Creating functional business referral networks is likely not as difficult as it sounds. In order to gain a better understanding of how to do so, it can be critical to understand some very general do’s and don’ts when it comes to how best to act and react to a variety of networking situations and common issues. An effective client base can support your business and make you more money. Effective networking requires far more than passing out business cards or sending out newsletters to prospective partners.
12 Tips for the Best Business Referral Networks
With a few helpful tips and suggestions you should be able to build an impressive network, even if you are without extensive contacts currently.
1. DO be worth talking about. You can’t expect networkers to want to mention your products and services if your products and services are subpar, or even worse, embarrassing.
2. DON’T put people on the spot. You may ask for an introduction or reference, but find a balanced way to do so that doesn’t sound pushy or aggressive.
3. DO remain visible and be well liked. It is easier to refer a business that has a kind and understanding representative than it is to promote even great offerings where individuals will have to deal with a cold, elusive networker.
4. DON’T use inappropriate practices to build your lists.
5. DO contribute to and join in with as many worthwhile groups, causes or charities that you have time for.
6. DON’T hog the spotlight at every committee or business meeting. While it is okay to share ideas, and to share positions of leadership, make sure you aren’t overselling your business, or yourself, with aggressive communication standards.
7. DO show up when you RSVP in the positive or tell your business or consumer network that you will be there.
8. DON’T expect those in your industry or individuals with similar expertise as yours to be willing to be a referral source for you. These individuals will have their own objectives and businesses and are already unlikely to want to share that with another business in direct competition with theirs.
9. DO reach beyond your own professional scope to locate business connections. Managers, educators, salespersons and business owners who aren’t in direct competition may have a need for your offerings and be willing to share that with their own colleagues.
10. DON’T rush into any new business relationships. Take the time to look into those businesses and see what they represent, how well their brand is accepted and exactly how much business they do.
11. DO make sure that business connections run both ways. If your business referral networks are extending themselves to you at their cost, make sure you at some point, in the near future, reply in kind.
12. Perhaps most importantly, DON’T rush or panic. Your business isn’t going to collapse immediately without the foundation of good business referral networks to support it. Take your time to selectively cultivate them and your business is certain to benefit.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture and Referral Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture and Referral relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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