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It’s easy to become unnerved by the dipping economy, but staying true to your business and its core offering is crucial if you want to be seen as a credible supplier and stand a chance of being recommended by others.

Here are some of the most common ways in which businesses are ruining their chances of getting valuable referrals:

  • Promoting a different business or service every time you meet them  This will lead to no referrals because they’re not specialising in one area, which will eventually lead to confusion in professional stance and ultimately ruin their credibility with others.
  • Delivering a poor service and then not putting it right  I shouldn’t have to mention this one, but sadly it happened to one of my contacts in a networking group. Then what happened? That’s right, he told everybody! This is not the ideal situation when you need people to talk about how good your products and services are. The result was an instant loss of future referrals.
  • Selling to the group without any prior qualification  I always remind people of the following statement: the people in a networking group are your route to market, not your target market. This means that until they are properly qualified they don’t require the hard sell. If you do, the result will be people avoiding you.
  • Publicly asking for help and advice, then arguing with it or not doing anything about it  This has two effects on the person you are seeking help from. Firstly, the initial impact on the person that tried to help is they won’t bother wasting time like that again. But it also might communicate a form of one-upmanship.
  • You don’t need to ask for help if you are only going to ignore the advice given   This will demonstrate that the advice wasn’t needed in the first place, and that you thought you knew better. This doesn’t create a great overall impression.
  • Not giving (but expecting) referrals­ ­ I’m not talking here about “oh, you should really talk to xyz, he might know people that need your help”, but proper referrals – a qualified introduction to someone that needs your help (and is willing to pay for it). Result? People get fed up with your taking attitude and don’t bother with you.
  • Not connecting with people at a deep enough level  Until people really understand what it is you do, how can you expect them to give you referrals? Let alone trust you enough to refer you to their biggest client, where their reputation and credibility is on the line? So make sure that you are coming across as the leading expert in your field – and add some confidence in there too.

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