By Kelli C. Holmes
Determine the value of referrals to your business.
- Are referrals an important part of your business?
- What percentage of your business comes from referrals?
- What percentage of your business do you want to come from referrals?
- How are you currently developing referrals for your business?
- What or who are the sources of your referrals? Your clients? Friends? Contacts?
- What is the basis for you to receive referrals? Your reputation? Credibility? Quality of products or services?
Once you have determined the value of referrals to your business, look for ways to develop good referral sources for your business. Ask yourself the following:
Are you professionally visible? Being an “expert” is not enough. You need to be visible, approachable, understood, trusted and be able to leave a lasting impression. Check your professional visibility by answering these questions.
- How visible am I in my community?
- Do people seek me out for my expertise, products or service?
- Is my impression better than my competitors?
- Do people view me as a credible resource?
- How do people react when I present information about my products or services?
- Are my “networking” activities productive?
Networking Do’s and Don’ts:
· Have a networking plan in place. Know what you want to achieve from your networking activities and how you plan to get it.
- Know your own strengths, talents and resources. Listen for when a situation may be right.
- Help others build relationships. Make only those offers you intend to fulfill. Relationship marketing only works when you are genuine.
- Have business cards with you at all times.
- Develop a system to track your networking activities and the results.
- Follow up promptly and professionally on the referrals you receive. Remember to thank the person who referred you.
- Wait until you need a network to develop one. It takes time to develop relationships.
· Give out your business card indiscriminately. Ask for a business card from someone you would like to give your business card to.
· Don’t be afraid to jump in and network! Networking is a contact sport, it requires your physical presence.