Your network is one of your greatest tools to help you grow your business. Getting to know them and educating them on your business and services is vital to receiving quality referrals.
The challenge for many business professionals is in walking the line between educating their network on their ideal referrals and trying to sell their services. Oftentimes, educating your network as opposed to selling to them is as easy as changing the way you are describing your business.
To ensure you are helping educate your network, consider the following techniques.
- Teach your network what your “dream referral” is. As we say in BNI, specific is terrific. Not only does being specific help your network keep you top of mind in situations where your dream referral is possible, it also helps them know what your business does to the extent that they feel comfortable referring you. The more details you can provide, the easier it will be for your network to help you grow.
- Share the details, not the high-level view of your business. Never refer to your company as “full service.” This does you a disservice by making it harder for your network to visualize what you do. Again, specific is terrific.
- Be transparent about your services. Sometimes when we sell to others, we have a tendency to only share the things we are best at. While it is important to tell your network about your dream referral, also sharing the services that aren’t your strongest can help narrow down what referrals you get, and increase the likelihood that referrals will be positive experiences. If you receive a referral for a job you are so-so at, and complete it, you may damage your credibility by doing work that isn’t top quality.
- Share the qualities current or past customers had. By sharing with your network the types of clients you currently or previously work with, you’re more likely receive referrals for customers similar to these groups. If married, middle-aged men who work in automotive are clients that you have previously had a lot of success with for your landscaping service, wouldn’t you want more clients just like them?
- Success stories can help sell your business. Before and after pictures, testimonials, and other methods to show your network tangible examples of your work are great techniques to help your network see the value in what you do, and can give them specific examples to use when communicating your services to others.
- Offering samples may help as well as success stories. Do you provide a product or service that you can offer a sample of to your network? If so, providing a sample of your product can help your network see how it works and visualize someone they know who may benefit from it.
How do you educate your network on your products and services? Join the conversation on Facebook, and tell us how you help your network learn your business.