I’ve noticed something over the years about particular business people.
Scratch beneath the seemingly successful exterior, and there is something very … small about them. They are always looking for that edge over other people, and are continually in “take” mode.
And the smallness of their world ALWAYS comes back around to these kinds of business people, though it sometimes gets masked under initial waves of success, and perhaps even wealth.
Even when/if they make a ton of money, their world stays small; they can’t seem to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
But the corollary to this is that the opposite is also true. Those who give end up winning in the end.
They build referral networks … and they are a powerful tool for eventual success.
Three Guidelines for Developing a Successful Referral Network For Your Business
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” -Charles Dickens
A referral network is something that forms quite naturally around some people, especially those who pursue that attitude of giving that I mentioned above.
But you can work to build it too, if that attitude is something you find that you have to work towards.
In short, it consists of solid relationships you have formed after years in business. Therefore, it takes time — so if you don’t feel as advanced in this area, be patient … it will come.
A referral network most certainly goes both ways. Because if it truly is rooted in relationship, there should naturally be some element of “scratching each others’ backs”.
Perhaps you already have these relationships in your pipeline. You’re always connecting your people to other good people, and they’d gladly do the same for you.
But whether you’re far along or just starting out, there are a few foundational principles when it comes to building and sustaining such a network. Let’s examine three.
Right Timing / Right Advocates
If you’re asking for referrals right after securing new clientele, you have a timing issue on your hands.
Such an action is greedy and impersonable. And the client will see through to your agenda.
Remember, this is about forming referral-relationships over the long haul, and getting to the point where there is mutual benefit. When you foster these kinds of connections, you win advocates for life. Translation: word-of-mouth marketing and a healthy reputation around town.
Offering Value for Value
When referrals help your business bring in cash, it’s important to return the favor. This can come in the form of discounts (for your referrers) or gift cards — or perhaps something more personal you know they will enjoy.
Give back and do a great job of thanking your referral network. It will encourage them to go out and keep spreading the word. It only adds to the “momentum”.
This leads to the last guideline..
Gratitude is Your Attitude
There is power in asking others for favors.
Think it means taking advantage of people? Think again. Consider who you would ask for a ride to the airport, for instance. You would only ask a close, loyal friend for such an important task. In turn, you would gladly help them in a pinch as well.
The same psychology goes for businesses, and it truly builds relationships.
And after the task is done, remember…
…NEVER underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note. Perhaps it can accompany a referral gift to show your appreciation.
Follow these three guidelines and you’re well on your way to a strong, lasting referral network to help bolster revenue and relationships — the two core components in any business.
I’m grateful for our chance to serve you and your business — and we are dedicated to its success. Which means we are here to help you always enjoy the full fruits of your labors.
Feel free to share this post with any of your business associates or clients you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.
Dickmann Tax Group