Anyone can ask for business referrals, but not many do it well.
With just some slight adjustments to how you ask, those referrals can start streaming in.
Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to think about who may benefit from another person’s business offerings. Heck, we’re busy enough thinking about where to find customers for our own businesses, let alone find qualified referrals for someone else. And when an entrepreneur who asks for your help suggests that “anyone who” (fill in the blank) would be a great connection for them, it doesn’t give you much to go on. Yet many people continue to use those unhelpful words, “anyone who,”.
After many disappointing meetings I learned something about networking that changed the way I asked for referrals forever called a Reciprocity Circle.
The Reciprocity Circle, or Ring, is a variation of a strategy used by corporations like IBM, Boeing, and General Motors. A group is assembled wherein each attendee presents a very specific request to help them solve a problem or achieve an important goal. When the request is put out to the group participants offer introductions and resources, or provide more tangible help to the individual.
Here is the challenge to put to the group: request a referral, not to anyone who, but to a very specific individual. For instance, one of the ways I would typically ask for an introduction to a referral source was, anyone who consults with small business owners on their finances. Phrased in that way, my request delivered few results. But I pushed to dig deeper and identify exactly who I wanted to be introduced to. When you do that you will find exactly and instantly an introduction source.
Revise your usual request (ask), for example “a business loan officer at the Jupiter branch of Bank of America”. Those that have a relationship with those loan officers (the ask) are thrilled to make an introduction. With their personal recommendations in place you will no problem landing a meeting.
So rather than ask for introductions to just any small business owner, be ready with a very specific ask of one or two small businesses in mind and ask for an introduction to the entrepreneur who owned them.
Take the time to think about who is your ideal client or referral source and be very specific.
Be exact in knowing who they are, or what position at what company they hold, and ask people in your group if they have a connection to them.
Do this again and again and soon you’ll find yourself scheduling meetings left and right.
In short, do the homework for your referral partners, don’t expect them to focus on your business growth.
People want to help; all it takes is a little more information to help them help you
I hope you find this helpful