Referral Partners are People Too!

A large part of developing referral relationships is to really get to ‘know’ the people who are important in your business world. That’s not an excuse to be insincere, nor scheming in developing your relationships, but you need to be cognisant of the algorithm “Know, Like and Trust” to get referrals, with the emphasis on “know” and “like”.

It’s clearly easier to “like” someone if they are interested in your personal well-being as much as they are in your commercial well-being. Even when you know the motivation might have a commercial foundation, it is still a positive experience to know they are aware of your personal interests and passions. When I receive an unexpected note, or small invitation to a sporting event from my local Real Estate Agent, I know he’s just ‘schmoozing’a future prospect, but it’s still engaging to think he’s thought about it!

One of the fascinations I’ve had in studying referral relationships is the way that the personal ‘vibe’ between two people will often be a far stronger connective force than the natural symbiotic referral position of their respective businesses. For example, even if say, a builder and a painter have a natural referral opportunity within their businesses, I’ve seen cases where the most referrals for the painter might come from a totally unrelated industry, purely because that unrelated contact just likes the person so much they are always promoting them to their network.

For some business people it comes perfectly naturally to get to ‘know’ someone at a personal level, collecting personal ‘data’ in our headspace about birthdays, children, pets, holiday preference, entertainment preference, sports teams, home choices, car choices, food, allergies, health issues or mindsets and so on .. but for many of us programmed to push and promote business opportunities it’s not so obvious and so we need reminding.

The most powerful referral partnerships always have a solid foundation in the personal connections we have with the other people in our network, not necessarily because they have a great product or service. Having a great product or service definitely makes it easier to refer, but doesn’t guarantee that the referrer will be motivated to expend the energy or risk on creating the referral. Whereas, if you add in the personal connection, the common threads within two people’s lives will have them front of mind, more often, will have the right conversations on the tip of the tongue, more often, and therefore will be in more conversations, more often.

So next time you’re working on a referral relationship, remember, referral partners are people too … find out what’s happening in their world … family, holidays, challenges, aspirations, entertainment and so on. You might be surprised how much you have in common, and how closer you can build that relationship!

This post first appeared on The Referral Edge.