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Asking for Referrals

by | Last updated: Jul 23, 2023

Getting Referrals – Being Specific !   Business to Business Tips !

Good networkers know the importance of being specific when networking –  in a presentation at a networking group, in a 1 to 1 meeting or generally in open networking, being specific improves opportunities for referrals and business.

So let’s start by me telling you about Ken, who runs Prime PA Services, a Virtual PA business; he asked me the question that I hear so often from other networkers:

MeanIT Referrals

‘I know I should be specific, but how can I be specific, when anybody could be a client for me?’

Ken primarily offers his Virtual PA and Office service to businesses – which makes him a B2B or Business to Business operator.

The first question I asked him was easy:

Question: ‘Who is your best current client?’

This is a good place to start, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, if we’re going for specific referral requests, we might as well go for similar businesses that are likely to be good to also have as clients (without looking for a competing business).  Secondly, when it comes to actually speaking to the target business, it is really important to be able to provide some evidence of how you’ve helped a similar organisation – Social Proof  or Social Validation – maybe have a Testimonial or Google Review or get introduced personally by the initial Client.

Ken’s answer to this was a local Chiropractor, so immediately that leads us to the Health and Wellness sector.  Then, I asked him whether another chiropractor would be good, or was there any other profession (within Health & Wellness) that would be good for him. He told me that a doctor’s surgery would be a good opportunity.

Then, I just had to keep asking questions:

Question ‘Where would you like this doctors’ surgery to be located?’ –  Answer: Swords or Glasnevin

Question ‘Which doctors’ surgery in Swords or Glasnevin?’ – Answer: The  Northside Medical Clinic in Swords. (Name substituted)

Question ‘Who would you need to speak to at the Northside Medical Clinic in Swords?’ –  Answer:  The Practice Manager

Question  ‘Do you know the name of the Practice Manager at the Northside Medical Clinic in Swords? – A: I’ve no idea.

This often happens when asking these questions: we may not know the answer to all of them.  However, it isn’t difficult to get the information we need – all it needs is some research – Google or Linkedin or even Facebook will get you the answer 99% of the time. In this case, it didn’t take long to find out that the Practice Manager was Joan Smith.

And with that – Ken had successfully managed to be specific.  A good referral for Premier Services is Joan Smith, the Practice Manager of the Northside Medical Clinic in Swords.

Ken’s problem, in common with many other networkers, was just getting started – and here I want to reiterate the key point: the simplest way to do this is to think of your best current client, and consider what industry they’re in. Once within that industry, think of the type of business you would like to speak to. Then, you just have to ask the questions.

Always ask for an action rather than a number, as in ask that a call be made or an email be sent to introduce you – numbers you can get through Google.

Getting Referrals – Being Specific is Key !

Remember: People like to do business with people they know or know of. Ideally, people they know, like and trust.

Make a habit of telling customers when you do work for them that you will look for Referrals from them once you have proven your own competence to them.

If a Customer compliments you, ask them if they know someone else who could benefit from your product or service. “I’m really glad that you’re pleased with my work. I’m always looking for referrals and wonder if you know anyone else who might be interested in our service”

At every customer meeting make a game out of looking for a Referral or Introduction to someone new – set a Target like one per day or one per meeting.

At your own open Networking events, stay away from friends or fellow Members and meet the new faces or ask fellow members for an introduction – again set a target of meeting say 3 or 4 new people. Talk to the people who are on their own, find out who they are, why they are there and who they know. If they ask you what do you do, ask them to tell you what they do first, so that you can better explain how what you do can help them. Always offer the advice that is best for them.

Talk to your own network members about their contact list, browse each others address book. See who a Member knows in LinkedIn – See our Linkedin Guide.

When you do get a Referral – Remember to say Thank You !!

Being Specific is Key!   So learn the best way for you to do it every week and use your 60 Seconds at Networking events to ask fellow members for help to get an introduction to a potential customer. Everybody is selling, so who do you want to sell to ? The more you ask the more you will get. Make it easy for people to refer you by telling them exactly who you want to talk to. Be careful, you may get who you ask for. So be sure that you are asking for the right people.
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get”.   “If it is not worth asking for it is not worth having.”

Circle of Trust 100 – Referrals Network an ‘Advanced’ strategy

Aim – To identify 10 potential Referral category sources, create a list of the likely good referral partner types and get to know 10 of each.
For us at MEANit it is 10 Graphic designers, 10 Accountants, 10 Printers, 10 Marketing Companies, 10 PR companies, 10 Sign Companies, 10 Business Coaches, 10 Financial Advisors, 10 Photographers and 10 Solicitors. This is a challenging long term strategy.

Get to know this 100 people and what sort of business they want, so that you can refer to them. If 100 is to many, try going for 50 or even 10, but do start somewhere. Build your own Network.

Stay in touch – make a point of reaching out with a referral or a useful piece of info at least once a month, preferably weekly.

Keep filling the Funnel with these people and ensure that you always have 10 in each Category that are referring or trying to refer. Make no promises to each other to seek out referrals, just make a commitment to try to spot opportunities, which will happen, if you listen out for them.
A lot of the time it is easier to get some business for someone else than it is to do it for yourself. And it feels great when you successfully do it, so try it.

Book to read;
Endless Referrals – Bob Burg
Networking like a Pro – Ivan Misner

About The Author

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 34 ‘Professional Services Firms‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 34 in 2024?


Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on SEO and how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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