When I started my first business, I knew I wanted referrals to play a key part in my overall growth strategy, and I began to realize I wasn’t the only one trying to get more sales through referrals. A lot of other business professionals were trying to do the same thing.
So I thought, “What if I became the hub?” If all the other people out there were trying to do the same thing as I was, why couldn’t I position myself as the gatekeeper of sorts between other people’s networks? Then, if someone was buying a new home and needed a real estate agent but didn’t have one in her own network, she would come to me and see whom I knew.
How did that help my business?
1. It encouraged me to continue building and deepening my relationships with others, even if I didn’t think they could help me right away. Our natural tendency is to nurture relationships with those we feel can help us the most. But the fact is, we never know whom another person knows, so we should take every opportunity to build relationships with all those we make contact with. Bob Smith might not be a good referral partner for me, but he could be ideal for Jane Doe, another person I know.
2. Becoming a gatekeeper had a positive effect on my credibility. I wanted to be the go-to guy in the business community–the person others came to if they needed a referral for anything. This meant that I would be deepening relationships with people I might not otherwise have gotten to know. Since people do business with the people they like and trust, whom do you think got their referrals when they needed someone with my products and services? . . . Bingo! 🙂
When you’re networking, make an effort to build relationships with people who may be good referral partners for others in your network, and try to connect them with each other. I guarantee if you do this consistently, you’ll get more referrals in the long run.