We talk about networking, and social media, and referrals and recommendations. But when asked to provide a resource, do you know how to make the most out of this simple but powerful document?
- Establish the friendship immediately.
- Understand the asking party's need. Support your champion in few words.
- Step out of the way.
- Let the referral happen.
- Reconnect later in the real world.
We all need referrals. We all need other specialists and experts to help us solve today's business problems. It's likely that someone in your network would be perfect for someone else in your network. You want to be the guy they ask. "Hey do you know someone that can help one of my client's with their page conversion metrics?"
LinkedIn is nice, but it's just a Facebook for Business until you actually use your network. The first time you ask your LinkedIn network for a referral you might be surprised what responses you get. You might be underwhelmed that no one responded. (Hmmm. How good is your network?) You might get more responses than you can process. And you might get the one HOMERUN referral that has you picking up the phone or immediately clicking "reply" on the intro email.
Either way, you need to make sure you're seen as one of the people with connections, contacts, and experience in your field. And if you know about your field, you've surely got someone who know's about this or that nuance.
Making introductions is a way of life for some lucky consultants. They are match makers, and they take a percentage of all completed work. That's not my business model, but I hope to find a way to make it more of my business network.
I don't want money from these friends. What I want is for them to be successful. I genuinely want you and your business to succeed. That's what I do.
Maybe there's a beer or a cup of coffee on the backend somewhere, but that's more about catching up and saying hello to these good friends.
In business, you are only as strong as your connections. And if your referral network is dusty or non-existant, you might want to put a few processing cycles into shoring up your network. It's called reestablishing the drumbeat of your tribe. In social media we can get lost in too many tasks and too many emails. Without our tribe it can be a lonely and isolating career path. But with our alive tribe, it can be a wonderful thing indeed.
Grab the slide: The Anatomy of the Perfect Referral Letter from Slideshare.net
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Most people don't really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can't help it. (from Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement)