Building Your Business with Referrals and Networking

Building Your Business with Referrals and Networking
 One of the most effective ways to grow your business is also one of the most traditional: building a loyal customer base through networking and referrals. In today’s connected society, people are eager to tell their friends about new products or services, so getting referrals from satisfied customers is an excellent way to expand your sales and client list. Also, old-fashioned, face-to-face networking is a technique that can help build that list of new referrals faster than almost anything else.

There are some differences in types of referrals, though. A less valuable but still important kind is the name, email address and phone number received from an existing customer. Be careful pursuing these types of referrals because the person who was referred may not be aware of the situation and could think your call is annoying or intrusive. Approach delicately, and be strategic. 

On the other hand, an existing customer who actually facilitates a sale by setting up phone calls for you, arranging a meeting between yourself and the new referral, or  bringing the person in the door to your office or store is the most valuable referral there is.

For all types of referrals, the key to success is to make the referral process a habit. If you only ask for referrals when you remember to, you may feel embarrassed asking, and you won’t get many referrals or fully benefit from those you do get.

Like any business effort, you need to set measurable goals so you can determine the most effective strategies. Set a definite number on how many contacts you want to make and how many networking opportunities and events you would like to attend in a given time. Setting goals is the key to determining how you’ll assess the success of your networking efforts.

When it’s all said and done, people do business with the people they know and like. Networking and referrals are still the best way to become familiar with a larger section of your customer base.