral, act out what you do, why and then give an idea of how she could reciprocate. The conversation could go like this:
"I was talking to John, who runs a retail store the other day and asked him about how he was adjusting to the new trend in online shopping."
(I know that's what you offer so I thought I'd just see if he had already had it covered).
"He said he knew he needed to consider it but didn't really know where to start."
(so then I knew he needs some help and maybe open to me suggesting someone).
"I mentioned how you help smaller retailers set up their eCommerce sites and then told him a bit about what you did for our mutual contact Joanne."
(I gave him a testimonial about you).
"He said he'd like to talk to you. How about I arrange for the three of us to meet up and you can chat?"
(arranged the meeting)
"I wondered if you could help me in the same way? Next time you're with a client can you ask them how business is? Then ask how they find their customers? If they say it's by referrals, find out if they need some help to get more. Then maybe you could arrange for me to meet them?"
There are lots of ways to help each other gain more business. That's why the Referral Institute actively encourages our clients to bring their close referral sources to training with them. That way you can both learn the best way to give referrals and practice in a safe environment with the help of an expert.
If you'd like to learn more about how The Referral Institute can help you improve your and your referral partners networking skills then do call me on 07970 638857 or click here to ping over an email because getting enough referrals could be the difference between the success and failure of your business!
Until next time ...
More about Jacky Sherman ...
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 a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. 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!
More blog posts for you to enjoy ...