Referrals can be an effective way to strengthen your network and, in some cases, earn substantial income. But how do you give effective referrals? Follow the 5 tips below to take your referrals to the next level:
- Know the Buyer’s Needs – A good connector understands the needs of the potential customer, and can tie them to specific capabilities that the vendor can provide. At the very least, good connectors should be able to answer the following:
- What are their buyer’s priorities, and what projects are they currently working on?
- What is their budget and timing of these projects?
- What do they look for in a vendor, and ideally, what problems keep them up at night?
- Know the Seller’s Unique Value Proposition – But knowing the potential buyers is only half of the equation. You should also be able to answer the following questions about the company that you are introducing:
- What sets them apart from their competitors?
- What are their strengths and their weaknesses?
- What are some case studies from similar customers you can share?
- Craft a meaningful introduction – Because you’ve taken the time to learn about both the buyer and the seller, you should make a strong case of why this particular seller is a good fit for the buyer. Email introductions can work as an initial contact, but you should immediately follow-up with a conference call or in-person meeting as a way to establish rapport. Keep introductions warm, but professional, and always frame the connection in terms of how it benefits the buyer. Also, have a clear objective for every interaction and make sure next steps are well documented.
- Offer the buyer something of value on behalf of the seller – This could be a relevant white paper, a useful spreadsheet, or invitations to events/webinars on topics of interest. Although offering something of value is not usually required, it can improve your chances of a successful referral by establishing credibility, helping shape the buyer’s mindset, and appealing to the buyer’s desire to reciprocate.
- Follow-Up and Close the Loop – Periodically, check on the status of any next steps, and make sure you get feedback from both the buyer and the seller throughout the process. This not only helps you improve the quality of future referrals, but also shows your commitment to the relationship. It also serves as a reminder to both the buyer and the seller of the potential opportunity that your are bringing them.
Giving successful referrals is one of the most important things you can do to grow your network, and can also result in significant income. Like most things in life, experience and practice will make you better at giving referrals, but follow these 5 tips and see your referral success rate reach new heights.
Ramon L. Rodriguez is the Founder/CEO of Collaborate.Biz, an innovative technology company that helps businesses find strategic partners to get more referrals, collaborate on projects, and grow together. Through its exclusive Trusted Referrals Marketplace, well-connected professionals can make money by connecting top-quality businesses with new customers. Click here to learn more.