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Thursday, December 30, 2010

BNI: The Five Fundamentals of Referrals

In my previous articles I've talked about the tremendous value of good business referrals and the sort of people you might team up with to increase your referral rate. Notice that we’re not talking about ‘leads’ here. Leads are simply names and contact details but a referral is much, much more. When Jack refers Jill to you, you know that Jill is looking for products or services like yours. What’s more, Jack has told Jill that he’s confident you’ll do a great job for her and – best of all – she’s looking forward to your call! In other words, a referral is warm and ready opportunity for new business. Magical things, these referrals...

So let’s look at the Five Fundamentals of Referrals – your gateway to better, more productive sales.

  1. Motivate through Givers Gain
    Givers Gain simply means that if you help my business, then I’ll want to help yours. Maybe not today or even tomorrow, but in time, what comes around goes around. Givers Gain is the central tenet of Business Network International (BNI) and it’s the reason why BNI is the largest and most successful networking organisation in the world.

  2. Instil confidence
    Confidence is vital in generating referrals. You must have confidence in what you are selling and the service you provide: if you don’t believe you can really help your customers, why should they? Good quality products that deliver clear benefits, good guarantees, keeping your promises, top quality after-service and even acting fairly and generously when something goes wrong (because everyone makes a mistake sometimes) will all go a long way to win your customers’ confidence and encourage them to recommend you to others.

  3. Educate who and how
    You might know exactly who makes a great customer for you – but don’t expect others to know that unless you teach them. As you build your team of referral givers around you, it’s essential that you educate them about the kind of customers and business you really want – and those you don’t want, too.

  4. Stay disciplined
    That’s it, really. Keep on track. Live Givers Gain and keep on building confidence and educating effectively. Don’t let standards slip.
    If times get tough, stay disciplined.
    If times are good, stay disciplined.

  5. Find the right referral partners
    If you read my last article on finding good referral partners you’ll be ahead of the game here. But good referral partners aren’t always as obvious as you might think. Can a will writer be much us as a referral partner to a photocopier engineer? Well yes, actually. As you develop your networking and referral skills, you can look more creatively to build a terrific network of referral partners. It all comes down to getting to know and better understand what others do, how they do it and who they work, rest or play with. Well-structured one-to-one meetings are a great way of really getting to know and learn more about your network and an ideal basis for generating Givers Gain referrals. (Try visiting an excellent referral meeting such as BNI and you’ll see how this works in practice.)

    So there you are: you’re ready to start out (or improve) on your referral success journey. Always remember though that there’s no end to the learning. Indeed, this article merely skims the surface of the huge and exciting subject of business referral, so be sure to find out more and enjoy learning all you can. I promise you that if you follow the rules, you’ll change your business (and probably your life) more than you can ever imagine.

Want to learn more? Get the best possible advice on building business through referrals in Iain Whyte’s new book, Life, Business and Speedboats available now at Iain Whyte is the Executive Director of BNI Scotland South and East and is a renowned author and speaks around the world.

With over 5,500 active chapters, and over 100,000 members throughout every populated continent worldwide, BNI is the largest and most successful business referral organization in the world. BNI was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner and the organization, which allows only one person from each profession to join a chapter, offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts, and most importantly, referrals. Last year alone, members of BNI passed 6.2 million referrals, generating 2.6 billion dollars’ worth of business.

For more information on BNI, please visit or call BNI Headquarters at 909.608.7575.

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The Emergence of The Relationship Economy
The Emergence of the Relationship Economy features TNNWC Founder, Adam J. Kovitz as a contributing author and contains some of his early work on The Laws of Relationship Capital. The book is available in hardcopy and e-book formats. With a forward written by Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame), it is considered a "must read" for anyone responsible for the strategic direction of their business. If you would like to purchase your own copy, please click the image above.


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