Why You’re Not Getting the Referrals You Want
Looking back over my recent experiences, I’ve noticed something important: people that I had a strong connection with were my best sources of referrals.
This may seem obvious, but many people don’t seem to realize this. Many, if not most, people look at “networking” as a high-volume process of exchanging business cards with as many individuals as humanly possible.
While quantity is important, quality is critical too. And many networkers neglect the quality of their contacts, focusing instead on just meeting tons of people with little strategy beyond that.
“Quality” when it comes to networking means cultivating a strong rapport and connection with someone.
It’s that relationship that has real value: the trust, comfort, familiarity, and confidence that someone has for you as a reliable and high-quality service provider.
If you can develop a good relationship with someone, that person will eagerly recommend others to you. And vice versa–you will have a friend who is a trustworthy and valuable resource that you can refer others to.
This generates much more business over time than saying “Oh you do social media? Cool… if I think of anyone who needs your service, I’ll let you know.”
That never happens.
Meeting tons of people is great. And if you are just starting out in building your network, you should be reaching out to lots of people.
But you can’t neglect the second phase of the strategy: building the relationship.
Relationship building can happen in many different ways:
- Taking them on as a client – even a small client, if you believe this person has potential access to other people that you can serve in the future
- Becoming their client – an easy option, if you have a need for their service
- Becoming actual friends or just being friendly – inviting them to social events, attending their events, etc
- Keeping in touch with them over time – sending them useful info that helps their business, asking them questions to learn more about their field, showing enthusiasm and interest in what they do
- Following their professional activities such as seminars or panels they are participating in, webinars they produce, social media pages they maintain, and so on
Building this trust, familiarity and rapport takes time, but it keeps you on their radar, and is essential to generating referrals.