One of the questions people ask me a lot is “how do I get more referrals from my networking?”.
After all, that is why a lot of people first attend networking events, firstly to see if there are people in the room who will buy from them and secondly to see if the people in the room know people outside the room who will buy from them.
We talk a lot about building up the Meet-Like-Know-Trust, that process whereby people go from their first ever handshake with you, to having enough confidence in you to refer you to their best client. I maintain that process isn’t bound to time, but immersion – it doesn’t need to take six months or a year to build that trust, if you spend enough time in contact with the other people in a meaningful way.
By “meaningful” I am suggesting that you always give value first in your relationships, I wrote about that a little while ago Aim to be the first to give value, every time.
But there is one thing you must do. One thing which can speed up the process. One thing that can lead to many more referrals.
And that is to put your heart and soul into what you do and the service you provide to your clients, and be demonstrably brilliant at it.
Networking and social media are an absolute gift if you’re working with people and thrilling them with the astonishing quality of what you do and the value that you give. People WANT to boast if they’ve bought well, if they’ve paid for something and been absolutely thrilled with the value they received. That’s what we do. If I buy from someone else and I am impressed, I always mention that on Facebook and LinkedIn, tagging the person or business I refer to.
The thing with putting every effort into being outstanding, is that clients are reasonable when things don’t quite work, when it does rain on your parade.
As well as putting the effort into building the relationships, as well as networking with a passion, make sure that your clients can see how brilliant you are so that they can tell people.
And if you’ve got no clients yet, work out how to get into an early billing relationship, I shall write another blog about that.
Stefan Thomas is the author of Business Networking for Dummies and Instant Networking. He runs The Networking Retreat in Oxfordshire, England – helping business owners increase their ROI from business networking.