Networking - 6 Tips to Growing Profitable Referral Networks

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Networking and making a concerted effort to connect and grow your professional network can all too often fall by the wayside especially as business and firm owners get busy. But the other big reason is many just don’t see the value of connection and the amazing short and long terms bottom line result it can lead to in your business.

So we thought we would put together a little outline of how to prepare, plan and execute a consistent strategy to cover off your networking efforts and make it as easy as possible.

Plan

Make an effort to fit networking into your diary. We understand as a lawyer, you’re probably pretty busy most of the time. However, if you really aim to grow your business you need to fit time into your day to grow your referral network.

Even something as basic and effortless as tapping into your network each day to seek out a new introduction to someone in your industry. Over time this really small daily step will see you network and referral sources grow. Over time small number build up and you also tap into the exponential power of your network.

By making this a bit each day you will get a much larger and more profitable referral network established over time. But the longer you delay it the longer it will take you so get stuck into it today.

Use Meet-Ups

The reality is you need to be active in your professional community and industry. A starting point for this is to take the time to schedule in and attend relevant networking events or seminars. The big reason for this is how it plays into your broader networking efforts.

To produce referrals on the part of other connections whom you’ve generated business with, you also need to provide referrals yourself. People all too often forget the value proposition in their networking. Its all about demonstrating how you and your network might be a useful source of referrals for someone else that can help you.

You can even hold events of your own. This may sound like hard work but its an extremely effective strategy for growing your referral network and attracting new clients.

Make Sure Your Follow Up

Don’t be lazy, always follow up with someone who has given you their email or number. They did so for a reason and this is the very start of pushing them through to the end of the sales funnel. Just drop them a line or a note saying it was great to meet last week at the “event”. Would you have some time to catch up for a coffee so we can have more detailed chat about “xyz”.

Give First

This is an important one in that you should always approach your networking and connections with a value proposition. Which is why its so important to be strategic around who you connect and network with as you want to be focussed on people who you can help provide value to and who in return you know over time can open some key doors and referral sources for you.

This is why it’s key to approach networking with an open mind but strategic approach. You never know who might be able to open up a great opportunity for you and you also don’t know who you might be able to help.

Look Outside your Normal Network

This ties up with point 2 above but the key point here is to be creative and think laterally about who to connect and engage with. The reason for this is too many business and firm owners are much too narrow in their networking efforts and this can lead to an echo chamber effect where old ideas are just reinforced. You want to be tapping into fresh opportunities also which means growing out your network and focusing on events and meet-up which you might ordinarily ignore.

A good starting point is to have a think about some areas of professional development or skilling up in knowledge that you might actually have a genuine interest in. For example you might have a keen interest in smart contracts or blockchain. Take the time to head to some events or seminars that cover areas of genuine interest to you.

Be Accountable

The other thing to keep in mind is follow through. If you make a promise or organise a plan, make sure you stick to it. No one likes a flake especially not a potential client or referral. Remember when someone recommends you or vice versa you are representing each other to some degree and if you reflect poorly on your referral sources they won’t last long.