Melinda Jones is a skilled accountant, but networking events have always made her feel uncomfortable. As a social introvert, she struggles to make small talk with strangers and often feels drained and anxious after such events.
However, Melinda knows that referrals are critical to the growth of her accounting business, so she decided to find a way to overcome her discomfort and connect with other service professionals who also work with privately held businesses in the 5 to 50 million revenue range.
With her new mentality, she met Wanda Kisner, a social extrovert and a successful HR consultant who also works with the same type and size of clients. Wanda seemed to thrive in networking environments.
Initially, Melinda was intimidated by Wanda’s outgoing personality and ability to work a room. However, Melinda recognized the potential for a strong referral partnership and decided to connect with Wanda one-on-one the next day.
They agreed to meet for coffee at the local Starbucks. When they met and got to know each other, Melinda shared her anxieties about networking events and how she struggled to connect with people in such settings.
They both agreed that networking events make it difficult to connect with the right people and the likelihood of being remembered was very remote. For the time invested, they both felt the results were minimal.
To Melinda’s surprise, Wanda was empathetic and open to hearing about her experience. Wanda shared that she used to feel the same way but had developed some mental tricks to make networking events more manageable.
Wanda also recognized Melinda’s unique strengths as a social introvert. She appreciated Melinda’s ability to listen and observe, recognizing the importance of deep and meaningful relationships. Wanda mentioned that this was something she also valued and had been trying to work on more.
As their conversation continued, Melinda began to open up more and share more about her strengths. She mentioned her ability to work with privately held companies and provide tailored financial solutions that helped them grow. Wanda saw the potential in Melinda and offered to introduce her to some of her clients who she thought might benefit from her expertise.
Together, Melinda and Wanda began to see that a long term referral partnership made a lot of sense based on their mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s strengths. They really enjoyed each other on a personal level, they knew they could help one another because they both worked with similar type and size of clients and most importantly, they knew that they could count on each other.
They agreed to meet once a month for a quick virtual meeting to update each other on anything that might be helpful that occurred during the previous month including introductions to other potential referral partners.
They agreed that the goal was to help each other with one meaningful client referral over the course of the year. Anything more then that would be a bonus!
Over time, they knew their referral partnership would continue to grow and strengthen. Melinda’s accounting business has already received referrals from Wanda and her group of referral partners, and in return, Melinda and her referral partners referred some of their clients to Wanda for HR consulting services.
Together, they are building a strong and successful referral partnership that will benefit both of their businesses over a number of years.