“I’d get more done, if only I could clone myself!”
Productivity is an elusive beast.
And if you’re a solo entrepreneur or small business owner, you’re always limited by the number of hours in the day.
Or are you?
Set yourself up as a referral magnet, and leverage those 24 hours.
What do I mean by “referral magnet?” I mean someone who has meaningful business relationships with people who are willing and able to refer potential customers to him/her.
Let’s break that down:
- Meaningful business relationships = established, mutually beneficial support network of business colleagues (not friends and family, not drive-by Twitter contacts, not cold called sales leads)
- Willing to refer = someone who has been asked if they will refer business, and has said they will do so
- Able to refer = someone who has the knowledge of your skills and expertise in order to refer appropriate leads
It helps immensely if you are also a “referral machine,” willing to refer and connect others as well.
5 ways to become a referral magnet
- Put yourself out there. You can’t start building meaningful business relationships unless you’re attending conferences, joining online chats, and routinely talking to your customers (and I don’t mean by email). Just like it was in the schoolyard when you were the new kid, you have to be willing to jump into the double dutch.
- Establish a habit of asking for referrals. It’s not obnoxious to ask your fellow professionals, happy customers, or business partners to connect you with people who need what you offer. It’s good business practice, and yet so many are afraid of being “salesy.” It’s only “salesy” if you make it so. You’re not asking for “prospects,” you’re asking to be connected with people who are in need, so that you can help them. Simple as that.
- Arm your referral partners with information. They can only refer people if they know what you are offering, so come up with a crystal clear, punchy way to describe how you can help. Leave out the industry jargon, and the mission statement, and embed an easy phrase that they can associate with you. When they hear someone say “I really need to get my taxes sorted out,” they can simply say “Jane Doe does an excellent job. Want her number?”
- Reciprocate. It doesn’t always have to be quid pro quo, but look for opportunities to connect the right people, with no thought of “payback.” If you do this often enough, it will work magic all on its own.
- Say thank you. I don’t want to publicly “out” this person, but someone I referred potential business to once sent me a beautiful bottle of champagne with a note. What a lovely way to say thanks. If someone gives you a referral, always follow up with a note, a call, or some gesture of thanks.
Have you activated a business referral network yet?
Featured image via Flickr CC: Jeremy Keith