Last Saturday night, my family and I decided to go out to dinner and ended up eating at a brand-new restaurant in the town where we live. We hadn’t actually heard anything about the restaurant and didn’t even know it existed, but it caught our attention as we drove down the street and we decided to try it out.
The food was exceptional and I was quite impressed with the service and the ambience, yet there were hardly any other patrons besides us in the entire place. As we finished our dinner, the owner of the restaurant walked over to our table, thanked us for coming in, and asked us how we liked everything. I told him that we would definitely come back and asked him how long he’d been in business. When he answered that he’d been in business for three months and that things were coming along slowly but surely, I asked him what he was doing to promote his business. He replied that startup costs hadn’t left him with much money for advertising but that he had a huge extended family and he was banking on the fact that with them on his side, word about the restaurant was sure to spread pretty quickly.
I looked around the restaurant (virtually empty during the dinner hour after three months in business), smiled, and said, “So, how’s that working out for you so far?”
I went on to explain to him that I was somewhat familiar with the whole “networking thing” (I revealed that networking has been my career for more than 20 years) and that people who like, care about and respect you will not necessarily always refer business to you. We chatted for quite some time and I referred him to one of my articles, “Getting Referred By Friends and Family.”
For anyone out there who is currently relying on friends and family for referrals, here are a few things to think about:
- Oddly enough, the people most familiar with you are often the most casual about giving you referrals.
- With friends and family, relationships grow out of more personal associations; therefore, it may not even occur to a family member to refer business to you–unless you make a point of asking for it.
- You need to train friends and family to refer business to you.
- One of the first things you can do is get them to listen for key words and to recognize circumstances where they can, through you, provide a solution to someone’s need or problem.
What are your experiences with referrals from family or friends?