First, Understand & Embrace the Key to Being a Good Business Networker
Great Business Networkers take an interest in learning about others and trying to help them.
I know that’s not much of a secret, but it’s the truth. The difference between great networkers and those that struggle doesn’t lie in some clever tactic or technique, how many people they meet, or how large their linkedin network is, the difference lies in their interest in learning about others and trying to help them. Most professionals are great at letting others know what they can do for them, but they don’t quite get the idea that if you put your energy and focus into learning about others and trying to help them first it will comes back to you. I know it sounds very “New Agey”, but look around, you’ll see that those who excel at generating referral business for themselves also excel at generating it for others, and they all share the “the look to help others” attitude and approach.
Once you embrace the idea that you are looking to learn about and help others, asking customers and contacts if they need a referral for anything becomes easy.
The Art of Asking Someone if They Need a Referral
It doesn’t have to be hard, complicated or aggressive. Most experienced networkers simply use an inquiring approach and stay mindful of helping others (both their clients/prospects and their referral partners). They ask customers, prospects and contacts questions that help uncover referral opportunities, and they let them know that they (you) are a great referral source. That’s it!
For instance, some insurance agents will ask their clients, prospects and contacts if they have any new home projects lined up for the New Year. Small talk – right? If the client say yes, there’s probably a referral opportunity. If the client says no, there’s an opportunity to let them know, “If you do need work done in the future, let me know. I’ve got some great contacts in the home remodeling space, might be able to get you a better deal, and would be happy to help”. When you let your contacts know you can help with referrals, you strengthen your relationship with them, as you’re going out of your way to help them with services you don’t provide. You establish yourself as a referral hub in the community. And you uncover referral opportunities for your partners.
Want a better example, look at the top selling real estate professionals. The vast majority of their business comes through referral. They’ve learned just how powerful it can be to ask clients and contacts the right questions, and then let them know they might be able to help if they need ANYTHING. All it really takes is a willingness to engage and chat with your customers and contacts, ask them questions about what’s going on in their lives, find out what they are in need of, try to help them and let them know you might be able to help with a good referral.