While most business owners and sales professional know that qualified referrals make the best clients, they fail to follow a systematic approach to building relationships with a network of referral partners that generate a continuous flow of word-of-mouth business.
To start a great referral network, you'll need to be familiar with these three steps:
Step I: Find referral partners: Look for four to six referral partners in regular contact with people who would make good clients for you.
Touch-Point Tip: When choosing a referral partner, it is quality, not quantity, that you're after. Establish guidelines for what you're looking for in a referral partner and what you have to contribute to the relationship.
Step II: Establish regular contact and consistently add value: In order to make your referral relationships work, you need to stay in touch, consistently provide value to each other, and become an information broker for your referral partners.
Step III: Give and get referrals: Once you have built a certain degree of trust with your allies, there are two key strategies you can use to maximize the number of referrals you give and receive from your referral partners.
First and most important is referral training. Teach your referral partners how to find business for you. Most business owners and sales professionals make the mistake of thinking that what they do is obvious and easy to talk about. But people think about themselves 95% of the time; other professionals need you to make what you offer simple and clear, so they can easily open the door for you to their contact sphere. But remember to be reciprocal-learn how to help your referral partners, too. Be sure you can make a clear and effective presentation of what they do.
Second, be a supportive resource for your referral partners. If you are not able to send partner referrals, keep in contact, share articles of value, give an unexpected gift, share your knowledge and most importantly provide introductions to your contacts that can provide referrals.
By consistently following through on these three steps, you'll be on your way to building a strong referral network. Why not give it a try? It’s a fun and profitable way to market any business.
I hope you found this article to be informative and helpful. I welcome your comments and suggestions. If I can help you in any way feel free to contact me.
Taking the time to network effectively is the first step in building relationships that lead to new prospects, contacts and sales. In today's wired world making personal contact, following up and building trust and rapport is the key to standing out and moving ahead of your competition.
Here are 5 tips that you can use to network more effectively in today' competitive business environment:
Always send a thank you card after you've met with someone. Whether it was a sales presentation or just a coffee meeting. If you do much networking on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn. Get your friends mailing address and birthday.
TIP: When you make a connection online, open the lines of communication via a chat or private message. If you have real connection, move it to the phone, or meet for coffee.
Start today to use these simple business networking tips and watch your contacts, referrals and sales grow. If you have any suggestion for better networking please keep the conversation going and share them in the comment box.
Would you like to increase your online marketing success? If so, follow the lead of today's most successful online marketers and build and nurture a list of high quality prospects.
So how do you build a list?
One of the easiest and most powerful ways to build a list of quality prospects is to network on sites such as Facebook, twitter and their different forums and groups. But first . . .
Know who you want to connect with
To get the most value from your online networking efforts, you need to know who you want to connect with. You need a clear picture of the types of people you want to connect with, both personally and professionally. Ask yourself . . .
Create a mental picture of your perfect prospect . . .
Build on this list and tailor it to your products and services. Put your list in writing, burn it into your mind, and most importantly use it as filter.
One key question that you omit at your peril is – What do I have in common with my ideal customer? People need to know, like and trust you, before they buy from you. If you have nothing in common with your potential customers, your fighting an uphill battle, this is because . . .
Networking effectively is a sorting process
Your looking for people with whom you can build a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship. Building a mutually beneficial relationships goes beyond finding good prospects, your looking to create a network of friends, resources, associates and referral sources.
Tip: In the beginning more is better, turn off your critic. As you meet and network with more people, you'll be able to refine your networking efforts.
Use Directories, groups and forums
Meet people on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter by searching their directories, groups and forums for people who share similar interests and match your picture of the people you are looking to meet.
Look for people whose pictures are warm, friendly and professional. Then send them a friend request. Always include a brief note with your friend requests. This will improve your acceptance rate by 50% or more.
When someone accepts your friend request, always send a thank you message and begin the relationship building process.
Your initial conversations will be done via the social site’s internal email system. View these messages as a continuous conversation, just like you were face-to-face in your local marketplace.
Don't wait for others to connect with you. Send out at least twenty friend requests a day. That would be 100 a week. If you only have a 50% acceptance rate, you would be adding 50 online friends a week.
Once you’ve made the connections the rest is up to you. Spend your time making friends, not pitching your products. Make friends first and the business will naturally follow.
Profit from your network
Yes, we do want to convert our qualified prospects into customers.
Your network is more than just business
Creating profitable relationships is much more than making sales . Every person of quality that you meet adds value to your life – that is true profit.
Much of what I've said is just common sense and basic relationship marketing. But I find that for some reason business people go online and say goodby to good manners and common sense. It's as if they've entered an alternate universe. Don't let this happen to you. Start today using the suggestions in this article. If you do, you'll soon find the marketing success that you want from your online efforts. You'll make some great friends and find your online efforts to be both fun and profitable.