There are THREE Core Competencies that professionals need to have build their business by referral:
- The Need for Correct Knowledge
- Engagement with Your Referral Marketing Plan
- 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!