“I have all of the business that I could ever want”, said no small business owner ever! Ok, so some say this, but they are typically not the hungry entrepreneurs that we are talking about today. If you are a hungry small business professional in 2017, you are most likely looking to increase your business. Most everyone in this camp agrees that good quality, warm referrals are like stumbling upon a pot of gold. Over the last few years, we have all seen those “Life Hacks” online. You know the ones; the person that turns the toilet paper tube into a booming speaker or the watermelon that can magically recharge your cell phone. There are entire websites dedicated to the topic. So, how awesome would it be if there were a set of “Hacks” guaranteed to generate more referrals for your business!
Alright, I know the anticipation is building, you can’t wait to learn these secrets that you never knew could make all of the difference. The secrets that are guaranteed to help you earn 6 figures of referrals in 2017. All of these years, you wish you had know this. Well, here they are………….there aren’t any. Anti-climactic, but it’s the truth. At least not in the way that we normally think of Life Hacks. Most of us have come to view hacks as short cuts or ways around putting in the actual work. Where in reality, there are no shortcuts to generating more referrals for your business. The work ALWAYS has to get done.
While there are no real hacks to generate more referrals for your business. I wouldn’t feel right if you read this far and didn’t leave without at least a few helpful ideas. So, here you go.
- Referrals Take Time – The vast majority of professionals that are not getting what they would like out of networking simply have not put in enough time. Countless people every year quit right before the referral floodgates are about to open. It often takes 6 months to a year of involvement with a group to build the trust necessary for you to see a benefit. Business networking takes time; it is not a get rich quick scheme as some people seem to think.
- Referrals Require Action – Business networking is a contact sport. Generating consistent referrals requires you to develop meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships. Simply showing up to an event a handful of times and spewing out the latest elevator speech that you planned on the way to the event is not going to get it done. Schedule at least one or two side meetings from each networking event. Sit down for a cup of coffee and truly get to know the other professionals and their businesses.
- Plan Ahead – The vast majority of business professionals that I have worked with are initially really lazy when it comes to planning ahead. It is a lot easier to “wing it”, than it is to put some thought into your goals and presentations. Business Networking is simply another tool in your marketing tool belt. Would you ever film a television commercial or radio ad without planning ahead. Probably not. At least you wouldn’t expect to get quality business from them. Networking is no different. Put the plan in place and the referrals will come.
- Give Until It Hurts – Way too many professionals join networking organizations purely to push their products to the people in the room, but how many people show up to those events with the intention of buying something…..nobody! The best way to generate referrals for your business is to give referrals to someone else. The more you give, the more others will want to help you. The most valuable relationships ever developed are mutually beneficial.
If you visited this post planning to get the next big shortcut to generating referrals, it obviously didn’t serve that purpose. Hopefully, you are able to walk away with at least a couple ideas as to why your business networking may not be working well. At the next networking event you attend, don’t forget to deploy some of the networking hacks” aka “WORK” necessary to generate the referrals you’re looking for this year.