Are you giving and receiving referrals when networking?
Often when people go networking, they have the wrong attitude when at networking meetings. They are so focused on seeing how many clients they can get and are only really interested in new people at a network event rather than building relationships over time which then lead to referrals. As my business is Business to Business, of course I could try to convert everyone in the room to be a client but I know this is the wrong strategy to be applying. Hunting for business is a negative thing to be doing. You want business and opportunities to be presented to you as this is a much more relaxed way of achieving success and is not pushy. I look for business for other people as well as connections for them which might be useful. If someone wants to work with me, I want them to approach me, and not have to chase them to see if they would like to work with me.
The biggest mistakes in not receiving referrals
- Not giving other business owners referrals for work. If you don’t give to others, you certainly won’t receive any.
- Incorrect networking strategy, expecting referrals from the wrong sources e.g. a new business owner who is clueless about giving others referrals.
- You are trying to recruit customers from network meetings, rather than helping others and gaining connections. You are too self focussed.
- Unrealistic expectations about getting referrals. It can take years to create friendships and deep working relationships which give you endless referrals. Know, like and trust is not an instant thing.
- Not looking for collaboration/joint venture opportunities when at a network meeting. There may be someone who you can easily refer to.
- The business owner has not defined who they can ‘easily’ refer to and does not ask for contacts from people when networking. For example, if you are a domestic plumber, you would spot opportunities for carpenters, handymen, gardeners, plasterers, kitchen fitters, etc.
- You may have had a referral, but you don’t let the person who helped you know what happened.
- You don’t value the referrals you receive and don’t follow up, so you have just wasted the referree’s time and effort.
- You haven’t got clarity about what you offer as products and services in your business, so others don’t know who to refer you to. You are also unclear about who your ideal client is.
- Not making it easy for others to refer to you e.g. you make it hard for people to refer to you as you don’t carry business cards or do social media.
- Lack of recognition to the referee. Everyone likes to be thanked for being helped whether you got business or not from the lead you were given. e.g. someone has recommended your wedding venue and a bride therefore books a wedding which costs £10000 and you don’t take the effort to say thank you to the referee.
- Lack of active networking away from network events where you look for contacts/leads/prospects for your networking buddies on and offline.
- Insufficient networking carried out to build relationships. You need to be networking up to 4 times per week. Make sure you create 1-1 meetings outside of networks to discuss opportunities and to get to know someone else’s business. Ensure that these people have a large client base which could be serviced by you or you can add value to.
- Referrals may not be obvious to you. Often people are talking positively about you, but don’t actually link you with the person they think you could help. When this person is ready, they will get in touch with you but if you don’t have a process in your business to check how they found out about you, you won’t know who referred them. Likewise, if you have referred someone but not told the business owner you have referred them, they won’t know to thank you!!
Remember, the main focus when networking is about helping others and bringing them happiness. If you aren’t receiving referrals, you need to look at your own communication, behaviour and how you are helping others. Using the Go Giver approach, may take a little longer, but you build more profitable relationships in the long run.
Within my VISIONary System, the N stands for Networker. I have developed the The Go Giver Solution to help business owners really make the most from their networking and to gain business and opportunities. When I read the Go Giver by Bob Burg and David Alan Mann it made a massive difference to my business and the results I achieved from my networking. My interpretation of the Go Giver is:
- G ive to others and receive opportunities
- I nfluence one and all by being friendly, helpful and selfless at networks
- V alue the people you meet and try to help them. Build relationships and build know, like and trust
- E njoy helping others and finding them work to give them referrals
- R evenue build by spotting opportunities for joint ventures and collaboration
If you would like to know more about how to network more effectively, you can read my book Are you worth it?, I have an e-course Maximising Profitable Connections – networking magically http://insightfulminds.co.uk/networking-magically/, my next Profit Maximiser (Business Essentials) workshop is on 23rd June http://insightfulminds.co.uk/profit-maximiser-workshop/and networking effectively to attract your ideal client and to get referrals is also within my Are you worth it? Group coaching course which starts again on 5th September 2017. http://insightfulminds.co.uk/group-coaching-programme/ There is an early bird offer on now for it.