I recently had someone send me the following question about referrals:
“There are people that I’ve provided referrals to which turned into good business for them. However, I’ve never received referrals back from those people. I fully understand that networking takes time. I’m going to ask them for a commitment to give me referrals in return. My question for you is – should I continue to provide them with additional referrals or not?
As a result of the above question, I’ve outlined my recommended strategy to follow-up on issues like this:
When you give someone a referral, do you follow up with them to see if it resulted in actual business or not? Find out if the referral was receptive to their contact and see if any of the referrals turned into business for your fellow member. Here are a few tips on following up on your referrals.
Sit down with the people you’ve given referrals to.
Walk through all the business you’ve given them in a way that shows you care about their success. Ask them how each and every referral (one at a time) worked out for them. Spend time with each referral and ask questions about them. Make sure that the referrals you gave were as good as you think they were. Don’t make assumptions about them. If they didn’t turn out as well as you thought, ask them how you could improve in giving them quality referrals. This could be disappointing to you but it’s an important discussion to have.
For those members who really benefited from the referrals you gave them
Tell them how glad you are that you could help them. Tell them that’s what BNI is all about – supporting one another and giving each other referrals. Tell them that you’re really pleased that these referrals worked out. Then – and only then, remind them that sending business your way would really be helpful to you. Ask them if they have a few minutes now to talk about how they can do that. I would guess that the majority of times, they will be receptive.
Effective networking is about being relational, not transactional.
What goes around comes around and it might not come around from where you sent it out. But don’t be surprised if it in fact does. You are planting seeds that will germinate with good relationships. Work on the relationships and the business will follow.