One of the questions I get is, “how do I get more referrals?” Sometimes the question is posed like, “I’ve been networking and I’m not getting any business, can you recommend another network that might be better for me?” The first thing I ask myself: “Is this person referable?” All the referral strategy in the world will not help someone who is not referable.
Here are a few things I look for in assessing referability:
1. Professional Appearance
Being a Go-Getter, and coming from the real estate industry, I am inclined towards more formal business attire and appreciate a good power suit. However, I don’t expect everyone to show up in that way. The question is this: is the person professionally dressed for A) their profession, and B) the occasion/event where I interact with them. If I’m at a networking event, like a BNI meeting, a Chamber mixer, or a monthly business luncheon, where the primary purpose is business networking, I expect professional attire as a business owner or sales representative would represent the company. As Mike Macedonio says, dress like the business owner, not the technician.
Do they have experience and can they speak knowledgeably about their field? I’m not only looking for people who have 25 years as a business owner in that business. I’m okay with someone new in their business as long as they can demonstrate knowledge and confidence about their business. I need to know they’ll get the job done well. How they speak about what they do makes an impression. Do they mumble or are they clear?
If I’m in a networking group with someone and they show up sporadically, I worry about their dedication to their business. Can they keep a commitment? If they’re only half “in” for one of their commitments, are they like that with all their commitments? As someone invested in living by referral, I am looking for someone I can rely on. Not just today, tomorrow too. I will include in reliability: Are they on time? Chronically late does not make a good impression.
4. A Relational Attitude
When people try to sell to me the first time I meet them, they are not referable. People don’t like being sold to, people like to buy. When people lead with the sale it gives the impression they are transactional instead of relational – putting the sale (transaction) ahead of the person. Being referable means you care about people, service, and reputation. I want to refer to people who will take care of my people.
The first part of a referral strategy is understanding yourself and your referability. Would I find you referable?