Want even more referrals? You'd better do this too.
A few weeks ago I wrote a short article about winning more referrals from your business networking. You’ll find the article on LinkedIn here – If you want more referrals, you need to do this. I’ve had a few thoughts since which I’ll share with you here.
I bumped into someone recently who told me that networking wasn’t working for him. He’d been doing it for a few months and didn’t consider he was “getting anything out of it”. Now I remember that I had given this guy a couple of referrals into businesses I thought he could work with, so I asked him how he had got on with them. His response surprised me “those really aren’t the type of companies I want to work with, so I didn’t follow up with them”.
Having given out those referrals, this was the first that I’d heard that a) he hadn’t followed up and b) I had misinterpreted the type of businesses he was after.
Now here’s the thing. At the point at which I passed over the referrals, I had enough confidence and trust in him to refer him. I had told my contacts he might be in touch. In short, I was excited about what he was doing and was happy to tell people about it. Had he reacted differently at the time and explained what type of business he was looking for in more detail, I would still have been confident enough to refer him.
So, here’s a couple of things you should do if someone is good enough to pass you a referral.
Firstly – SAY THANK YOU. I genuinely can’t believe I have to spell that out but I’m amazed at how often people simply don’t respond, at all. Even if it isn’t the right type of referral for you, someone has placed a great degree of trust in you, and that’s worth acknowledging.
Secondly, if it’s the right type of referral, tell the person that and let them know that any other company like that is EXACTLY what you’re looking for.
If it isn’t right for you, still make contact with the referral, you never know where it might lead. Then go back to your referrer and explain how grateful you are, that actually you couldn’t help the company they referred you to and then explain the types of businesses you really are able to help.
I’m a huge believer in serendipity and I know that it is ALWAYS worth following up with every referral people are good enough to give you. But it is even more important to go back to the person who gave you the referral, even if it wasn’t quite right.