A few months ago I met a chauffeur in Arizona who drove me from the airport to a speaking engagement I was scheduled for. We talked about referral marketing and business in general, and he shared with me that he has a client who runs a mining operation. He said this client told him that his next big mining project is going to take 11 years before it starts to bring in any revenue! The client continued explaining to the chauffeur that the mining operation is spending the first 11 years of the project doing nothing but digging down to find a vein that will allow the company to start getting revenue from the project . . . 11 years before any money starts to come in!
What the chauffeur said to me next really struck me. He said, “I imagine that digging a mine is a little like referral marketing . . . you have to give it time.” Wow! . . . No truer words have ever been spoken about networking and referral marketing, and not only did this chauffeur immediately pick up on what sometimes takes active networkers months or years to figure out, he put it into simple terms with one powerfully impressive analogy!
Now, clearly, you don’t need to give 11 years to the networking process, but the chauffeur hit the nail on the head when he said “you have to give it time.” When it comes to networking, the simple truth is that it can take many, many months before the “referral mining” and relationship building you are doing starts to yield results.
So thank you to that Arizonan chauffeur who shared with me his mining story and his remarkably insightful comment about referral marketing . . . it highlights such a simple truth about networking that’s very important to remember, yet surprisingly easily forgotten.