How to create and build strategic relationships that will help you get the results you deserve with your referral network.
Networking is about leveraging your business and personal connections to help you make and build relationships that will provide you with a regular supply of new business. The key word being “Relationships”.
The thing about networking unlike other business skills is that although it is necessary to thrive, it is not taught in most schools or universities. Yes we can all jump into the networking game, join a chamber of commerce, register for an event and order a stack of business cards, but will we get the desired results?
I made the mistake many years ago doing just that. I had always been naturally prone to connect my family and friends to the amazing resources I discovered and I felt great sanctification in helping them out. In addition I was also happy to help spread the word for those businesses whom I felt offered an amazing product or service. So isn’t that enough? Unfortunately after many years of unsuccessful networking, I learned that my networking needs to be intentional and result driven.
How connected are you?
I am a strong proponent of being an active member of your local Chamber of Commerce because they are good for your community and for your business if executed correctly. But the best way, I feel, for you to make the most progress at building and maintaining your client base is with the help of an industry exclusive referral network.
If you are not already committed to a group like this, make it priority #1. Create your own team or get connected in an existing team and take ownership of its success. I am not offering you this advice because I have built a thriving business that I am trying to shamelessly promote, but because I believe that they can be transformational to a business with proper execution.
A successful referral network should be providing you with a structured and supportive environment that connects you with other like-minded business professionals that will provide you with pre-qualified 3rd party referrals, cross-marketing opportunities, mentor-ship in areas you are not specialized in, idea sharing and recognition.
For you to receive the optimal results with your referral network, please keep in mind that you will need to:
- Adopt a Perm “Relationship Priority Mindset”
First and foremost, never ever forget that networking should always be about Building Relationships. Every person in your networking chapter should be viewed by you as you’re highly important, extremely valuable and irreplaceable business partner. You need to invest your time into getting to know them as a person and as a business professional.“All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like & trust.” ~ Bob BurgSince this is more than just an impressive quote but actually a time-tested and proven statement, then realize that when you get to build strong relationships with your networking partners they will become one of the biggest assets of you company. They will actively provide you introductions to their friends, family, and business contacts as their recommended resource in your field which will result in an endless supply of new business.
- Adopt a Permanent “Go-Giver Mindset”
Secondly, your networking efforts need to focus more on What You Can Give as opposed to what you want to receive. There are typically 3 types of networkers that come to mind in the networking world:1. A Taker attends events with the only intention of meeting people and collecting business cards to inundate you with emails that focus only on them and what they have to sell.
2. We may be fooled by the Apparent Giver who understands the go-giver mentality, but rarely follows through on their promises and intentions. They may really want to help you, but simply don’t have the personality or skills to deliver.
3. The third and most desirable type of networker to be is a True Giver. This individual really understands effective networking and follows the Go-Giver rule. Being a true giver in networking is something that has to be learned, believed and applied. A true giver believes that you can never give too much and is ALWAYS looking for connections for others.What type of networker are you?
- Adopt a Permanent “Referral Mindset”
Lastly you will need to adopt Permanent Referral Mindset, but first it is important to understand exactly why referrals are so vital to your success. It may seem very obvious, but if that were so then why do we spend so little effort learning how to master this process? According to one MDRT study (Million Dollar Round Table of Insurance), research indicates that prospects whom are approached through a referral, close twice as easily, buy more in the first two years, and stay with the salesperson or company longer than other sources of leads. In addition, the referred prospects are easier to set an appointment with and price is less of an issue with a referred prospect. Referred prospects are also already trained that you do business through referrals and will expect to provide them to you thus helping you to perpetuate the cycle….An added Benefit is that you become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people, etc.
Avoid this Biggest Mistake
Take responsibility for your undesired results. One of the pitfalls we face when we get establish in a referral network is that we can often feel unsatisfied with our referrals and blame the people in our network for not doing their job.
But the truth is that if your referral network isn’t working the way you expect, you only have yourself to blame. When you find yourself pointing out other people’s failures, it’s time to ask if you’re the reason why your network isn’t delivering. You may feel that your team is not motivated to help you, but have you really looked at how motivated you are to help them? Have you allotted time in your schedule for them? Do you feel that you are not getting the types of referrals that you want or not anything at all from some members? It is only natural that certain members will have a better understanding than others about your business, and be able to provide you with great referrals, but it is your job to educate your whole team how to support you. If they’re not doing so, then you’re not teaching them effectively. In addition there will be some members with whom you work in the same industry and will share potential prospects. This is what we call Power Partners or Power Team which will be the subject of a future blog.
Remember, effective relationship networking might be inside of you, but it’s also a learned skill. And just like any skill, it needs to be practiced and improved on a regular basis. I know from years of experience that your best results will occur by being an active and committed member of a well-structured and implemented referral network so what are you waiting for?
BEHIND EVERY SUCCESSFUL WOMAN IS A TRIBE OF OTHER SUCCESSFUL WOMEN WHO HAVE HER BACK