How Entrepreneurs can Build a Powerful Referral Network

How do you build trust with your referral network?

How do you build trust with your referral network?

Last week, we talked about getting more referrals out of your calls. I suggested that the reason many people fail to get referrals is they don’t have a trust based relationship with the people to whom they are talking.  I also suggested that we may be too pushy to get the support we need from people who we don’t understand. By taking a little time to better understand our potential client’s life and business, we are more likely to get the support we need to build a successful referral network.

Now what steps are needed to help you begin building a trusting relationship? The first step of getting more referrals is being willing to not have all the answers. Many years ago, I learned that the foundation of a trust based relationship was to ask for help when necessary.  By asking for help you are able to earn incredible good will in your networking efforts. People want to help you succeed. I would say well over 80% of the people I talk with are willing to help me when I ask.  The hardest part can often be asking for their assistance.

The second step of getting more referrals is give before you get. It’s hard to imagine a well that produces water without priming the pump. The process includes providing the listener value that they may not completely understand at the time of the first call. I try to give value on every call and this includes sharing material that can help improve the condition of their lives.  I have a group of article reprints I can share, or links to web sites they might like to know about already put together because I know what my clients are interested in.  Not precisely, but I have a pretty good idea. Do you know what your clients want? Do you know what they aspire to? When I started my career, I decided to build a reference library of usable information to share with clients and potential people I talk with.  This material has provided me with not only many long term friendships but a reputation as a person who gets what my clients need.  It’s is not unusual for me to get a call from a person who was referred to me because of  something I provided their friends in a time of challenging need.  Everyone needs help at one time or other and this puts me in a great place to ask for a favor over time.

The third step is be clear what you do. People will not refer you if they are uncertain about what you do. There are two reasons for this. The first is people want to create value for their network. The second they don’t want to waste anyone’s time. If you want great referrals, it must be crystal clear what you do for clients.

Let me share a painful example from my own career.  I’ve spent the last several years helping clients with mergers and acquisition activities, well over 70 deals in the past 25 years. The problem is I helped and shared with a lot of people what they needed at the time. This might include coaching and/or consulting throughout various transitions in their careers. The problem was they were uncertain how to repay the favor. For all the work I do with clients on this, I had forgotten to share what I do in a way that allows people I worked with to share me with others easily.  If you’re trying to get high quality referrals you must be clear about what you do.  I now know tell my network, “I help entrepreneurs position their business for sale by helping grow their revenue and profits for the final several years before they exit or sell their business.  I help them get what they deserve when they sell their business.”  Since I’ve been telling people this, my business has taken off with referrals and calls asking what they need to know. In the last 90 days I have generated more income than I have in a full year of consulting.  My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Nothing else has changed.  I mean nothing. So being clear about what you do can help people provide you better, more qualified referrals.

Do you a want to learn more about building trust with other people?  You might also enjoy the following blog How Do You Build Trust?

Next week, I continue to share the way I get many profitable referrals for my clients.  See you here.

Leave a comment