Would you like to accelerate your networking success? Pay attention. . . Here’s an important key!
Make is a priority to put helping and giving to others ahead of taking and receiving for yourself. In other words – first and foremost – be a giver of referrals. Receiving referrals comes after the relationship between you and your networking friends is on solid ground.
There are basically 2 kinds of business networking referrals you can give:
1. Non-Qualified Referrals – Welcome to the Twilight Zone! Non-Qualified referrals or business leads often come as a last minute effort to give a lead at the meeting because the member forgot to focus on looking for leads for other members until the last minute. They are casual or random referrals. It’s usually just a name and maybe a phone number with no previous contact. . . just a name. It’s like a cold call. These leads are usually “time-wasters!” If you mention the person’s name that it came from, they may or may not know them. These kind of referrals are pretty much worthless, low quality and rarily work out.
Remember. . . referral “quality” always beats “quantity!”
2. Qualified Referrals – Bingo! These are the kind of leads that everyone treasures. These referrals come from people who are on top of the networking game. They are players. They have taken the time to meet with or call the person they are referring, have asked permission to give their name to someone who can help and have given them the name of the person to whom they will give the referral. Sometimes they will set up a get-acquainted meeting, make the introduction and leave to let you both discover how you can help each other.
Qualified referrals come from one-on-one collaboration with others in your network. People who give them are the ones who have taken the time necessary to build a solid relationship with people they know they can count on; they know they are putting their own reputation on the line when they say, “You can trust so-and-so. They are someone I’ve done business with (or highly recommend).” The best referrals often come from people referring you to others in their network. They like you and trust you and feel comfortable that you will follow-up immediately.
When you give referrals make sure they are quality referrals; people who have an interest in your client’s product or service and most importantly is expecting a call from them and looking forward to it. Generally speaking, quality referrals yield predictable results.
It’s important to build a strong relationship with each person in your network so that they know you can be trusted with their referrals. You “earn” referrals by your reputation.
Thanking people for quality referrals one-on-one is great. Recognizing them for referrals in public is much better; one-to-many. Appreciation is a powerful motivation. Another way to acknowlege someone for referrals: As my friend, Bob Burg says, “Play the ‘Reverse Gossip’ game and say something kind and edifying behind someone’s back.”
Imagination is the driving force when it comes to giving referrals. It’s the creativity of imagination – always about perspective – being alert to possible referrals for others that causes you to notice what others don’t. The act of giving referrals lives in your mind. They are expressions of your active imagination. You must learn to “think” referrals. Your attitude about “giving” (not getting) referrals make things happen. Put Post-it® notes in your office to remind you to look for referrals for your networking friends.
Always prioritise helping and giving to others ahead of taking and receiving for yourself. Good deeds and helpfulness tend to produce positive results. The more referrals you give, the more referrals you will receive. The payback is rewarding because you increase your value to others in your network. Your life expectancy in networking expands exponentially when you focus on giving “qualified” referrals. Suddenly you’ve arrived. People in your network notice you. And now you know why. The result? People work harder to reciprocate.
Be clear on the type of referrals you are looking for and let your networking friends know. I love networking with people who are champions of my cause. Like-minded people attract like-minded people. They know what I’m up to in life and rally around my cause. They like me and trust me and appreciate who I am and what I do. And I always remember that assuming someone won’t be a successful referral partner is a hugh mistake. Some of the best referrals I’ve ever received come from those who I never expected to hear from. Referrals can come from the most unexpected sources. This is why you must consistently be alert and listening for them.
Be a leader in the lead revolution. Lead responsibly. 😉 When someone gives you a referral, your highest priority must be to follow-up as soon as possible. Remember to say, “thank you.” IMPORTANT: Remember to keep the person who gave you the referral in the loop. Tell them what happened when you followed up. Following up is a vital feature of building trust and reputation. Reliability and dependability are highly valued qualities in business relationships, especially relationships involving referrals, leads and recommendations, because someone’s reputation is at stake.
Why this focus on qualified referrals? Because in the end, what you are building is your reputation and a good reputation speaks volumes about who you are.
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!” Larry James provides “Networking Coaching” one-on-one and to networking groups! Invite Larry James to speak to your group!
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