When you are in the business of sales, among the many key ingredients to your success is receiving referrals from as many sources as possible.
Wouldn?t it be nice if every morning you walked into your office and had a referral sitting there waiting for you on your desk?
Unfortunately it doesn?t work that way, but here are few suggestions that should help steer some referrals your way.
1. Referral Groups
There are many referral groups out there for you to choose from. The premise of a referral group is first and foremost to receive and give referrals.
It works something like this;
Once a week your referral group meets at a designated spot for breakfast or lunch, and the meeting typically lasts for an hour to an hour and a half.
These groups normally don?t allow for any kind of conflict between industries, so you will most likely be the only one representing your industry. For instance there is only one banker, one printer, one loan officer, etc., etc.
In the beginning you spend some time catching up and exchanging business cards. As you are eating, each person is given a minute or two to take the floor and talk about themselves and the company that they work for, and give the group an idea of what a good referral would be for them.
Personally, I have been involved with these groups in the past and find them to work extremely well. One of the more popular ones is Business Networking International (BNI). You can find a local chapter on the web.
Look at it from this point of view, if your group has twenty-five people in it, than consider it a sales force working for you. Don?t forget, you are required to give referrals also.
2. Chambers of Commerce
Every city, town, or county has a Chamber of Commerce. They are not hard to find, and they are fairly simple to join. You can easily find your local chapter on the web or in the yellow pages. They also advertise in local business directories and news papers.
The chamber is a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. They meet once a week usually with a luncheon at a local restaurant. The first half hour is a network and business card exchange, followed by lunch with announcements about upcoming events, and a guest speaker.
Before hand, tables are provided to display your literature and props, and be on hand to discuss your business.
Chambers also hold annual events that you can participate in. Their events are normally held in the form of business expositions where you can rent a booth to display and sell your products.
Chambers normally have a lot of members depending upon the location, so you will probably find yourself competing for business with other people in your industry.
I continue to be involved with my local chamber, and have found it to be very beneficial to my career. I have found these organizations great for meeting people as well.
Keep in mind, these organizations come with very reasonable annual fees?, so make sure it fits your budget.
Perhaps one of the best ways to get referrals is to give referrals. If you give someone a referral and it works out for them, they will love you and remember you forever. And in turn, send referrals back your way.
I have to say, throughout my career, I found this to be one very effective way to get referrals. You might want to consider teaming up with someone with a similar job in your industry. For instance, if you are a loan officer, team up with a realtor, or if you are a home inspector, you might team up with an appraiser.
These are three very effective ways to keep those referrals coming your way. They have worked for me, and I have found them to be a nice way to break up my week, and build relationships with other business people in my community. Give it a shot. You won?t be disappointed. Good luck!