3 Networking Strategies That Get You More Referrals

By: Stephanie Tuesday March 5, 2019 comments Tags: Marketing, Time management, Lead attraction, Public speaking, Client attraction, Public relations, Business planning, Follow-ups, Referral marketing

When you go to networking events, there are three essential components you need to have in place in order to get results.

In a recent Facebook Live, I shared three reasons why people often don't get referrals from their networking efforts, and three strategies you can use to create consistent streams of referrals. I also answered a question about what to do if you get a negative review that could hinder your attempts to get clients and referrals.

Click the player below to watch the replay.

For those who prefer to read instead of watch, here's a written version.

It isn't an exact copy of the video's content; it's the script I wrote in preparation for the Facebook Live, but I did go off-script several times during the video. That said, it will give you an easy-to-follow breakdown of the reasons why some people don't get referrals, and the strategies you can use to get consistent streams of clients.

Begin script:

Today, I’m going to talk about three reasons why people spend hours upon hours attending networking events, giving their pitches, and hopefully following up with their prospective clients and referral network members, only to find that they aren’t getting any clients from their efforts.

I’ll also give you some concrete action steps you can take to solve this problem in your business, so even if you choose not to work with me and we never see or hear from each other again, you’ll still have gotten value out of this training.

And for those who want a faster, easier way, I’ll tell you how my team and I can help you to connect with more leads with less work, and get more money from your networking efforts.

Let’s start with reason number one: You might not be giving a compelling description of your offer.

Your offer needs to be:

1. Focused on what the other person gets.

Clients need to know EXACTLY what’s in it for them, and referral network members need to know what’s in it for them and their clients.

How will the clients benefit?

How will the referral network member look better to their clients because they made this referral?

Will the referral network member be compensated for making the referral, whether through direct payment, through receiving referrals in return, or through some other method?

2. Focused on the problem, benefit and results they KNOW they have or want.

Sometimes, I see people talking about their weekend retreat, and all the handouts their attendees will get, and the hours and hours of DVDs or downloadable materials and coaching calls they’ll get, and my emotional response is “uggggghhhh… that’s SO much time I’ll have to take out of my life. And for what?”

People make their buying decisions emotionally first, then they justify them with logic. If you don't offer them something they really want, and paint a vivid, inspiring picture of the outcome you provide, most people won't bother thinking about it.

Another example I saw was for a CBD product. They talked at length about their cutting-edge manufacturing process and the quality of their product, but you know what the sales page DIDN’T tell me?

What the product actually DOES.

What will happen if I ingest this stuff? Will I see pink elephants? Sleep better? Have better poops? I had no idea.

So why would I buy it?

Another mistake people often make is to talk about problems people don’t realize or care that they have.

For example, they talk about people’s limiting mindsets, but they don’t tell you what kind of symptoms indicate that you have a limiting mindset, so their potential clients aren’t convinced that they even have one.

I often tell my clients, “Talk about the SYMPTOMS, not the DISEASE. People don’t always know which disease is the root cause of their symptoms, but they know they have the symptoms, so talk about the problems they KNOW they have.”

Similarly, you need to talk about the cure they know they want. If a lonely single who wants to get married could find and marry their soulmate without first becoming more confident and mature, that’s exactly what they’d do.

That being the case, the confidence and maturity aren’t the main selling points; feeling loved, safe and passionate in a marriage with your soulmate is.

Here’s a useful rule of thumb: if your clients could get the thing they want WITHOUT the thing you’re offering, your offer isn’t what they want.

Switch to talking about the things they DO want, in vivid real-life terms. Paint a picture.

Don’t just talk about how they’ll lose weight; tell them they’ll fit in their skinny jeans again, feel healthy and energetic, and be able to participate in all the activities they didn’t have the energy or confidence for before.

It’s that classic storytelling principle: show, don’t tell.

Another reason is that they don’t have an effective system for following up.

If you’re collecting business cards at networking events, I HOPE you’re actually following up. Get the info on those cards into a database, even if it’s just a document on your computer, and put it in your calendar to contact these people.

Remind them who you are, how you met, and why and how you want to collaborate.

One thing you can do to greatly increase the odds of staying in touch is to schedule the next conversation before the current one ends.

Before you even leave the networking event, make sure your next meeting is in both of your calendars. If they don’t have their calendar available, tell them when you’re going to call them to schedule an appointment, and get them to confirm that they'll be expecting your call at that time.

