How To Get More Referrals from Your Network
Do you want to become more referable? Do you want the leads to come to you rather than having to go searching for them? Me too! I think all service (and some product) business owners feel this way TBH.
The key to getting more referrals from your existing network and anyone you cultivate is a simple two-step process:
1. Have a crystal clear description of what you do and who you do it for.
2. Tell your network what that is. Repeatedly.
Now let’s break it down a little bit more in depth as to how you actually execute each of these. (Remember: I said it was simple, I didn’t say it was easy.)
Step 1: Clarify what you do and who you do it for.
Some people will advise you that this is your “genius zone.” That’s a buzz word I would be really OK with never hearing again. But for the sake of going forward let’s figure out what that is for you.
Finding Your genius zone
Q: What is that thing you do in business that when you do it you have the reaction of “Hell yeah! I just killed that!”?
Whatever “that thing” refers to in the above sentence is your genius zone, your area of expertise, the space within your business where you truly thrive, which in turn will generate the most profit for the amount of time that you spend doing it.
I’ll give you an example with my own business. Let’s start simple:
I am a sales and marketing coach with full agency services.
This tells you exactly what I do. But, that’s only half of the equation. That statement tells people what I am but isn’t really descriptive enough about who I want to work with. We must get more detailed and flush out the rest of that description:
I am a marketing and sales coach, with full agency services, that helps solopreneurs and small business owners connect their marketing and sales strategies.
That tells you 1) who I am, 2) what I do, 3) and who I do it for. If I need to shorten it then I just tell people, “I help event professionals and small business owners connect their marketing and sales strategies.”
That second version still gets to the crux of what I provide and who I service. It’s also a short sentence, which is a lot easier for other people to remember and say over and over. I could also go the opposite direction and say that “I am a marketing and sales coach who works with event professionals and small business owners.”
More examples of referral statements
“I’m a wedding planner who specializes in creating unique designs for millennial couples.”
“I am a transactional attorney who ensures real estate investors are protected as they expand their portfolio.”
“I’m a catering professional specializing in out-of-the-box food presentations for weddings, mitzvahs, and other social occasions of 50 or more people.”
Now, what do you do and who do you do it for? You need to have this incredibly clear before you can move on to Step Two.
Step two: Tell your network. Repeatedly and strategically.
Research shows that it takes hearing something anywhere from seven to 10 times for the brain to actually retain information. That means, telling somebody what you do once doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to stick in their brain.
However, if you meet them at the event and explain what you do (1st mention), then connect with him or her on LinkedIn where your profile also explains what you do (2nd mention), and then maybe reach out later on Facebook (3rd mention), or send an email where your signature has the same explanation (4th mention) and so on and so on. After each interaction they will start to retain what you do better, which leads to being able to refer you (and your business) more readily.
Practice your statement over and over again so every time you meet someone new, or you are in a networking situation, you can easily regurgitate it.
Send an email campaign out to your friends and family with just the simple statement in there to let them know what you do, who you do it for, in case they knew anybody that they would send along as a potential client for you.
You do NOT need to go into the details of how you do all of these things. That is for the qualifying phone call after the lead has come in. This initial campaign is simply to get people in the door of your marketing funnel.
(Point to note: this campaign should only go out once and/or if you launch a new product/service. Please don’t spam your network ??)
Continue this introduction practice on the regular and you will start generating more referrals from past clients, friends, family, casual acquaintances and professional contacts. Each new person you meet may not be your ideal client, but they could know someone who is precisely that. That second degree connection cannot reach you if your first degree connection doesn’t actually understand what you do and who you do it for. This is how you change that.