Three Core Competencies for Referral Successstring(44) "Three Core Competencies for Referral Success"

There are THREE Core Competencies that professionals need to have build their business by referral:

  1.   The Need for Correct Knowledge
  2.   Engagement with Your Referral Marketing Plan
  3.   A System to Train Your Network How to Refer Business to You

Over the years, my co-author of “Truth or Delusion: Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths”, Mike Macedonio, and I have had many conversations about what it really takes to achieve business success through networking and referral marketing. We identified these three core competencies that hold true for businesspeople around the world.

Need for Correct Knowledge

In our book, Mike paraphrases Mark Twain’s statement about having correct knowledge with this first core competency:
It’s not what you know that will stand in the way of your success as much as what you know which isn’t so.

Today, there are countless sources of information about any topic you can think of. However, learning ineffective strategies or basing your actions on inaccurate information can lead to poor results or may even be detrimental. Go to trusted sources and experts in the field you want to learn about. Having correct knowledge about what it is you want to do will help you maximize your efforts.

Stay Engaged with Your Referral Marketing Plan

The second core competency for successful referral marketing is harder than it sounds. That’s because many referral marketing concepts are counter intuitive. It’s like telling someone who is driving a car to turn into a skid; this is not the natural reaction. Even when the driver understands it is in their best interest to turn into the skid, it’s only when they actually do it that they learn how it works.

Referral marketing is the same way. When we seek to find more business, it’s natural to first think we need to look for qualified prospects and then try to approach them. Here are some ideas to help make business networking come more naturally.

*  Stay connected to, and learn from, networking blogs and podcasts
*  Participate in structured networking groups with like-minded people
*  Get involved in ongoing referral trainings

The first two core competencies, obtaining correct knowledge and staying engaged with your referral marketing plan, apply to any personal or professional development programs. It is important to keep in mind that though they may be “simple,” they are not “easy.”

Train Your Network How to Refer Business to You

The third core competency, implementing a system to train your network on how to refer business to you, is often the missing piece that most professionals do not have in place. I’ve found that no matter how brilliant or skillful you are in referral marketing, if your referral partners are inadequate, your results will be insufficient.

Think about it like a football analogy, as Mike said in Truth or Delusion”, “What if Tom Brady, one of the most successful [American NFL] quarterbacks, were to get on the field with a team that was lacking skills and knowledge of the game? He would be throwing perfect spirals to players who can’t catch and don’t know their assignments. It wouldn’t take long for Tom to recognize that he’s better off just keeping the ball and running.  This could be equated in business to direct prospecting. It is hard work for short yardage.”

If you make the three core competencies a priority, you will be on the right track for referral success, gaining much more “yardage” from your business networking efforts!

Benefits of a Knowledge Networkstring(31) "Benefits of a Knowledge Network"

Professional associations, or knowledge networks, have been around longer than almost any other kind of group, from the medieval guilds to crafts associations to today’s professional groups and industry associations. The primary purpose is for the exchange of information and ideas, in both intra-industry and inter-industry.

Some of these types of groups limit membership to their own industry. However, quite a few groups that represent industries other than your own will allow you to join as an associate member of their organization. This can connect you with a concentrated target market, including many top-quality contacts. Indeed, many of your best current clients who are looking for their own competitive edge, may be members of industry associations. You can ask them which open-membership groups they belong to and explore the possibility of joining a few of them. This can give you an opportunity to meet prospects of the same quality as your best clients.

Groups In Your Own Industry

The other part of your knowledge network should be groups in your own industry. It is true that many of your competitors may also be members but consider the advantages. You will stay abreast of developments in your industry, find out what your competitors are up to, and study the competition’s presentations and brochures. You may also discover opportunities to collaborate with competitors whose specialties are different from yours or who need help on a big project.

Knowledge networks present great business networking opportunities. If you are looking to build more relationships and increase your referral marketing, I recommend that you investigate your local professional associations to determine which ones you might be able to join. Get involved with these organizations so that you can experience the benefits of a knowledge network.

Are you part of a knowledge network? I would love to hear your stories in the comment section.