When you invite them to a meeting, be specific.

Don’t say “we should talk again sometime”; that's too vague, and it doesn't give them any concrete action steps to take.

Instead, tell them, “Let’s meet for coffee this week; here’s a coffee shop I really like. I’m currently available at 4:00 on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday; which time works for you?”

Once you’ve started following up with a referral network member, be specific about how you can collaborate.

You should each know exactly who each other’s ideal clients are, how you serve them, and what results they can expect.

You should also know how or if you’ll each be compensated for making referrals, and how to make the referral in the first place, whether it’s through a CC email, a 3-way phone call, or sending the client to a website or capture page.

Now, I know following up with people can get time-consuming. If you have a lot of other high-priority tasks you need to do, it can be easy to let that slip through the cracks.

I’m going to give you a strategy for making it way more efficient in a couple minutes, but first I want to share another strategy for making people WANT you to follow up with them in the first place.

A third reason you might not get referrals is that you haven’t teamed up to offer a superior service.

If you and your new referral network member offer complementary services that the same client needs – for example, a person buying a house will need both a Realtor and a mortgage broker, as well as several other professionals – consider teaming up to offer a joint service.

That way, it’s more convenient for the client, who gets everything they need in one place instead of having to look around, and the client of one business is more likely to become the client of both, so both businesses get more referrals and benefit from each other’s marketing.

Your next steps to implement these strategies:

Now you have a clearer idea of how to:

1. Communicate the value of your offer, so people are inspired to act on it.

2. Follow up with people in a way that maximizes the chances that you’ll actually stay in touch and exchange referrals.

3. Collaborate with your referral network members to increase your value and get more referrals.

Of course, just learning about these strategies isn’t going to do you any good. The only way you'll get RESULTS from this information is if you actually USE it. So here are your next steps.

If you want to implement these strategies on your own, your next step is to put them in your calendar.

Don’t just say “This sounds like a thing I should do at some point.” For most people, “at some point” means “never”.

Instead, open whatever calendar or calendar app you use to organize your time, and set aside a specific time slot for each activity you plan to do.

For example, you could put a calendar item on Tuesday saying “2:00 – 4:00 Attend X networking event. Bring a list of available times for follow-up meetings.”

Then on Wednesday, add “3:00 – 3:30 Call people I met at the event who couldn’t schedule the next meeting”, so you’re sure to follow up with people who didn’t have their calendars with them and were unable or unwilling to book a follow-up talk while you were at the event.

Whatever you use to organize your life, make sure your next action steps are in there, so they don’t slip through the cracks.

If you want a faster, easier way…

There you have it. As promised, I’ve given you some specific, concrete ways to get more value from your networking efforts, so even if you decide to go it alone and never talk to me again, you’ve still got something you can use to grow your business.

Now, as I also promised, this is the part where I tell you how you can get more leads, referrals and income by working with my team.

I'm a member of Liberty Group, a referral management and collaboration group that helps business owners to connect with complementary businesses, and to consistently get more referrals and get paid for making and managing referrals.

We do this by bringing together groups of five business owners, which will usually consist of you, three people who also serve your ideal client in ways that complement you, and our referral network manager, Matthew Radin.

Once this group is brought together, each time one member of the group brings in a client, Matt works with that client to connect them with all the members they need, so the client of one member becomes a client of multiple members.

That way, you get more referrals, without having to constantly remind your fellow members to send you clients. You also get credited for the clients you bring to the group.

This system enables people who normally can’t pay for referrals or get paid for them to get compensated for bringing each other clients, because referral management is a service that can be paid for, and part of the referral management fee can be passed on to the source of the referral.

This also benefits your clients – which is important, because the reason some professions aren’t allowed to pay or get paid for referrals is to avoid burdening the transaction with extra charges that are passed on to the client.

Through this system, not only do we give the client additional benefits that justify the price we charge, but we often make it LESS expensive for the client by connecting them with money-saving services and package deals.

If you want to learn more about this game-changing system, and to see if you’re a good fit to join our network and get more referrals, please send me a message and we'll schedule a time to talk.


About the Author: Stephanie

Stephanie is a writer and coaching program design specialist. She helps coaches to design lucrative and life-changing group programs, so they can help more people, make more money, and have more time freedom.