Tag Archives: referral source

Ladies, Ask for What you Want

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Over the years I have developed a pretty deep network and one of the things that I spend a lot of time doing is up dating my database.  In the process of doing that this week I noticed that my strongest referral relationships are with guys.  So I began to think about that, why are there more males in my strong contact network instead of women and here are some of the things that I came up with.

When I sit down with a guy to build a referral relationship the conversation tends to be straight forward.  When I ask the question, “What can I do to help you grow your business?”  They almost always have a response.   They let me know exactly what it is I can do; “You can help me get more speaking engagements” or “If you do a newsletter it would be great if you would let me put an article in it.”

On the other hand if when I sit down with a female referral source and ask the same question I am often given this response; “I can’t think of anything but if I do I will let you know.”

Women seem to be challenged at knowing what they need and asking others to help them.  We feel that we cannot ask others to do things for us.  After all, have been raised to believe that it is our responsibility to take care of others, we do things for our spouses, our children, our family members even our co-workers.

One of the tough things for women to do it is ASK for what they want, clearly, succintly without guilt.  It is something that we really must learn if we are ever going to be good at leveraging our networks.  Keep in mind, we are not going to ask anyone for anything that we wouldd not do in return for them if they would ask.

Take a moment and ask yourself the following questions:

1.  What 2-3 things could I ask others to do to help me?  If you know in advance what kinds of things your networking members can do for you it will be easier for you to ask them when you are sharing a cup of coffee.

2.  List 3-4 people you would like to meet or be connected to.  Your network members are happy to connect you if you ask for someone specifically instead of “Anyone who needs my services.”  These might be professionals you want to add to your network, possible referral sources or potential clients.

3.  Make a list of the 4-5 people who might be willing to help you.  Most likely these are people in your network whom you have a relationship with.  They are people whom you are also willing to help if they ask you to.

It is important that you ask for what you want, there are members of your network who are more than happy to help you but they will not figure it out for you or take the initiative.  Our beliefe that “If they like me or if I do a good job for them, they will help me, refer me or connect me” hurts us.  We get what we ask for, if we wait for people to help us it may never happen.

Make it easy for your referral sources

If you want to get more referrals from people in your network, you have to be able to make it easy for them to find and give those referrals to you.   They want to help you, but most will not step out of their comfort zone to make it happen,

Here are 5 things to help you start the process of making it easy;

1. What should I listen for? I am with people all of the time, and many of them are complaining about something, or sharing great news, or contemplating a decision. Each of these conversations present opportunities to develop referrals for you.

2. What visual clue might I see that would lead me to recommend or refer you? Are there things that are common to signals that a person might need you? Such as someone who’s car has a dent in it and you are an auto body shop owner.

3. Are there things that I might see that would help me recognize someone as your target market? Like a motor cycle or boat in a drive way for the insurance agent.

4. What kind of things might be happening that would lead me to believe that someone is in the market for your services? A child being born, and child going to college, or a new business that just opened?

5. Is there an activity that you clients often engage in? Such as running in mini-marathons, jogging, bike riding, working out, skiing, or any number of activities that would help me identify our clients?

The more you can paint a picture for your network members the easier it is going to be for them to help you. Unfortunately, this means that you have to give some thought to what and who you are looking for as clients. Anybody or everybody will not be as effective. Profile you clients and teach your network members how to spot the clues.

Women are Natural Networkers

I have spent years networking with both men and women.  In that time I have noticed a lot of difference between how the two sexes network.  I have come to realize that Women  are really very natural networkers.

Building a strong network requires that you nurture the relationships that you have developed.  Women are very good at nurturing, they stop to do those little things that make others feel special.  They remember birthdays, they send cards, the give referrals and connections to others, and they volunteer to help whenever possible.

Women tend to be good listeners,  one of the most important traits of good networkers.  So they often hear the needs of others and seek to connect them to people who can fill those needs.  Acting as a matchmaker between the two.

Women understand and operate under the philosophy of givers gain naturally. They understand the old adage that it is better to give than to receive.  They are quick to give to others, they are quick to help, they are more than willing to introduce two people and help them to connect.

If you want to have a strong referral source in your network, ask a woman, she’s a natural.

If Referrals are Important, Why are they Random?

I am always interested in learning how people generate referrals for their business.  So, when I am networking I will ask the people I meet the following questions;  How much of your business is  by referral and the response is often 50% or more.  That always leads me to my next question, do you have a tracking system or is that a good guess?  It is usually just a guess.

For most networkers, referrals are completely random and go something like this:

If someone calls me up and ask me if I know someone who can help them, and if I can remember if I know someone who can help them and if I can find the number of that person and give it to the person who just called me, and if they will pick up the phone and call the person I recommended, then they got a referral!  The average networker is very excited because they believe that their network is working.  But it is completely random and reactive.

Do you have a system for generating referrals?  If referrals are important to your business, shouldn’t you have a system that you can count on?

Shouldn’t you know who you best referral sources are?

Shouldn’t you know how and when your referrals will show up?

Shouldn’t you have a system to track your networking activities?

Shouldn’t you have a system in place for thanking your referral sources?

Really, why are your referral random?

Organizations like the Referral Institute have created programs and software to help business professionals get out of the “If” referrals to developing a system that generates referrals consistently.

If referrals are important to you then why are they so random?  With organizations like the Referral Institute and books like The 29% Solution they do not have to be.

Spend Time Working Your Network

Have you ever asked a referral partner to introduce you to a contact they have only to be put off or not introduced at all? Did you wonder why? You might be surprised to know, that your referral partner did not have the same level credibility as the level referral you were asking for.

I once had a referral partner who boasted a very large database, we decided to sit down and do a little identifying out of each other’s databases. He had great contacts in his database but when I began to rate the level of referral I was looking for against the level of relationship he had with the contact, there was great disparity.

He quickly realized that his network was wide, but not very deep and he had some work to do to build higher levels of credibility with some of the people in his database. You see he spent most of his time networking, very little time working his network. Once, he had done some of that work, he became a much better referral partner.

Having a very wide network that is only an inch deep does not make you a solid referral partner. If you spend time, working your network instead of being out there networking you will create a much deeper network. One that will produce results for both you and your referral partners.

Contacts, Referral Sources, and Referral Partners

What is the difference between a contact, a referral source, and a referral partner?  Do you know?  What is not knowing costing you?

There is a clear distinction between the three and most of the people out there networking today are working with contacts and referral sources, few have referral partners.  What would you business look like today if you had 5 people completely trained to send you level 14 referrals and up? It is possible.

Dan, Craig, Lloyd, and Aaron started out as contacts in each others database, then they became referral sources and happily began working with one each other.  Craig decided to take it up a notch, he convinced each of the others to attended a Referral Institute Program where they were trained to be referral partners for each other.  What is the big difference, referral partners are trained to generate pro-active referrals for their partners.  The Referral Institute, taught them to be partners and took them up a level.  Today, they work for each other in a pro-active manner!