Once upon a time, there were twin brothers…
…they went to the same school, had the same lessons, shared the same room, wore the same clothes and got nagged by their parents the same way.
The twins were told to study, so Twin 1 got his books out and studied – science was never his strength but his efforts got results. Twin 2 also appeared to be studying, but inside his science book was an Archies comic. He didn’t do so well at school. A few years later, Twin 1, working hard, bought a house. Twin 2 didn’t.
Twin 2’s response to Twin 1’s successes? “You’re so lucky. You get all the breaks.”
That story, is my story, you pick who each twin is – hope you guess correctly! So, this got me thinking about networking referrals, and why some people receive more referrals than others.
When people leave a networking group, one reason cited is ‘I didn’t get enough referrals’, with the implication that the group is to blame. But my decade of experience with networking has taught me that everyone can get referrals, if they approach networking in the right way. That means following three key principles:
• Take responsibility – if you’re not getting referrals, it’s not down to the networking group, or your fellow members. It’s down to you – you can take action to change things. One past member asked to transfer hubs because they weren’t getting referrals – they moved and guess what? Still no referrals. What was the common denominator? Just saying.
• How you do one thing is how you do everything – members and guests watch how you behave. If you are less than professional in one area, they will assume that it applies to everything you do.
• Be clear and ask – if your pitch leaves members and guests unclear about what you’re looking for, how can they find it for you? You need to guide the people in the room – tell them, very precisely, what your ideal referral looks like.
What gets referrals?
Again, I thought about my own experience, and the people that I refer to, and I’ve pinpointed the 12 actions to help ensure you are super-referable:
1. Don’t expect referrals – they’re not a given, they have to be earned.
2. Be clear about WHO you are looking for. If you need help, get yourself onto the Fresh Academy ‘Make the Most of your Pitch’ training.
3. Create relationships – be interested, and get to know your fellow members at a business and personal level. We all refer to people we know, like and trust – and that comes from spending time together.
4. Be reliable – if you are a ‘constant canceller’, dropping out of meetings, last minute cancellations to socials, saying you can’t do your presentation, then how can members possibly believe you’ll be reliable if they refer you?
5. Participate and put in the effort – not just in regular meetings, but also closed meetings and social events. One past member never attended a closed meeting or social event – their hub-mates interpreted that they’re not really being interested in them. Funnily enough, they didn’t get referrals.
6. Be generous – share your time and your expertise with others, so they can see the value you offer.
7. Be professional in everything you do – arrive on time, dress appropriately, prepare thoroughly when you’re presenting, stay for the full meeting (don’t be Cinderella and rush out the door)
8. Focus on networking as an integral part of your business – not just a ‘nice to have’.
9. Educate people, don’t sell to them – you need to teach members and guests how to find referrals for you, not treat them as potential clients.
10. Bring your energy – I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to refer to people who don’t have some level of excitement and energy about their business.
11. If you do business with another member, treat them like gold, make it a no-brainer for them to refer you. In my very first networking group, I arranged a holiday for another member. They were a bit ‘difficult to please’, but I bit my tongue, and got them the trip they wanted. They were so delighted that they referred me time and time again, and all the extra effort I’d put in to his booking more than paid off.
12. Treat referrals like gold and follow up promptly – nothing will put a referrer off quicker than feeling that you didn’t really care about the referral they gave you.
As twins, we had the same education, parents, and opportunity, but only one made the most of it. Fresh offers every member the same meetings and chances to connect – so make sure you’re like Twin 1, making the most of your opportunity, and generating a wealth of quality referrals.