One of the most important elements in making a referral group pay off is to get into the habit of doing regular one-on-one meetings with others in the group.
Why One-on-Ones are So Important
One-on-ones are ultra critical to your referral networking success for 3 simple reasons…
1. They Drive Relationships & Referral Confidence: You can’t refer others in the group, and they can’t refer you until you get to know one another. One-on-one meetings help facilitate real relationships, confidence and one’s interest / willingness to act as a true referral partner.
2. They Create Strong Referral Networking Habits: Referral groups are like personal trainers for referral networking. They give you a disciplined, proven routine for networking success. Getting into the habit of meeting with people for lunch or coffee EVERY WEEK is a key to you referral networking success. Don’t be the guy/gal that meets with 5 people in 1-2 weeks and then stops. Be the guy/gal that makes it a HABIT to meet with one person each week for coffee or lunch. Consistent, disciplined networking routine is the name of the game. Think torteous vs the hair.
3. They Drive Referral Discovery: It’s amazing how often I meet with someone and after talking with them realize there are people we can introduce one another to that may need our respective services, or that would be great business connections. This doesn’t happen without personal one-on-one meetings.
You want to give and get referrals, make it a HABIT to do a one-on-one each week.
How to Get the Most from Your Weekly One-on-One’s (What to do at one-on-one meetings)
Follow these guidelines to get the most out of your weekly on-on-one meetings…
1. First get into the HABIT of doing a one-on-one each week. Schedule a day/time of the week, maybe coffee or lunch, where you will meet with someone, and then coordinate a meeting for that time each week.
2. Meet first and most frequently with those who are you ideal referral partners. Work to meet everyone in your group, but start with those members that are your best referral partners, and don’t just meet with them 1x. Meet with them consistently over time. Many members in groups have 3-4 partners they have built strong relationships with and they make it a habit to meet with those people consistently. Remember 80% of your referrals in the group will probably come from 4-5-6 people, work to build lifetime relationships with those partners.
3. Really look to learn about the person, the services they offer and what makes them unique. Your listening and learning with a desire to HELP them, and as you do you will start to think of people you know that might be great introductions.
4. Try to generate a referral. I have two rules about meeting people. 1) I won’t refer someone I haven’t met for a on-on-one, and 2) when I do meet with someone, my goal is to generate a referral or two for them. As you listen to your referral partner, think about who you know that might need their services or that would be a great business development contact for them. Task yourself with trying to help them through introduction. Usually during the course of a meeting you uncover opportunities to help each other.
5. Discuss what the two of you do to market your business. This is an area that is often overlooked, yet can be really powerful. If you are ideal referral partners, discuss what the two of you do from a marketing standpoint. There are often co-op marketing opportunities where you can multiple your exposure, reduce your cost. For example, perhaps you both have an email newsletter you send out, why not promote each other in it, or maybe you are doing a seminar or local flyer, team up and increase your marketing manpower and exposure while reducing your cost.
6. Discuss How You might proactively introduce one another to clients. This is another area where the active referral networker thrives. For example, if your a CPA and your meeting with a Financial Manager, you might explore a simple phrase you could use to introduce each other to clients, you might work to hand out each others business cards to clients, or you might want to create co-op marketing piece you can both distribute. Look for ways to proactively introduce your ideal referral partners to your clients. Remember ideal referral partners compliment what you do, so when you pass their information to your clients, you are helping your clients with something complimentary to what you do.