Monday, November 2, 2009

Asking for referrals

The subject of when it is right to ask for referrals came up at a networking meeting last week. In 'Are you stuck doing lots of networking with little reward?' I wrote about Mike macedonio's talk at the Referral Institute Conference on the VCP process (tm). VCP is the acronym Dr. Ivan Misner uses for Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability.

Mike emailed this 'nugget' to me afterward on this very subject:

"I do believe that in order to get referrals we need to ask. The key, however, is to know how to ask and when it is appropriate to make the request. When is the right time, you ask? The right time to ask for a referral is when BOTH parties are in the Credibility phase of the referral relationship. Networking should not be a system which ends up alienating your friends and family. Be conscious of the deposits you make into your relationships before you start “writing checks” or, in essence, ASKING for referrals from those you have relationships with."

As I wrote last week to be in this 'credibility' phase requires that each party knows each other and what they do and they perceive each other to be reliable and worthy of confidence. It's no good asking for a referral before someone even really knows you.

Just being part of a group does not mean you are known. You have to put some effort into building relationships. As I have written previously 'You don't get fit just by joining a gym' you have to follow a good process. I spoke to someone else last week who had been a member of a group for a year, but received no referrals. Part of the problem was he was not even known by many other of the others as he had only been able to attend one in four of the meetings! When you join a group make sure you can attend regularly and invest time in getting to really know the other members first.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke
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