Growing your business is a time-consuming task. It takes dedication and business-savvy to start, grow, and maintain your customer-base into the future. A referral network can help that process along by establishing professional connections in your community who recommend your products or services to individuals in their own circles of clients, friends, or family. So how do you build your business referral network from ground zero? There are three steps in the process: finding your community, establishing your connections, and sustaining your network.
Referral networks tend to be based in specific cities or areas. Typically, you should build your referral network in the same area where you or your business are located. But networking can also be an opportunity to expand your business reach to surrounding areas or nearby towns and cities. Determine what area has the best benefit for your business that is still manageable for maintaining your customer base. (Don’t create a network so far from home that providing services to clients is more of a hassle than a help.)
Look for professional networking opportunities wherever you or your business are based. Networking is the easiest way to find other professionals or businesses in your area. Networking groups and events provide a dedicated opportunity for you to connect with other professionals and form relationships that can become your business referral network.
Once you’ve decided on your location of business and found networking opportunities in that area, you can start establishing your referral connections. When you first start networking in your area, you may have to try different groups and events to find one that best suits your needs. While networking events that are focused on presentations and professional development can also help you build your business, those types of events aren’t as conducive to establishing your business connections. Creating lasting connections with other professionals in your area doesn’t happen overnight. Look for networking opportunities where you interact with the same people more than once. It’s through repeated exposure and interaction that relationships are formed, and business relationships are no different.
Once you’ve created your referral connections, you have to sustain your network. Networking isn’t a one-and-done business opportunity — it’s something that you need to continue to work on. Although once you establish your network, sustaining a robust referral network is easier than building it from scratch. An effective way of maintaining your network and encouraging your connections to refer you is with rewards for your business referrals. And don’t forget that you should also keep an eye and ear out for friends, family, and customers who might benefit from the services of your connections. Giving your own referrals is one of the best ways to get referrals in return.
4BR is a networking organization designed to help you meet, establish, and maintain your referral connections. We prioritize connecting business professionals to help you grow your business with a robust referral network. Learn more about what to expect from 4BR professional networking groups.