Who's in My Business Referral Network? - By Bizogy®
What’s a Business Referral Network?
A business referral network can be a formal network of businesses and individuals who have formally agreed to actively refer work to each other, or an informal list of companies and individuals you would like to see succeed in business. Whatever type of business referral network you have or decide to create, it should include companies that are successful or want to succeed, and want to see you succeed in business too.
Business owners and employees, particularly those in the services industries, are trusted by their customers and clients and are considered to be experts in their particular fields. They are frequently asked who they would recommend for specific related services, and many times for unrelated services. By knowing ahead of time who you would refer a friend, family member, customer or client to for a particular business need, you appear more confident and qualified in your own business and are better prepared to fill the business needs of others. The more your customers can rely on you, the more they trust you and will be likely to refer others to you.
Why have a Business Referral Network?
Being part of a Business Referral Network means there are other businesses who know about your business, know you are looking for new business and can actively direct additional business to you. Others in your business referral network who see that you are interested in their business success and who receive business referrals from you will also be more likely to learn about your business and refer business to you. It may take some time to create, but the business benefits of having a formal Business Referral Network far outweighs the time spent in establishing and maintaining one. By associating yourself with other creative and innovative companies you expand your possibilities for greater creativity and innovation.
Identify Your Business Referral Network
1) Make a list of the people you know who provide products or services to the public in a creative way.
Your initial list will likely include friends, family, associations you belong to, businesses you work with in your industry, private networking groups, fellow church members, chambers of commerce, vendors to your business and other key businesses you rely on for the success of your company. Those you include in your initial list may be local or anywhere in the world. There may be some companies you want to keep a secret from the world or don’t want others to know you use – that’s okay. Everyone’s got a secret supplier for something and it makes sense to keep some contacts secret so you don’t lose that advantage. But everyone also knows many people they trust for various services and who they want to help succeed in business.
When your customers and those you do business with succeed, their ability to help you with your business needs increases as well. By including those individuals and companies in your Business Referral Network, you increase their chance for business success and increase your own by expanding your ability to get qualified referrals. Start by thinking of who you know that does business, who you use for different business services, who you would like to see succeed in business and who you might like to get to know better. It is best if you have some business or social association or contact with these people and companies, but it is not always required.
2) Decide what type of Business Referral Network you want to have.
Your referral network may be a formal referral network where you choose only particular business categories or key referral sources to maximize referral options. Alternatively, you may choose to create an informal network where you include everyone who you want to see succeed whether they are related to your business or not and whether they directly refer work to you or not. Or you may choose somewhere in between. There are as many types of business referral networks as there are businesses. Bizogy®'s focus is on creative and innovative companies and those who work with or want to work with creative and innovative companies.
The key to success with a referral network is to let as many people as possible know why you are unique, how you can solve their business needs in a creative way, and that you are looking to help more people. As your Referral Network becomes aware of others with those particular needs, they will refer them to you because they or someone they know trusts you. If you are also included in the Referral Networks of others, when their customers are looking to fill a particular business need they will come to you because they know someone who trusts you. Having a thorough and complete referral network ranging across many different disciplines is generally better than having a referral network from just a few different disciplines because more people come to know and understand your business.
Create Your Business Referral Network List
After you have decided what type of business referral network you want to have, review your initial list and identify who should be included in your formal Referral Network list. For those in your formal list, identify the relevant contact information and write it down as a formal list. This way you can give specific referrals when you are asked by others to refer them to a trusted company. To get more from your formal Referral Network list and increase the marketing value of your Business Referral Network, you should establish your Business Referral Network on a site like Bizogy where your Referral Network knows you are referring work to them (and will be more likely to refer work back), and where those who trust you can look to get your recommendations without the need to necessarily contact you directly. Many times customers would rather do a Google search than call up someone they know because it is faster and they don’t feel like they’re bothering someone. The risk in that approach, however, is that they never know exactly what they are going to get with just a Google search. Even on directory sites with recommendations, you can never be sure who is giving the recommendation or whether that person has any reason to know what they are talking about. Better to direct your customers, friends and associates in the right direction in the most convenient possible way.
Maximize the Benefit of Your Business Referral Network!
Your formal Business Referral Network list may stay the same for a long time or you may modify it as needed to include additional people and companies or to remove those who you no longer want in your referral network. You should regularly review and update your formal Referral Network list to add new strategic and innovative companies to your list and to confirm those on the list are still the best ones for your network. Bizogy® allows you to modify and update your formal Referral Network as often and as much as needed through a convenient online interface.
If there are some on your list who no longer seem to fit with your ideal network, you can remove them from your list and remove your recommendation from their page. Check to see that each member of your Referral Network is including you in their Business Referral Network. If not, you may decide to remove them from your Referral Network and replace them with another qualified professional or company that does the same or similar work who wants to help you succeed as well. The beauty of an active Business Referral Network is that it can be modified at any time. Including your Referral Network among the many on Bizogy® helps you to get the most of your Referral Network.