The key to referral networking in 2023 is attracting the clients you want through referral partnerships in place with trusted advisors who are already working with the type of clients you want to serve.
Remember most professionals are in the same situation as you. They also depend on referrals. The best referral to a client is one that comes from a trusted professional who has recommended you to help a client solve a problem. In these cases, you have immediate credibility, and the client is excited to meet and work with you. So how do you identify the others who will support you, and you them?
Let’s start with current obstacles.
Don’t let the pandemic or the impending recession keep you from meeting awesome professionals who can have a positive impact on you personally and your business.
If you are a service professional (attorney, accountant, consultant, financial advisor, broker, etc.), you depend on other professionals that will call you with a referral to the right client. Like so many others, you may feel isolated as the pandemic has inhibited your ability to meet new referral sources. Maintaining and developing new referral partnerships has been challenging.
So, if it has become more difficult to meet the right people to develop the right relationships what is the solution going forward? Many professionals are working from home. Networking events are limited. Zoom calls are not as personal as meeting someone in person. Now we are dealing with a recession that could make referrals more difficult to come by.
Will we ever go back to “life as it was” before Covid? Will this be our “new normal”?
Regardless of these issues, all service professionals must continue to do great work for clients, AND bring new clients to their firms.
They must find a way to build and sustain a successful business. Successful revenue producers tend to be purposeful, intentional, and passionate about their businesses. They are the ones who are promoted, earn partner status in their firms and make the most money.
The Solo practitioner’s survival depends on their ability to make their phone ring with the right referrals coming from trusted referral relationships.
As you consider the people you know, how many have the ability to refer you the business you want?
You may have many people in your contact management system, but more than likely, there are very few who can deliver the right clients. Based on that assessment, can you count on those people to call you and not your competitors?
If most of the people you have identified are acquaintances, you are not likely to get the call. Why? Because the referrer has many choices. They will likely send it to someone they have met more recently than you or someone where they can create leverage.
Do you have an action plan for referral networking in 2023?
Make sure you have completed your business planning and established goals for your business for the new year. If your goals include increasing your revenue and income, take stock of how the goals will be achieved. Do you have clarity on the type and size of clients you want to pursue? How strong is your brand in those markets and market segments?
The first step in identifying the “right” person is to determine if you have the “ four connectors” in common.
That is, does the person have the right connectors to make a good referral partner?
- type of clients and
- size of clients
This is a very important first step but it is challenging. If you belong to a networking group and you attend functions the likelihood of meeting the right match is minuscule. Why? Attendees do not wear badges that have the information you need! You will be lucky to meet and spend time with five people at a function. As you speak with them, you will learn that most if not all are more than likely working with clients outside your focus and your ability to help them. Many professionals feel they waste a lot of time attending these functions for those very reasons.
Once you connect then what?
Should you meet someone who has the “four initial connectors”, you must determine if they have the qualities you want in a referral partnership to help each other’s business long term. In many respects, it is not much different when you are looking for your life partner. The potential initial connectors in a personal relationship that make you want to meet someone could include their facial expressions, their eyes, their hair, their smile.
We all have dated various people but after we connect, we typically find “the one” based on three important qualities:
- having common interests
The importance of the vetting process
In a professional relationship, we call the first stage the “likability factor”. Investing time with someone to really get to know them is important. We need to like the person if we are considering a long-term referral partnership. None of us are ever going to refer someone we don’t feel good about.
In the second stage, we need to understand if we both have similar clients in common. That is, the type and size of each other’s clients match up fairly well. If it is a fit we know we can help each other over the long term.
In the third stage, we want to work with someone who is also purposeful, intentional, and passionate about their business. They do what they say they will do. If they are a flake and lack integrity the relationship will go nowhere.
Up until now, it has been very difficult to connect with the right people and go through a vetting process to determine if a referral partnership is viable. LinkedIn is a big bucket that has a lot of people but trying to find the right person is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. There are many networking groups around the country but taking the precious time to attend various functions, many in the evening when you want to be home with family, produces minimal results.
The Referral Networking in 2023 Solution – Accelerate your Action Plan With The Right Tools
Based upon our experience working with professionals over the past 24 years and the challenges of the current environment to develop the right relationships, we decided it was time to meet these challenges head-on. This past year, we have developed the solution for professionals who want referral partnerships committed to results. It is a mobile app named “Relpip” and our mission is to create a community of like-minded professionals who want to grow and sustain successful businesses by developing referral partnerships that we call “Relationships of Distinction”(RD).
We recognize that acquaintances come and go but referral partnerships matter. Everyone who becomes part of the Relpip community will be able to identify and connect with the right people immediately based on the “four connectors”. No more “kissing frogs”. No more wasting time at networking events. In the comfort of a member’s office, home or wherever they are they can connect with the right person. Once a connection occurs both members enter the 3 stage vetting process to determine if a referral partnership is possible. The time invested will be well worth the effort as the relationship could be meaningful for many years. If the vetting process is successful they both agree to an explicit agreement that sets forth their commitment to each other.
So there you have it! If you are serious about your business and you need a more predictable way to get the referrals you want in 2022 and beyond we invite you to give consideration to joining us in this exciting opportunity. The app is free and is in the App Store (IOS) and the Goggle Play Store (Android).
We are currently in our build up of the community and for those who want to download the app to help us begin to populate the community, we are offering a complementary premium upgrade to our national membership ($399 value). For more information on the app and the community, please go to https://relpip.com.