How to build a referral network is one important strategy often ignored by businessmen. Many think it’s hard but it’s actually easy. It’s just a matter of being confident, trustworthy, visible and most especially friendly. I came with a short list of things that may help you do it.
- Know your business in and out – it’s your business and you have to know it all the way through. Do as much as research as you can about your field of business and the competition. This will help you build confidence in what you’re doing.
- Make friends, a lot of friends – join associations that are related to your business and make friends. Invite a bunch of like-minded folks to your home, eat barbecue and discuss business along the way. Attend parties and local events. You might just meet some really good friends in the process. This also builds your credibility.
- Shout it out – let people know what you’re doing. Let your family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who will qualify for a human being. Donate some of your products a few associations. This builds a good image both for you and your business. Warning: Do not over-advertise – people don’t like it.
- Do not hype it out – do not oversell and over-promise. It is always better to under-promise and over-deliver. We’re so full of hype in this world already so let’s not add to the mess.
- Offer your knowledge for free – people like free stuff. Write articles and post them on the internet. Put up free seminars in your area. Create a video-tutorial and give out free CDs. The more you do this, the more people will trust you.
- Make good use of technology – it makes things easier. Make the most out of your voice-mail, cellphone, email and websites. Technology is here for a reason so use it.
- Provide referrals – building your referral network is not just about bringing business along your way. It’s also about sending business to other people.
- Ask for it – yes, ask for it. Don’t be shy to ask for referrals. Let your friends know that you’d be happy if they can point a few people along your way. Also let your existing clients know the same thing.
- Don’t be a salesperson – while making sales is important in a business, it’s not just about sales. If you want to build your business network really quick then don’t sell. Just make friends and let them know of what you do.
- Be your business – your business is an extension of you. It’s not separate from you – it is you. Whatever you do directly affects your business and vice versa so always keep this in mind.
See, it’s easy. It’s not about selling or promoting all the time. It’s just a matter of making people know what you do and making friends. Friends = network. Network = customers. The more people who like you, the more sale will come your way. It’s never the other way around.