The important first step to creating a referral machine is establishing relationships. This all begs two important questions: (1) WITH WHOM should I establish these relationships? And then even more importantly, (2) HOW do I go about establishing these relationships?
As to WITH WHOM you should establish relationships, there is no magic or secrets. They are all around you. First, start with the people you already know. Why? The people you already know, presumably already know, like and trust you. Far too often, when people embark on creating a referral machine, they become fixated on people they have never met before.
Think about it. You know tons of people right now – friends from the community or school, former colleagues, existing or past clients. This represents a treasure trove of raw materials with which to work.
Second, develop a list of strategic partners. Ask yourself this, we are the people that do not compete with you, but run in the circles as you would like to be running? What is the profile of a good potential client for you and who might be servicing them?
Third, everyone is connected. Everyone knows someone who might be a good potential referral for you (they may or may not realize it). This is not to say that you need to establish a relationship with everyone. What it does say, though, do not dismiss anyone. Give everyone attention and respect.
As to HOW, we cover that in Part 4.
Just because you want this referral machine does not mean that you get it. You have to build it, and there is a process to it, a three-step process to doing so.
You start by establishing relationships. Then within those relationships (which is essentially a network of people), you empower them to not just understand what you do, but how to talk about it. Then finally, you remain in continual contact to appropriately guide and re-adjust the process. Yes, this takes work, but in the end the rewards far outpace the effort.
The foundation upon which you will create a referral machine is based upon the relationships you have with others. This is the most important point: people do business and refer business to those that they know, like and trust. Those who get the most and best referrals are simply those who have the best relationships. They are widely known, highly liked, and implicitly trusted.
We will cover this process in greater detail starting in part 3.
You are ambitious. You are savvy. You want to be more successful. You want to work smarter and not harder. You know that referrals are the means of achieving that. Referrals are the most effective means of creating this greater success.
The best place to be in business, (any business or profession) is the point where your new clients are almost exclusively generated from people in your network. These are friends, colleagues, strategic partners and even former clients are sending you prospective clients.
At this point, your network becomes your sales force. In short, you have effectively created a referral machine and that machine (i.e., your network) is working for you, even when you are not working.
This begs the question, “How do I create a referral machine?” We start on this in part 2.