The power of referrals is the pivotal differentiator between working hard and working smart! With the latest online innovations like LinkedIn, prospecting for referrals using implied endorsement has never been easier and more effective, and using both traditional and online strategies can drive more profits more easily.
Getting referrals s a proactive initiative and should be a regular part of your business plan. Simply handing someone your business card at a social or business meeting event rarely results in a profitable exchange.
Here are some tips to getting a measureable return on investment from prospecting for referrals:
Developing referrals is a PROCESS not an event.
To make a referral really work, your mindset must shift from “here’s my card, let’s do business” to “give me your card/contact information – and tell me how I can best support YOUR business”. This of course is determined by whether or not this person is a fit for your network. Also, this “shift” in mindset will get their attention, as rarely does someone ask how they can search their own database and sphere of influence to help the other person’s business.
Many of today’s GenX/Yer’s don’t even rely on business cards, but rather electronic exchange, so don’t be surprised if they don’t have a business card, but the process will be the same
Use the power of a handwritten note:
After securing their contact information, send them a handwritten note. The note is short, mentions how nice it was to meet them, and how you look forward to supporting them with referrals to their business when possible. Remember, no one wants to give you a referral until they “know, like and trust you.” – There is an inherent concern about whether you will deliver, and they don’t want to jeopardize one of their top customers or clients, so you must be willing to build the trust bridge which may take some time and some engagement initiatives.
Check them out on LinkedIn:
If they are on LinkedIn, check them out: Who are they? Who do they associate with? Who has endorsed them? Check into their company to further determine if they are a good fit for your own business objectives and if they meet your standards. Check their websites, especially personal websites. We want to be careful when leveraging our database or connections to someone who has another motive to get into our sphere of influence.
Write a recommendation or testimonial:
LinkedIn is a great tool to highlight positive experiences with other business vendors. Use LinkedIn’s power of endorsement as a tool to write a recommendation for their business and ask for recommendations for your services from other service providers that know the caliber of your work.
Check your data base and make an introduction either thru email or using LinkedIn when possible or appropriate that would be of value to those prospects you want to do business with. When done right and with integrity, the power of reciprocity will kick in to return the favor.
Set up a follow up in about 10 days to 2 weeks with an article or white paper that would help them in their business. If you haven’t heard from them, and you’ve determined this person is an excellent addition to your database and business, send them a book with a note that supports their business or a referral partner that would be of value.
If after a few months you have not received a response, you can reevaluate their value to who you are and what you want to do with the connection. Referrals are a reciprocal activity. You would not want to give your valuable data and get nothing in return
Nothing will ever be as valuable or powerful as the personal recommendation of one person to another to support making smart business decisions. Make it a practice to use both traditional and online opportunities to give authentic recommendations to those you know that can support and leverage who you know and what they do. This practice of leveraging your relational capital will ultimately help you connect with powerful prospects that when done with purpose yield profitable results.
Note: For more great information and tips about getting “endless” referrals, read Bob Burg’s best seller- “Endless Referrals” available on AMAZON.com
Bio: Terri Murphy is a communication consultant, speaker, and a published author of 5 books, including her latest with Donald Trump. She is the founder and Pres. of WomensWisdomNetwork.com and serves as CIO of U. S. Learning in Memphis and Email: Terri@TerriMurphy.com. For more info visit: www.TerriMurphy.com; www.MurphyOnRealEstate.com; and www.MOREUnited.com