Sometimes people who have established a referral network feel unsatisfied with the referrals that they receive, and then they blame people in the network.
The truth is that if your referral network isn’t working the way you want it to, it’s your fault. When you find yourself pointing out other people’s problems, it may be time to ask if you are the reason your network isn’t delivering.
Four Common Complaints
My network is not motivated.
Maybe so, however, what are you doing to compel them to refer you to people they know? Are you interested in what they do? Or are you more concerned about how interested they are in what you do?
Ask yourself: Am I helping them in the same way I want them to help me?
They don’t know my business.
What have you done to educate them about what you do? Have you shared the latest new products or services you offer? Do you meet with members of your network outside of the regular meetings to strengthen your referral relationship?
Ask yourself: Have I given them the information they need to promote my business to others?
The referrals are fickle. They only used me once and never again.
Consider this before you decide that the referrals you receive are fickle: What have you done to turn the single sale into a regular, loyal client relationship? Do you contact each prospect in a timely manner? Do you ensure that the customer sees the best that you and your company have to offer?
Ask yourself: Do I follow up regularly and communicate in the way that they prefer?
They don’t have the contacts I need.
If you have gone through the entire database of each of your fellow networkers’ contacts and disqualified every single one, you may have underestimated your network’s contacts. Not to mention all of their contacts’ contacts. By doing this, you miss out on an exponentially growing number of possible buyers for what you are selling.
Ask yourself: Am I clear on who is the best contact for my business and am I clearly sharing that information with my referral partners?
It’s Your Obligation
It is your obligation to teach your fellow networkers how to identify referrals for you. If they are not doing so, then you are not teaching them effectively. You are responsible for many of the actions people take on your behalf.
It’s up to you to set the tone for your business, educate your referral partners, demonstrate competence and integrity, and maintain the effectiveness and strength of your referral relationships. If your referral system isn’t working, you’ve probably overlooked something.
Instead of turning over the responsibility to others and blaming them when things don’t turn out satisfactorily, work with your referral partners to prevent the same mistake from happening again. Acknowledge responsibility to anyone who has been wronged, without equivocation. Say, “It’s my fault that this happened. I apologize for the mistake, and I promise to set things right.” This straightforward acceptance of blame has the added benefit of defusing the other person’s anger. What the injured party wants to hear is acceptance of responsibility and a commitment to correcting the situation.
One of the strengths of a referral network is that everyone becomes friends. And one of the weaknesses of a referral network is that everyone becomes friends.
Only those groups and individuals who recognize the need for responsibility and accountability can make the process work for them. Those who are constantly blaming someone else for what’s going wrong, while doing nothing to change or fix it, will not do well in referral marketing.
Remember, if you’re not getting the referrals you want, it’s your responsibility to stop blaming your network and to start taking charge of your own business success.