Building Relationships should become one of the most important components of your business. You should build your business by farming not hunting. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it’s not powerful. Social capital is like financial capital. To amass financial capital, you have to invest and grow your assets. You have to have money in the bank before you can make a withdrawal. Relationships are very much the same – referral relationships in particular. You must support and help others with their business before you can ask for their help.
Before you ask for a referral, make sure that you can answer “YES” to most of the following points about a person and their business to verify that you have built a deep reciprocal referral relationship:
- You have known each other for at least six months to one year. Networking takes time
- You understand at least three major products or services within their business and feel comfortable explaining them to others. Can you explain clearly what they do and can they explain what you do?
- You know the names of their family members and have met them personally.
- You have been in a situation where both of you have asked each other how you can help grow your respective businesses.
- You know some of their goals for the year, including personal and business goals.
- You could pick up the phone and call them at 9 o’clock at night if you really needed something. If they answer during their personal time, you have a good relationship with them.
- You would not feel awkward asking them for help with either a personal or business challenge.
- You enjoy the time you spend together. You like taking time to meet for coffee or a glass of wine.
- You have regular appointments scheduled, both business and personal to connect. Maybe this is at a BNI meeting or another networking event.
- They are “top of mind” regularly.
- You have open, honest talks about how you can help each other further. You enjoy seeing them achieve further success.
Connect with people who also believe in the philosophy of “Givers Gain”®. Therefore, before you ask for a referral, make sure to make an investment, and build a deep relationship first.