How actively do you look for referrals for your contacts and clients?
I called one of my ‘big’ clients last night after sending them my invoice (that’s something which Rachael Chiverton taught me to do by the way) and got into conversation with them (it is what I do).
Turns out there are three things that she is specifically after, all of which I can source from within my network.
So, I mentioned three names to her, told her I would effect an introduction to each, and have now sent three Emails copying in both her and the person I’m referring.
The conversation with my client lasted 24 minutes, I’ve invested about another 30 minutes in calling the people I am referring and then writing the Emails. So an hour out of my life or thereabouts. And not an invoiceable hour.
So what’s the upside?
Three of my mates have got an opportunity to do some new business. That rocks in and of itself.
If my network is doing more business, then my network has more money to spend on other products or services. And that rocks too.
My client doesn’t see me as “just” a supplier now. I’ve helped her out with something she is trying to build and have made specific, helpful, appropriate referrals to people I trust implicitly will do a brilliant job for her. What’s the chances that when my client needs something else now, she will start to use me instead of Google? There is absolutely no downside to having yet another friendly touchpoint with one of my clients.
This opportunity to refer is one of the ways I try to be the first to bring value to all of my networking relationships. I don’t have referrals for everyone, more’s the pity, but when I can I do.
What I think happens is this. Sometimes we are so focussed (and sometimes desperate let’s be honest) on making our own sale, and just concentrating on our own stuff, that we don’t look for the opportunities for others, fearing that somehow that will diminish our chances of winning the business.
You do have to get your timing right for sure, I am making these referrals now, and this is a contact I met around nine months ago. We have only just moved into that phase of our relationship where the conversation is opening up and isn’t just focussed on our specific piece of business.
But when you start to open your mind to thinking about the opportunity not just for you, but for your network, magic things do start to happen because guess what? People want to repay your kindness. Not everyone, but enough of them to make it worthwhile.
That’s four significant referrals I’ve passed out this week within my trusted network, four pieces of business I have helped to keep within this little internal economy.
If you haven’t already checked out our free Facebook Group The Networking Retreat, you’ll be very welcome – https://www.facebook.com/groups/thenetworkingretreat/