Referrals: Be Patient!
Do the right things and they will come ...
POSTED BY JACKY SHERMAN ON 29/11/2017 @ 8:00AM
I've been networking for my business for many years now and observed and worked with people from all sorts industries and yes, even had my own highs and lows ...
If you're moving into a new market and looking for referrals, then be patient!
photo by 'rawpixel.com' on unsplash
The thing that strikes me most is how variable people's early success is. Some people just make it look so easy. They start their own business and referrals seem to flow effortlessly.
Others struggle on for ages, getting increasingly frustrated and often disappear within the year with their savings or redundancy money gone.
Dr Ivan Misner, the leading authority on networking, published a short blog post some years ago that reminded us to have patience!"
As he said, it takes time to build the relationships that result in people introducing you. His blog post shows a graph of business generated through a networking group in a study and clearly demonstrates that getting real traction takes time. The good news is the results do come eventually.
At first appearance, this explains why many people take time to build their referred business, but it doesn't explain why others seem to find it effortless.
My observation is that early succeeders have three things going for them before they even start:
They know their market thoroughly and can clearly identify who their clients are and how what they offer is something these people want to buy.
This means two things. First, they know who is likely to buy their offering and secondly, they can explain it to others. After all, if people don't understand what you're offering and who wants to buy it, how can they refer you?
They already have some strong relationships with people who can introduce them. This significantly increases their early marketing reach.
Marketing reach simply means the estimated number of potential customers you could reach through a specific campaign; in this case, through your contacts. The more people you know who have contacts with your chosen type of clients the more referrals you can get.
They already have a track record within that market. They may not have been doing exactly what they are doing now, but they have strong personal credibility with both their referrers and their potential clients. This gives their contacts confidence to introduce them straight away.
If you're setting out to build your business through networking then apply a little strategy on these three points.
Research your market thoroughly and start where you already have credibility. That way you will find you're much more comfortable talking about what you have to offer. You can always grow outwards once you're established.
Analyse your database, address book, social media and your memory and make contact with the people you already know who could help you. Start with those you know well.
You'll be surprised how many people are supportive. If you've taken the first piece of advice and started in an area where you already have reach, then you will know people who can introduce you.
"If you are breaking into new territory or a new market where you presently have no reach then expect this to take some time!"
You will have to establish a new network and build your relationships from scratch. This is entirely possible, but you should expect it to take time, money and effort on your behalf. Be prepared to support yourself through other means while you do so.
And be patient. I've seen many a person give up too early. Remember the graph on Ivan's blog post and be prepared to start making real inroads in your second year in business.
It's a fine line between giving up too early and continuing down the wrong path. I've written two other blog posts that go into a bit more detail about why you may not be getting the results you want.
If you'd like to learn more about anything I've written here, then do get in touch with me on 07970 638857 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
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!
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