Referrals are part of branding, and part of branding is having people know your name, face and what you're about at the exact moment they need what you're selling. Or when they need just about anything else.
I knew I'd "arrived" when two things happened in the same week: one of my clients backed through her garage door (think of that the next time you think you're having a bad day), and another client's wife needed her hair done for a big event and was new to town. Both reached out to me, asking for a quick and qualified recommendation.
Nope, I don't fix garage doors or do hair, yet my positioning as someone who is "in the know" made me seem like a logical call in a time of need. How can you put yourself in the same position? Here are my suggestions:
- Get out and get connected. Network like crazy to find folks who do taxes, legal services of all kinds, fix stuff (like garage doors, cars, and leaky faucets), or sell really cool stuff (like 1200 thread count sheets for $40!).
- Create real relationships with them, know exactly who they are and what they do. Let them know you'll be referring them as often as you can, and to please take good care of your referrals.
- Make connections between your connections. When you meet two people who need to know each other, introduce them.
- Be seen, heard and known. Go out, grip 'n grin, be interested in other people by learning about them, and soon people will know you and what you do. Which means ...
- Your reputation will take care of itself.