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How to get more referrals from your network

March 3, 2012

Most people I know go networking for one ultimate reason – to get referrals for their business. Note that a referral is not a guaranteed sale – it is an introduction to somebody who may have need of your services. So in order to achieve your sales, you need to maximise the number of referrals you  receive initially. So here are some tips that will help you get better referrals:-

  • Network in the right places – Not all networking groups are the same. If you are trying to connect with corporates in the City then  a business group focusing on the local high street would not be relevant


  • Finding related professions – If you can find related professions then they should provide you with a steady stream of referrals. For example if you are a plumber then associated professions could be a gas safety engineer, a builder, an electrican etc. As I know that my best referrals come from accountants, business coaches and IT support companies, I am always looking for them.

However, there is no guarantee that you will get referrals from such a group. You need to ensure:-


  • You actually get on with these related professions on a personal level. Nobody is going to refer you if you they don’t like you.
  • You act professionally – i.e turn up on time, wear appropriate attire etc
  • You refer back – if all you do is take referrals from others, without given referrals in return, then you will not be highly regarded and sooner or later the referrals will dry up


  • What do you actually do This might seem obvious e.g a cleaner just “cleans” – but if you focus on what benefits you deliver than your service you could get better referrals. In the case of the cleaner, this could be “clean using standards that have been proven to eliminate MRSA from hospitals” (assuming that this is true). 

Similarly my business is building spreadsheets and databases. However, I actually help companies by saving them reducing processing time from days to minutes – and when companies see the benefits I get the referrals

  • What do other people think you do It is actually quite surprising what people perceive you do. Most people I know aren’t aware of the benefits of the systems that I offer. Hence, I spend a lot of time getting feedback from people on my services. Likewise ask people what they believe you do and what benefits they believe you deliver.


  • Showcase your work – Although people know what you do, it is actually when they seen examples of your work that they get more of an understanding.  So if you are a photographer  you should show people examples of your photographs e.g on your website, or carry around a small portfolio of your work. This also applies to trade professions as well e.g if you a builder take regular photos of your projects as they progress – especially if they show that you are clean and tidy in your work.


  • Offer related services Is there a related service that you can offer clients that offers additional benefits ? For example if you run a computer repair business, can you offer remote back up services that automatically back up clients data ? Since I added databases to my portfolio, I have opened up a whole new offering to clients who were previously confined to using spreadsheets.
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