As good referral partners in order to continue to receive the top quality referrals that we expect, we also have to feed our partners with referral nourishment to keep the referral circle complete. Breaking that link means that if you’re not being a supplier you cannot expect to continue to be a receiver.
The big question is, “How can I find referrals for all my friends.” Hopefully we all strategically select our networking groups that we belong to based on our target market, either connecting directly with prospects or indirectly with referral sources. That is the most efficient use of our resources. But sometimes, the available business that we can take to our partners diminishes over time because, of course, you are meeting with the same people at each meeting. (That is a good thing because you are developing strong relationships.) How can you solve this conundrum without joining yet another group?
The easiest way I have found to do so is to attend other networking events that are wide of your usual targets. This way you are quickly meeting a diverse group of people and are probably finding some new blood to help your partners. The best part of this scenario is that doing so, means that you don’t have any commitments to the groups other than just that event. You can still be efficient with your use of time and money. You can attend with goals set to meet people to help a referral partner, knowing exactly the type of prospect needed to satisfy that person. When you have accomplished the goals for the evening, you can leave and go to your kid’s soccer game or just head home to relax. You have accomplished helping your partners and they will want to continue to do the same for you in the future.
Some examples of the above ideas are:
- A business after hours event of a chamber you do not belong to
- A charity gala
- An awards banquet or lunch
- An event with that one of your networking groups has that you have never attended
- A community fair
- A tailgate party for a football game
- An educational seminar
I recently had an experience where I attended the BNI Fall Conference at the Pinnacle. At one breakout session, I sat next to a woman that I didn’t know. She shared that she owns a restaurant in Bluffton called By Still Waters which opened just a couple months ago. She said that business is good but not moving as fast as she would like. I know several people in the Bluffton area and am going to reach out on her behalf to let them know about her business. It will be a win for her, but also for them to know of a new choice for dining out.
The secret sauce to this type of effort is to go alone and then strike up a conversation with someone you don’t already know. Use the GIFTS tool that you learned in CN (GAINS for those Certified Networker grads) to help you keep the exchange going. Before long, you’ll have all the referrals you need for your friends. What would happen if everyone did this?????
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