Through all my years in business networking, the best referral efforts and results that I’ve seen have happened by design. It is intentional; it does not happen by accident or wishful thinking. It seems that many businesspeople view referral marketing somewhat like the weather: “Sure, it’s important, but what can I do about it?”
Generating referrals through business networking efforts can be planned and nurtured. Business owners, entrepreneurs, sales representatives, employees, and even individuals who serve in a volunteer capacity can get results with a well-structured system – a referral plan for their business.
Too often, I have seen professionals waiting for business to come and walk through their door. They think because they are good at what they do, people will come flocking to them. Well, the truth is – it doesn’t work that way! You must take charge and bring the business in to you, no matter what your occupation or how good you are at what you do.
Think about someone who dreams of opening their own store. They have a business plan, they find their ideal location, they spend their time, money, and energy getting everything set up and preparing for the opening day and they are so excited when that day arrives! The lights go on, the door is unlocked, the sign says OPEN and…. people are just walking by. The line of customers they imagined never materializes. And then they realize – they have to get out there and meet the people who are their potential clients, and meet the people who know the people who could be their customers.
So it is with referral marketing. You can’t simply wait for people to come to you. If you want to succeed, you have to go get your business, or better yet, have someone else get it for you through referrals. How do you do that?
Find a business networking group in your area and visit one of their meetings. Make connections with other professionals who may have clients that need your products or services. Begin building relationships with like-minded people who want to grow their business AND help others do the same.
The bottom line is – don’t wait around. Do something! Develop a business networking plan that puts you in contact with the right people. Make your plan and then take action.
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