I have known about referral marketing for quite a while now but have never really done much about it.
I once referred a good friend of mine that started up his own website company to join the referral group call Business Network International (aka BNI) which he did, and because he followed my advice he was able to build his business very quickly and become successful within a year of launching his biz.
But I never got involved.
A few years back I joined the Chamber of Commerce and went to a couple of meet ups that they hold each month, but I never really got anything from it. And I know why. And I’ll explain what my mistake was a little bit further in this post.
I let that membership run out.
Now, here in 2015, I am finding that other than the few people that find my business due to my advertising efforts with SEO marketing, Yellowpages, Craigslist ads and the like most people have no clue that my company even exists. And this is costing me business.
And it probably is costing you a lot of business too.
The solution is to get your name out there, mingle with other business leaders and owners so that they can help you with that. And how this is done is by joining referral networks like BNI or Caerusnet, or even local Chambers of Commerce. Join charities on non-profit organizations and volunteer for things that align with your passion.
Sponsor sports teams and holes at golf tournaments.
This can seem very daunting. And it can be very intimidating especially if you are not a “people person”, which is a notion that I find completely ridiculous if your a business leader or owner. My general manager is one of these “non-people people” and hates to go to network meetings and functions. Why? Because he feels uncomfortable. Meeting new people can be a challenge if you have personal esteem issues but to be in business and in a position of leadership you need to get over those issues with a quickness.
The reason I failed was not because I wasn’t a people person; I am. I love to mingle with people and get to know them. My problem was that I didn’t know how to build relationships with other businesses. I didn’t know how to use these network groups and functions so that they could work for me.
But here is the rub. There is this new company called Amazon. They sell a tremendous amounts of books and products, and some of those books that they sell are on the subject of Networking. Isn’t that amazing! There is also this organization that has been around for hundreds of years that actually lend you books for free to read; they are called Libraries.
Another great way to learn to build relationships within these network groups is by building relationships in those networking groups.
Here is a simple method you can use to build up friendship and relationships:
- Go up to someone and introduce yourself.
- Ask them who and what they do
- Be interested in the things they say.
- Find points of common interest like sports, movies, hobbies etc
- When you see them again, go and talk with them.
See how easy that was?
So, as you can see, going and being a part of one of these network groups can be very beneficial to building and establishing your business in the community.
Do this often, and eventually when some one needs your business the first person that they will think of is YOU!