Building Up Your Power Team

ID-100223937How do you increase the number of referrals your networking contacts are helping pass to you? One way, of course, is to educate your contacts on how to best get referrals for you. Another easy way to increase your number of referrals is to create relationships with people who, based on their professions, are most likely to pass quality referrals to you. These ideal referral partners are broken up into two groups: Contact Spheres and Power Teams.

The difference between the two is minor, yet impactful. Your Contact Sphere is all the possible professions you can team up with, while your Power Team is the group that you have actually teamed up with. Often times, these groups will be made up of professions that work together symbiotically, and are naturally inclined to refer business to one another. Think somewhat related, but non-competing, businesses.

To build your Power Team, you’ll want to take some time and map out your ideal Contact Sphere. What professions could you work well with, if only you knew someone who worked in that field?

Once you’ve built your Power Team, your work isn’t done. You must always be looking for ways to pass a referral to your Power Team. Over time, you’ll develop trust and your Power Team partners will pass significantly more referrals to you.

Additionally, one thing that I have seen work well for Power Teams is a weekly meeting, or at a minimum every other week. These meetings should be outside of your regular networking events, and should be smaller, more intimate gatherings with your Power Team. To keep your meetings running smoothly, have a chairperson to lead discussion. Each member of the Power Team should discuss their ideal referral, and perhaps dedicate some time to brainstorming places to find these referrals. As a group, you may also discuss potential other professions who would fit well in your Power Team.

Common mistakes I’ve seen with Power Teams include:

  • Confusing them for Contact Spheres. Contact Spheres are a broad list of professions that could work well with you, while your Power Team is only those that you are actively working with.
  • Not dedicating time to them. Just forming a Power Team will not build up referrals for you. Like with any other relationship, you need to build up trust, learn the wants and needs of the other members of the team, and establish best ways to help everyone in the group meet their business goals.
  • Not building the right team. If you have someone in your Power Team who isn’t passing referrals to you, whether that be because they are having your services done in house or any other reason, they shouldn’t be in your Power Team. While you may not be able to avoid having them in your networking group, you are able to partner with someone outside of your group. There is nothing wrong with having multiple networks.

Four More Referral Sources to Tap into for Business Growth

A week ago today, I outlined a brief description of each of the first four of the eight referral sources.  I encouraged blog readers to spend the past week taking action in developing at least two of those referral sources and promised that this week I would explain the last four referral sources. 

* Remember, the more you learn about each referral source, the more referral sources you will develop; the more referral sources you develop, the more referrals you will get and the more your business will grow!

The Eight Referral Sources: Sources #5 — #8

  • Staff Members
    Except for customers, no one understands better than staff members how your products or services perform.  Not just sales and marketing staff–generating sales is what they were hired to do–but part-time or full-time staff members in administration, production, and other functions give your business a boost when they talk with friends, neighbors, associates, and people they meet in their daily lives.  Keep them happy; a disgruntled employee can do your business a lot of harm. Don’t overlook former staff members, either.  Working for your company will always be a part of their history, and often part of their conversation with prospects as well.
  • People to Whom You’ve Given Referrals
    You’re more likely to get a referral from someone to whom you’ve given a referral.  The more you give, the more you’ll get.
  • Anyone Who Has Given You Referrals
    People who give you referrals for business or direct others to you for networking or advice are demonstrating that they think highly of you and what you do.  If they didn’t, they would refer people elsewhere.  Strengthen and nurture these prospective referral sources; don’t take them for granted.  Show your appreciation with personal gestures and by referring prospects to them.  Call on them for further referrals, but don’t abuse their generosity.  Maintain the business standards that earned you their respect.
  • Other Members of Business Referral Groups
    Referral groups are set up by their members mainly to exchange leads and referrals.  A typical weekly meeting of such a group includes time devoted exclusively to networking and referring business.  If you’re a member, this is what you signed up for: ready access to potential new clients.  To encourage communication and limit possible competitive conflicts, business referral groups often restrict membership to one person per profession or specialty.

Between last Monday’s blog and today’s blog, you should now have a good understanding of the eight referral sources and there is no better time than right now to start developing them for more referrals! 

If you accepted last week’s challenge of developing at least two of the first four referral sources, I’d love to hear about which sources you chose to focus on and what your experience was.  Now the question is, which of these next four sources are you going to work on developing next?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

The Eight Referral Sources–Learn More, Get More

Last week I posted a video blog featuring Referral Institute Trainer Cheryl Hansen talking about the opportunity to significantly increase the number of referrals you receive by developing more than just one of the eight referral sources.  The fact is, the more you learn about each referral source, the more referral sources you will develop; the more referral sources you develop, the more referrals you will get and the more your business will grow!

Since last week’s video blog, I have received requests via social media to explain each of the eight sources in a little bit more detail, so today I am posting a brief description of the first four sources below and (for the sake of space) next week I’ll post information about the last four sources.

The Eight Referral Sources: Sources #1 — #4

  1. People in Your Contact Sphere
    A group of businesses/professions that complement, rather than compete with, your business.  A Contact Sphere can be a steady source of leads.  It’s almost a sure thing: if you put a caterer, a florist, an entertainer, a printer, a meeting planner, and a photographer in the same room for an hour, you couldn’t stop them from doing business.  Each has clients who can benefit from the services of the others.  This is why a wedding often turns out to be, on the side, a business networking and referral-gathering activity.
  2. Satisfied Clients
    One of your best referral sources is satisfied clients.  Having firsthand experience with your products or services, they are true believers and can communicate convincing testimonials.  Keep track of these clients; they are your fans, your best promoters, and they can be very effective in helping others decide to do business with you.  Of course, a dissatisfied client is equally effective in turning prospects away from you.
  3. People Whose Business Benefits from Yours
    Of the eight kinds of people in your referral network, none stand to gain more than those who get more business when you get more business: business suppliers and vendors, for example.  If you sell workbooks, the printer who prints them for you benefits.  A related business located close to you may benefit from your customers–for example, a health-food restaurant located next to your family fitness center.  In these circumstances, it is obviously in the other businesses’ self-interest to give you referrals.
  4. Others with Whom You Do Business
    Perhaps your business doesn’t have anything to do with dentistry or hairstyling or automobiles, but every day you do business with dentists, hairstylists, and auto mechanics.  By contributing to the success of their business, you will gain their goodwill; to keep you as a customer, they’re inclined to help you secure customers of your own.  If you’ve been using their services for some time, these vendors probably know what you do and that you’re a reliable, trustworthy person.  Sometimes this is all the recommendation a potential client needs.

Now that you know more about the first four referral sources, why not start developing them now?  Reach out and connect with one person from at least two (or all four if you’re really motivated!) of these different referral sources this week and be sure to come back next week to learn about the last four of the eight referral sources. 

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