Marketing Mishaps: Asking for Referrals Before You've Earned Them
One of the most significant things about getting referrals is asking for them. Strangely, many people are reluctant to ask their satisfied clients to refer business to them. International sales coach and trainer Connie Kadansky would refer to this as a form of Sales Call Reluctance. But sometimes it goes the other way. People ask for referrals long before they've earned them.
You've probably been to a networking event where people were doing the Businesscard Shuffle. Plunging their card under your nose the moment you step within three feet of them, mumbling as they do so something along the lines of, "Hi.MynameisSallyandI'marealestateagent.Letmeknowifyou knowanyonewhoisbuyingorsellingahouse." You've never met Sally before tonight, don't know the first thing about her, and have absollutely no reason in the world to refer her - paticularly as you already have several qualified REALTORs in your network.
This has happened to me on numerous occasions, and I always walk away from that person shaking my head as I throw their card in the trash. Lately, I've been seeing something similar on the social networking sites. People writing in their INTROS, "Hi, my name is So-and-So. I'm in Such-and-Such business. Please refer people who needs Such-and-Such business to me." No. Wrong. Missing the point, entirely.
You probably wouldn't ask someone to marry you on the first date - so why would you enter into a face-to-face or social networking situation expecting to get a client wthout first creating a relationship? It's completely backwards thinking.
Social networking, just like face-to-face networking, is NOT about getting new clients. At least not directly. Yes, that may be an end result ... but first, there is the introduction. Then the courtship, which blossoms into a relationship. And finally ... maybe ... if the right person is in the right time and space to need you, a business transaction. But if the business transaction is your goal from the start, chances are you may not be seeing as much success as you'd like in your networking endeavors.
Just as in so many other areas of life, the 80/20 rule works well in social networking. Build and strengthen your relationships 80 percent of the time; promote your business 20 percent of the time. Enter conversations. Share links and resources. Provide quality content. Give without expectations (thanks, Joey Sampaga). And stop asking for referrals before you've earned them. Definitely ask for them - just not before you've dated for a while.
This is Day 4 in the 60-Day Content Challenge. See you tomorrow for the next post!
Sign up today for Laura's next workshop, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! Or e-mail your questions on referrals - or any aspect of marketing - to Laura.