Six Ways to Play it Forward in Networking (Part 3): Referrals
The third installment of our blog series will focus on what referrals are and also how to generate them.
Professionals define referrals in many different ways, but we hope that our definition of a referral helps you understand the importance of passing referrals to others
What are referrals?
Most entrepreneurs and business owners are usually happy to add more clients to their business. Moreover, they’d rather bring on more clients with as little expense and effort as possible. In the world of networking, referrals are the cheapest and most effective way to build your business. There are two types of referrals: prospects referrals and connection referrals. Each referral type has its own definition and benefits, but they do share two elements that qualify them as referrals. But first, what are the differences between a prospect and a connection?
Prospect referrals quite simply are potential clients who may sign up to use a professional’s services. Depending on the professional, a prospect may be either a business, an individual or both. But in a nutshell, a prospect pays for the professional’s services and in turn becomes their client. When joining a referral group like MNO, members pass each other prospect referrals to help build each others’ businesses. Aside from referral groups, professionals can pass each other prospect referrals as a way to help their fellow professionals but also those that they refer.
Top prospects are identifying factors of your typical clients so that others can easily source them for you. Identifying your top prospects should be a priority as an entrepreneur or business owner because these identifying factors are what your referral group members should be looking for. Examples of top prospects could be California businesses with 50 or less employees, empty nesters located in the Tustin area, or medical professionals in the California area.
Connections referrals are what we call the gift that keeps on giving. Unlike prospect referrals, connection referrals are not directly in need of the professionals services. Rather, they are introduced to the professionals so that they can partner up and recommend each others’ services to their clients. When joining a referral group like MNO, members pass each other connection referrals as an effort to help expand the network of trusted professionals for each other outside of their respective groups.
Top connections are certain professions who are able to refer business to you as part of their process of onboarding or nurturing clients. Typically, they are professions in the same industry who do not compete, but in fact whose services complement each other. An example of top connections would be CPAs and financial advisor or realtors and mortgage lenders. These top connections can easily recommend each others’ clients without risk of losing business. In fact, recommending each other helps build their own brands as being the go-to professionals for any needs that their clients may have.
Referrals’ two requirements
Before passing a referral to a fellow professional, you’ll want to satisfy two requirements: the need and the intro. Without satisfying both requirements the opportunity is merely a lead, and we do not advise passing leads to each other.
Even though the prospect may fit all the identifying factors for the person you’re referring to, they may not have a need for their services. An example of that is when referring a home owner to mortgage broker when they’d just signed mortgage docs three weeks prior. Establishing the need is extremely important since it prevents wasting both parties’ time. Establishing the need also applies to a connection referral. This is because they may already have an exclusive partnership with someone else and would have no need to connect.
Without making a formal introduction between a professional and a prospect, you’ll make it extra difficult for the professional to connect with them. For example, if you give the professional a prospect’s contact info, the prospect may never respond. But when you connect them on an email, text, or a phone call you’re bettering the chance of them connecting. The same thing applies to connections; it’s best to make introductions to keep both parties accountable in connecting with each other.
MNO: The Alternative to Traditional Networking
Fortunately, there’s a California-based company called MNO that developed an app that makes all what we suggested possible. The MNO Member App allows members to share others’ links across social media in a more effective way than ads.
Members create and share each others’ links through the app on social media in order to build each others’ business. Members also use the app to log all referrals passed between each other. In turn, members are able to log business bucks that are generated by these referrals. These logs help elevate the stature of members who play it forward to others, and this stature helps bring referrals their way. This is because there’s an understanding that they are a professional networker and know how to pass referrals to others.
If you’d like to visit an MNO chapter and promote your business one of our networking zooms, click here and register to attend. You can also visit their Facebook page to learn more. These zooms give a glimpse of the MNO Member App as well as a chance to meet other professionals.