building deep referral relationships

Get More Out of Networking by Building Deep Referral Relationships

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.

Building Social Capital Is the Groundwork for Future Payoff

In this video, I discuss why Building Social Capital is one of the best investments you can make to secure future success for yourself and others with whom you network.


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.

Are You Building Deep Referral Relationships?

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:

  1. What conclusions do you have about the depth of your current referral relationships?
  2. Are your relationships more or less in line with these points?
  3. 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.

5 thoughts on “Get More Out of Networking by Building Deep Referral Relationships

  1. Great article! thanks for sharing relevant information.If you know the enemy and know yourself , you need not fear the result of a hundred battles . If you know your self but not the enemy for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat . If you know neither the enemy nor yourself ,you will succumb in  every battle .

  2. Hi
    Even though l have only just started my journey in BNI already l have noticed how different things are in the way people do business, it’s quite incredible to be honest, people actually care about there colleges l have worked for big companies like Sainsbury’s supermarket , been self employed as a Taxi driver all the people l worked with were always looking for an opportunity to either replace you or antagonise you in some way, l feel already in this short time more like l have joined a family rather then network business, but l also appreciate the core values l have learnt with BNI and would feel so guilty about not following up on a referral or thanking someone for the business, it’s an amazing feeling and fantastic opportunity, and l was very fortunate and feel very privilege to have got the grant to join industrious chapter, with my essential oils business mother Natures Gifts. Thank you BNI and Dr lvan Misner l don’t have a website yet as l can’t afford one , but l am working on that

  3. I am Uma Balu – BNI Champions, Chennai, South India. My school Sahara Asia focuses on Asian languages and cultures. I joined BNI in Dec 2020. Ever since, I have been regularly studying the presentations listed in BNI University – especially the podcast series. Basically I am a language trainer, but the purpose behind joining BNI was that I wanted to explore my contact circles to their fullest extent – sharing good referrals was my way of practising Givers Gain.
    I came to understand that there are two types of referrals – Transaction Referrals and Relationship Referrals. Transaction referrals mean ready business – like buying a pearl necklace from a jewellery store. Relationship referrals are like diving deep into the sea, searching for oysters, selecting the best ones, opening them, extracting the pearls, sorting them by size, evaluating them, processing them, designing the necklace and creating the masterpiece. It takes lots of time, patience, effort and trust to build that kind of a relationship. Relationship referrals may not mean immediate business – with a good understanding of their importance and regular follow up, the expanse of opportunity hidden beneath the surface begins to reveal itself in all its magnificence. This is what I strongly believe in and recommend to everyone in BNI.

  4. My story is rather different in the sense someone unknown to me from another BNi chapter referred a gifting business of over USD 3,000 during middle of November 2020 resulting in business of over USD 30,000 by the end of the year.

    Sweta Mani from BNi Zeal chapter, Bangalore in baking category passed this referral to me on November 12, 2020 and now I’m itching to give back to her in every possible manner.

    She passed this referral because of meeting me at the structured monthly Leadership Round Table, my 12 years long journey in BNi as member and my current regional role as Senior Director Consultant.

    Since then I have been going around informing all my connections to remember and do get in touch with me if they have any bakery requirements!

  5. Most useful and true – thank you. I find that where there is a common denominator between the two parties, it is much quicker to build the trust factor and build a relationship.

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