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Anyone know how to start/create your own referral network?

I understand asking referrals from current customers, but what about working with Channel Partners, or even recruiters who specialize in your niche?

What are some sure ways of developing a referral network that's beneficial for BOTH parties. Other ideas, besides just asking current customers would be great.

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    • Profile picture of Colin Campbell
      @colin-campbell
      ( 4.4k POINTS )
      2 days, 17 hours ago

      Great question, @saleslearner!

      I know Joanne Black did a class with me on this a while back, so I’ll start by just sharing that:

      I’ve seen businesses offer paid referral programs to customers, or offer a share of receipts with other partners, but I honestly don’t know how well those programs actually work, since I’ve never actually administrated one myself.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help! Maybe there’s a nugget of wisdom in that webinar that helps 🙂

    • Profile picture of Mary Green 🔹
      @marygreencny
      ( 4.9k POINTS )
      2 days, 16 hours ago

      What have you already tried @saleslearner?

      A member from the 6-month career goal thread is working on her referral network, her name is @jw30

      The most helpful piece of advice I have come across about this is simply asking the question.

      • Profile picture of Mary Green 🔹
        @marygreencny
        ( 4.9k POINTS )
        2 days, 16 hours ago

        @gregpoirier might have some experience to share here as well.

        • Profile picture of Dae Kang
          @saleslearner
          ( 1.9k POINTS )
          1 day, 13 hours ago

          Mary! Thank you for those referrals, I’ll see if I can get in touch with them for some gold nuggets. 🙂

          To answer your question, I suppose I haven’t really done much except reach out to our channel partners. Even that is still in the works.

    • Profile picture of Gina Jacoy
      @gina
      ( 300 POINTS )
      2 days, 12 hours ago

      The one thing that helps me the most is making sure to talk to people sincerely and get to know them well. When I am at any kind of event, or just living my life, I take time to get to know people. I do this in a very conversational way by always asking people what they do for a living and what they wish they were doing. This gets them talking to me and sharing with me a part of themselves. And we all know how much everyone like to talk about themselves. I make mental notes of how I might be able to help THEM network and grow in their own careers.

      Paying close attention to others and not always being in “sales mode” has served me well over the years. I get to know people really well and then when I do ask for referrals, it isn’t something aggressive or off-putting. I am a big believer that a GREAT sales network is built slowly, by touching the lives of many people. Because you never know who someone is or who someone knows until you take the time to really know this person. And people will always work with people that they know, trust and like before going with a stranger – even if the price is higher!

      These connections will be more receptive to you when asking for referrals after you have shown that you care about them. And that’s how you build clients and referrals for life. Nothing in sales is instantaneous. We all know how many times we need to cast the line before the fish bites! Happy fishing!!

      • Profile picture of Dae Kang
        @saleslearner
        ( 1.9k POINTS )
        1 day, 13 hours ago

        @gina thank you for this insight! I like that you said, don’t always be in “sales mode.” One I’m trying to work very hard on actually – omg it’s tricky! haha

        I also like that you mentioned, it takes TIME. I don’t go to any tradeshows and in-person events for my job. Is there a method to creating a referral network through LI?

        Now that I think about it, are there different types of referral networks? Would channel partnership be considered referral network as well?

      • Profile picture of Mary Green 🔹
        @marygreencny
        ( 4.9k POINTS )
        16 hours, 47 minutes ago

        @gina I love your answer, the point where you ask people what they were doing is genius. I’d love to see if you would be interested in starting a discussion asking others how they successfully network professionally, I’m sure the community would appreciate seeing your perspectives while offering their own.

    • Profile picture of Stephanie Lippincott
      @slipps
      ( 2.2k POINTS )
      1 day, 14 hours ago

      I love being a connector and a networker. Some of my best referrals come from people who have never done business with me. Build authentic relationships and operate in excellence in your craft. People will think of you first. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to ask your business acquaintances to refer you. My grandad always said, “if you dig ditches, do it the best. When people need a ditch dug, they’ll call you.” That always stuck with me.

      • Profile picture of Stephanie Lippincott
        @slipps
        ( 2.2k POINTS )
        1 day, 13 hours ago

        I’ll also add that my company has a referral partner program and if an introduction leads to a sale, we pay a percentage back monthly for the life of the contract. Not sure if that’s an option, but I’ve been known to send gift cards to say thanks for a good referral.

      • Profile picture of Dae Kang
        @saleslearner
        ( 1.9k POINTS )
        1 day, 13 hours ago

        @slipps, love your grandfather’s quote. I get it!

        I’m trying to find a starting point. How should I start? Is there a ‘targeting process’ (sort of like prospecting for sales) for building up your referral network if you’re just starting out?

        • Profile picture of Stephanie Lippincott
          @slipps
          ( 2.2k POINTS )
          1 day, 11 hours ago

          @saleslearner start with whose engaging with your posts on LinkedIn. Also, look at the people who’s posts you comment on. Are they a good fit for your products/services or are they connected to your target customer? Comment on their posts then bridge the conversation to Inmail and ask if they have clients or connections who could benefit from what you do, but also ask more about what they do to see if you can share their information with anyone you know. Referrals work both ways.

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