Have you ever networked so hard with so many different people, trying to get referrals, you felt like collapsing in a heap?
Do you find yourself going to event after event, meeting more and more people, hoping to grow your business with referrals?
Are you feeling frustrated that you never seem to get as many referrals as they promise to send you?
I remember when I first discovered the concept of referral marketing.
“You beauty!” I thought to myself.
“I’ve finally found a way to grow my business that doesn’t require effort from me!”
“All these referral partners will send business to me and I can sit back, relax and watch the money roll in!”
Boy, was I wrong!
I remember attending my first networking event…
I put on my favourite business outfit – black suit, black and white checked blouse, with a bright blue necklace (this is pretty much a uniform staple for me!)
Polished up my black heels…
Grabbed a wad of business cards…
And stepped into a room full of people I didn’t know…
Here’s something I don’t talk about often…
I suffer from social anxiety…
So, networking events are HARD for me…
I love intimate meetings with two to four people…
But put me in a room full of 50 strangers, and I can panic.
But I was committed to getting through it
Just the thought of having 50 strangers being willing to grow my business for me, kept me powering through my panic.
So, I mingled
Business cards were handed out left, right and centre
Then I went back to my office and waited
And waited, and waited some more.
No one was sending referrals to me.
Even though I had given out all my business cards.
Although I had taken everyone else’s cards.
Still, the phone wasn’t ringing.
Then I had my “ah-ha” moment.
I had a whole pile of business cards from other people
And I hadn’t touched them
How could I possibly expect them to refer to me, and trust me with their clients, if I wasn’t making any effort at all?
So I created a formula for getting access to their client database (and vice versa, of course)
This is the formula I used to get more referrals
I approached my favourite professional service providers, who I had met at these events.
You know the ones: mortgage brokers, conveyancers, solicitors, accountants, financial planners, mortgage brokers (and a few sales people too – because I didn’t have a sales team).
I asked them to write a 250-300 word article that would go into my monthly landlord newsletter.
They got to include a photo and contact info as part of their article, and this would go out to my database.
Then, in return, I asked to do the same with their monthly newsletter – which gave me exposure to their database.
As a side note, if you’re not sending monthly newsletters, but you’re blogging (which I feel is even better than newsletters anyway), just “guest blog” for each other – and be sure to send your blogs out to your database AND social media channels.
Once I started this process, there was a sense of comradery between us and a real friendship grew.
In friendship, I started to refer my clients to them.
And they returned the favour, referring their clients to me.
It’s a process though – don’t drop the ball
Just because you do a newsletter once, doesn’t mean you’ll instantly get referrals
You need to put in the effort to develop relationship with these people
To be meeting with them regularly (every 4-6 weeks worked well for me)
Looking for opportunities to refer to them
Working together on joint marketing ideas, that push your name out to more people
It’s like anything really…
You need to do the work
Keep growing that network, and keep growing your rent roll.
If you’d like my step by step process I use for growing my referrals click here to download the Referral Marketing Blueprint.
If you haven’t seen my last blog titled Blitz Your Rent Arrears (and the Jade Owl) be sure to check that out next!