Build Your 3 Level Referral Network
Many people in business think that referrals are just a product of servicing their customers well. Certainly it is true that if you offer consistent exceptional customer service your existing clientele will be far more likely to refer you to people they know. However, building a referral network goes beyond your customer base. In a previous blog I discussed how to build your customer referrals. In this blog I am going to discuss 4 levels of referrals beyond the customer - the 3 levels of Champion Referrals.
We have all heard the cliche "It’s not what you know, but who you know".
Your bronze champions are everyone you know. Your friends, family, neighbors, club members, colleagues, classmates or even people you have only met once at a networking event. This list can even include upwards of 80% of your customers. These are all the people you are acquainted with who know, like and respect you. Make a list of everyone that includes their name, email and telephone number.
Once you have compiled your list, it is time to call them. The important thing to remember in these calls is not to approach this as making sales calls. Tell them you are just reconnecting with them. Ask them how they are doing. Ask about their business. Ask about their hobbies or favourite sport. Then take the opportunity to just tell them about what you are doing. Be passionate, but do not be selling. Ask them if they have your updated contact information and share it if they don’t. At the end of the call simply say that you would appreciate it if they know of anyone who might need your services if they would pass your information on.
Within a day follow up with them by sending an email just to say it was a pleasure to talk to them. The signature bar of your email will ensure they have all your contact information such as address, phone, website. You may want to consider a subtle tag line on your signature “your referral is the best compliment”. Just sit back and wait for these people to consciously or unconsciously think about you and refer you to people in their network.
Your silver champions are those people who are well connected. They are the people who have 500+ on their LinkedIn profiles. They are like social magnets, drawing everyone to them whether it is an in person event or social media online. These people enjoy being connectors. If you knew their DISC profile, they would probably be the “Influencers”.
You will know a significantly lower number of these people. You will want to take more time and effort to build these relationships. Phone them and invite them to coffee or lunch with you. At the meeting let them know that you would like their help by asking them. By asking them for help, you are recognizing them as successful people. For example, you could say “I know that you are successful in your industry, and I would like to ask if you would give me some advice on how to grow my business”. Practice your active listening skills and take notes if appropriate. Proceed to a second question that asks for the referrals. For example “Do you know anyone who may benefit from my services?”. Should they give you names, do not be afraid to ask if they would make an introduction for you. Remember, these types of people like to be connectors and will more than likely be happy to introduce you.
Your gold champions are people you want to build a strategic alliance relationship with. These people have a client list that is complimentary to yours. There is a benefit to both of you by building a relationship with the same clients. A perfect example of this type of relationship is a dentist and an orthodontist. You compliment each others business, but you are not competitors.
You may or may not know these people personally. If you do know them, telephone them and ask them for a meeting to talk about a mutually beneficial business relationship. At the meeting, propose creating a strategic alliance and the benefits to both of you by agreeing to the relationship. If you do not know them, consider sending a letter one week in advance of your telephone call to introduce yourself, propose the strategic relationship, and let them know you will call them in one week to discuss. Mark it in your calendar and be sure to follow through.
Interested in winning more resales and referrals? I am a certified trainer for Brian Tracy’s New Training Program “Win Resales and Referrals – Sales Success Achievement Training”. This is a two day intensive training program available in one of my public offerings I host or can be provided in house to you and your team at your location. Contact me for more information.