There is no doubt that the foundation of referral marketing is relationships. Without them the marketing is unfounded, useless, and unproductive. Referral marketing works best when both parties benefit, look at your network, is everyone benefiting from what you are doing? Are you helping your network succeed? The first mistake in referral marketing that most people make is assuming everyone in your network is your client. This is quite the misnomer when speaking of referral marketing, your network is mainly your referral sources, the place where your prospects come from. Are you enabling your referral sources to help send you potential prospects?
In this economic situation, everyone is looking to find another way to be effective and to save money on marketing. I would never assume that referral marketing is a cheap way of doing your marketing because there is a lot of time and work involved in it, however, it is deeply rewarding if executed properly.
If you’re like most people, you’ve neglected your network and now you have a glaring focus on it. Here’s a one quick way to begin to rebuild your network into a strong powerhouse.
Look at your network base and take an inventory of who you have contacted within the last six months. Start from the oldest and work your way to the most current. You’ll want to touch base with them and see how they are doing, being brief and straight forward with your intentions. I’ve found that when you are honest with your intentions that most people appreciate it and respond positively to it. This isn’t the time to pitch someone, why would you do that when you haven’t talked to them in so long. This comes off as being shady and with only your bottom line as the most important item on your list. Remember this is relationship building, not list hustling. This is your place and time to connect with them and see how they are doing and what they are currently doing as life does change especially given current economic conditions. At the end of your phone call is where you begin to ask about follow-up, maybe a cup of coffee or a longer phone conversation to catch up a bit more in length.
Visibility is important because it creates recognition and awareness, this gets people talking to their contacts, which is what you want. This also gets you talking to your contacts as people you know might be interested in hearing who opened a new office or changed positions. This provides opportunity for everybody, which is the goal. The greater your visibility the more widely your network reaches, the more information you will obtain about others, which will expose you to more opportunities. Be sure to record who you speak with and the details so you can cross-reference your information. You’re building your network which is a strong database if executed properly.
Many people believe that this is a one time only action that they must do, they are mistaken and will eventually fail because they do not continually maintain their relationships. People know when they are being played, we all know when someone is doing that to us so why would you expect someone else not to know the difference. Also, many people get confused thinking that this is where it starts and ends with making business happen. IT IS NOT. You’ve know those people who call you up just to check in and to rape your rolodex of any opportunities you might be willing to hand over. They don’t care about you, your business, or anyone else; they only want to take whatever you’re willing to give them. So simply put, don’t be that person.
Before we get to what’s next, begin your network building now. Stay tuned, credibility is up next.