Following yesterday’s great tips, here are seven more ways to generate more referrals when networking.
8. Join a networking club
There are many networking or business clubs around that exist to refer businesses to each other. Make sure you choose a group which has people well connected to your market.
9. Stay in touch with people
To generate a referral means you need to be top of mind when your referral source spots an opportunity for you. The only way to be “top of mind” is to be spend time and effort regularly talking with people in your network. If you’re connected to them on social media, it’s easier to stay on top of mind as people will see your status updates and tweets. You could also send them articles, postcards, a regular newsletter or tips…
10. Keep in touch with your peers
Your peers can often be a valuable source of referrals. For example, I’ve become very friendly with another business coach on Twitter. What happened when I was conflicted out of a very juicy assignment? I gave her a call and she got a new client – I got a commission split. We were both happy!
11. Have visible goals for your business which your network knows about
People tend to be very enthusiastic about goals and helping people achieve them. Clients, family members and friends are very likely to refer your business if they know what goal they’ll be helping you succeed with.
12. Follow up
Many people fail to follow up on referrals. If this happens, it could damage your credibility in the eyes of the person who gave you the referral; which will then lead to fewer referrals coming your way from this source. Make sure you follow up every referral and communicate the end outcome to the person who gave you the referral.
13. Listen and learn about other businesses
This may sound strange, but to get more referrals, you need to be interested in other people’s businesses. Yes, you got it – by listening to what other people are saying, you gain many benefits. For example, listening is a great way to build rapport and strengthen a relationship (vital for referrals). It also helps you identify what the other person’s pain is, and be able to propose a remedy or do something for them which is more likely to help them. They will then be more likely to refer you onto people they know.
14. Don’t write people off by their appearance.
I was in a solicitor’s office reception about a month ago, and a scruffy gentleman walked in. I thought he was probably there to do some maintenance, but he was actually a client of the firm! Appearances can be deceptive. Do accept any request for a one-to-one and always remember to ask the question, “Who do you know who…”
Heather Townsend is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She has just been commissioned to write the FT Guide to Business Networking.