Giving Quality Referrals
The acid test to being a good networker is being able to pass quality referrals to others. Here are some important points to help you to become a top referrer.
Understand others’ needs
Good referrers take a genuine interest in how they can help other people and to understand what their needs are. Work hard to find out how you can help the other person before you talk about yourself.
When you meet with others:
- find out what services and products they offer
- establish who their target market is – in other words ‘who is their ideal client or customer? ‘
- Establish how you can recognise when someone needs these services. If what the other person is offering is perhaps unusual or unfamiliar to you may have to work harder to understand how you can recognise a potential client for them. When I was offering business coaching some people struggled to understand when someone would need my services so I described certain scenarios a typical client would find themselves in – ‘at a crossroads with their business,’ ‘appearing stressed from being unable to see the wood for the trees’ and ‘employing staff for the first time.’ This made it so much easier for people to refer clients to me.
- Establish what products and services they are looking for as they may be a good referral for someone else you know.
Identify those people in your network who may benefit from these services
Make a note of those people who could benefit from the products or services and others and make a note to speak with them at an appropriate time.
Act upon a need
When you recognise someone who has a need for someone else’s product or service, tell them and ask permission for the supplier to contact them. This way you are ‘warming up’ the contact and turns a sales lead into a referral.
Take their full contact details and pass to the supplier.
Good networkers never stop connecting, whether they are at work, at home or on holiday. When ever you meet someone, find out about them and ask yourself how might they benefit from the connections you already have.
Other good contacts
As well as referring a good networker will look for good contacts and synergies between businesses and in the course of your day you may meet someone who would really benefit from an introduction to someone else you know for mutual benefit.
For example I got to know a great will writer who I introduced to my independent financial adviser and they now regularly pass business to one another.