Small business BIG growth®
Words by Lex Brown, Connector of People and Businesses
A great network is built on trust and rapport and one of the key ways of building and maintaining that trust, is through being able to add value to one another.
The catch in this of course is that first you need to meet someone who is on the same page as you when it comes to developing that sort of trusted relationship, and then, that their networks are potentially valuable, or useful to you.
Thankfully the internet and social media have made it somewhat easier to locate and identify other people who may be able to add value to your network, and of course, whose networks you could add value to.
So where do you start? Until you know what your target audience looks like, you can’t be precise about who else is providing a professional product or service to them, so;
What does your target audience look like? That is, what industry are they in? What size business are they? Or are you targeting individuals? Business size can be defined by turnover, number of personnel, or “seats’ or however you like to define it. Are they in the B2B space, or B2C space? Where are they (geographically) and what other types of products or service are they likely to need?
Or if you’re targeting individuals, what other characteristics or interests are they likely to have, that will help you identify the people who serve them.
The next step is to identify professional advisors and others who supply goods and services, to your particular target audience If your target audience are small to medium businesses in the B2B space that might be accountants, finance brokers, lawyers, telecoms providers, IT suppliers etc. These are your potential referral partners.
This is the group that is most likely to be in a position to assist you, however, why should they?
Robert Cialdini, in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” talks about the ‘six laws of influence’. I don’t intend to go into them all here, and although all are relevant, the ‘law’ of reciprocity is particularly so. Reciprocity is where people tend to return a favour when they’ve been done one. It is a human behaviour which underlines our innate desire to return the favour to someone who helps us.
So the basis of getting to know your referral partners is, how can you genuinely help them.
The ways you can do this are limited only by your imagination and joint creativity and might include: connecting them with others who can help them, referring clients to them, offering your product or service to their clients, creating a joint venture opportunity, where together you package an offering from each of you in a compelling way, to both your contact databases.
Once you have developed a level of trust, there are all sorts of joint opportunities that can and should be explored.
One of the key ways which I add value to my referral partners, is by creating an opportunity for them to meet one another, in a social environment, where they can get to know, and develop trusted relationships with other Referral Partners who share a similar client profile to theirs, and are likely to offer a product or service which is complementary to their own.
Focus: know who it is that you want to meet and why
Be genuine: If your ultimate objective, is not to help as many people as you can, then you’re in the wrong business.
Follow up: Great relationships don’t come from one meeting, follow up and
Follow through: Always do what you say you will.
After 35 years in his own businesses, retail, real estate and recruitment, Lex is now working with Earlypay providing cash flow finance to growing small businesses.