This post is brought to you by our guest writer Maria Elena Duron who is once again discussing the subject of referrals and how important they are with regard to building your business. Please feel free to add your comments to this post and let us know how helpful you found the information.
The Referral Food Chain
The referral food chain basically answers the question of “who eats when you eat.” Do you know who you are the best customer for? Do you know who benefits from your success? With Realtors I work with, they’ll tell me that for every transaction (meaning real estate transaction i.e. house sale) it generates jobs for 72 other people. So, those 72 other people would be sad, heart-broken – emotionally and financially, if you stopped bringing in income. Those are the people who can help in your success and be a referral source for you. Why would they do that? Because they are the ones who truly have a vested interest.
Additionally who needs to be in your active referral network?
1. Current client
Your current clients are so important because they can send you business. Normally, birds of a feather, flock together and so if you’ve got a current client who knows, likes, and trusts you and will speak positively on your behalf, that’s a good thing so think of who you know in that category, okay? Who do you know as a current client who does that? If you don’t have someone then chances are, you do need to spend more time with your clients and again, if you work in an organization, it could be internal clients that you need to consider.
2. Past client
Why? Because they can give you great insight into why they loved you and why they left you. And, it doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with you. They can help you tap into networks you may be missing. A good customer relationship management program will help you identify the nuances of past clients that you would like to focus on.
2. Head of an industry association
They can keep you on the cutting edge of the latest developments. They can also keep you in the loop about upcoming changes to the industry and who are some of the new emerging leaders and what their needs may be.
3. Vendor or a supplier to your industry
Because many times, a vendor/supplier to your industry is in great contact all the time with the people that you need to know in your business circles. So if you become better related with them and more connected with them, you have a chance to borrow from their credibility in an introduction; as opposed to you having to build credibility from the ground up. Because that takes an enormous amount of time, versus somebody lending you their credibility by saying, “Hey, Ron he’s awesome, you need to meet with him”. If somebody I know, like, and trust who influences me does that to me then yeah, I’m going to take time to meet and listen to Ron or accept his email or his phone call because somebody I know, like, and trust said that I need to talk to him. So they lent their credibility to him and as a result I took him more seriously. That’s the vendor/supplier to your industry.
4. Friendly competitor
This is a competitor that you can be friendly with. Understand that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You might have the perfect client that you work with and somebody comes to ask you to work with them and that’s not perfect for you so who would you refer them to. If you are within an organization, it might be a competitor to your organization but a friendly competitor. Now, we picture this but they really focus on this. We handle more of the commercial, more of the big business needs and they’re more about small businesses. They may do exactly the same thing but they’re more focused on companies with 50 employees under and you’re more hundred plus over. So it is possible to get referrals from competitors that either don’t want a particular job or perhaps are not able to do that particular work.
5. Somebody that you currently work with
Now, this could be in your organization, a fellow employee, or if you’re by yourself, it could be just somebody that you work with and… I mean, anybody. If I’m a solopreneur and even my drycleaner can bring great referrals because I let him know exactly what it is I’m looking for and he happens to work with professionals who like to keep up a great image and are very good at presenting themselves.
We have employees who have great connections outside. They’re either baseball/soccer moms who’s somebody involved in PTA, very involved in junior league or some other activity outside of the office and they know somebody that we want to get connected with. We’ve just not spent time fully understanding who they’re network is. It never fails when I’m working with an organization, somebody says, “Well, we really need to work with this client”, then all of a sudden they find out later, “Well, our receptionist is cousin to so and so over here” but it’s too late they have already placed the business elsewhere. So make sure you communicate what business you are in to all your associates, you never know when it will turn into a referral.
Maria Elena Duron | chief buzz officer, speaker and coach is co-founder of #brandchat, a weekly conversation on Twitter. Join us weekly as we discuss company and personal brands!
- Websites For Internet Marketing Referrals? | Niche Cash Secrets
- Twitter Chats: A Great Place For Your Brand To Shine | Personal Branding Blog – Dan Schawbel
- 5 Reasons Why You’re Not Getting the Referrals You Want | To be A best CXO
- How can I build a referral source fast at my new job in a mortgage company? | CapitolCareerSource.com
- BNI Blog » A Referral Is a Referral, Right? Wrong