To become successful at networking, you need to be building deep referral relationships. Many people rely on referrals from others as a primary source of business. However, not everyone who relies on referrals is successful.
Many people have surface-level referral relationships. They know just enough about a referral source’s business to get by. They probably could not tell you anything else about the business than you can read on their business card. They have not built enough social capital with their referral relationships to count on them when they need something.
Building deep referral relationships is almost completely dependent upon the social capital you have built with someone. 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.
Do you have a personal story about social capital similar to the one I shared in this video about Alex? Please share your story in the comments below about how you have built great social capital with someone who is now just itching to help you in any way they can.
Before you ask for a referral, make sure you have built a deep referral relationship first by knowing the following points about that person:
- You believe they are an expert at what they do.
- You trust them to do a great job and take great care of your referred prospects.
- You have known each other for at least one year.
- You understand at least three major products or services within their business and feel comfortable explaining them to others.
- You know the names of their family members and have met them personally.
- You have both asked each other how you can help grow your respective businesses.
- You know at least five of their goals for the year, including personal and business goals.
- You could call them at 9 p.m. if you needed anything.
- You would not feel awkward asking them for help with either a personal or business challenge.
- You enjoy the time you spend together.
- You have regular appointments scheduled, both business and personal.
- You enjoy seeing them achieve further success.
- They are “top of mind” regularly.
- You have open, honest talks about how you can help each other further.
Referral Relationships Reality Review:
- What conclusions do you have about the depth of your current referral relationships?
- Are your relationships more or less in line with these points?
- What points can you improve upon to deepen your relationships?
Over the years, people have asked me to promote something for them. It happens to me almost daily on LinkedIn. Now, I don’t want to pick on LinkedIn. It can happen on any social media platform. The majority of those who contact me have never actually met me or had a previous conversation with me. They never invested in the relationship, yet they wanted a withdrawal from it. Please stop and do not pitch to me (or anyone) on LinkedIn.
You may be shocked at the level of personal knowledge required for building deep referral relationships. I completely disagree if you believe that referrals should be all about business. Referrals are personal. It takes a lot to develop this type of relationship. When you give a referral, you give a little of your reputation away. You need to know the person that is going to affect your reputation but those who do will certainly succeed at building a business from referrals.