Every business day of the week people all over the world are sitting in BNI meetings with the intention of getting and giving referrals. One of my biggest frustrations is that few members are really tapping into the potential of their chapter. There is a system for generating referrals and you have to be willing to do the work it takes to get them. Here are six step-by-step instructions for helping people to help you.

  1. Be Credible – This means people must trust you to be who you say you are and do what you say you will do. You have to build personal credibility and professional credibility. You might be the best at what you do but as a person you do not show up as your best self: you come late, don’t contribute, make disruptive comments, or dress unprofessionally. Be aware of your personal actions and the impact on your personal credibility.  On the other hand you may have great personal credibility, but there is no proof that you are good at what you do. Focus to taking time to build your personal and professional credibility for the people who are going to risk their reputations by referring you.
  2. Share Knowledge – Who are your ideal clients? How do recognize them? Where is your office? Where do you do business—local, national or global? How do you get paid? What are your hours? You must make it as easy as possible for the members of your network if you want them to help you find your ideal clients.
  3. Identify Need – What need do you fix for your clients? Why do they hire you? When do they need you? How will I know when they are in the looking zone and not in the buying zone? What are the questions that your network can ask on your behalf to generate interest?
  4. Generate the Referral – How do you want your network to generate the referral? Should they just pass along your card, schedule a phone call, write an email introduction, or set up a face to face introduction?  Teach your network how you want to receive referrals, otherwise they will take the easiest way possible and just hand out your business card.
  5. Give Referrals – The best was to generate more referrals for your business is to learn how to find referrals for your fellow network members and generate business for them. How you refer them is how they will in return refer you. If all you pass is a name and number, (which equals a lead) then you can count on them doing the same thing for you. Reciprocity is always at work, while you might not get a referral from that same person you referred, others will see that you are giving and they will in turn give to you.
  6. Thank People – Remember to thank people who send you referrals. If you want to generate more referrals, then you have to recognize those that are doing the work for you. People want to be appreciated when they help you and they remember when you have taken the time to do something as simple as send a handwritten note.

Referrals take time to generate because it takes time to build trust and credibility and teach people what they need to know to refer. Unfortunately, most people do not take the time to teach their network how to identify a great referral and develop it. It is a long process but it is very rewarding when you get a group of people helping you find your ideal clients.

Remember to get, you have to give,

 Hazel

There are few women better at building a global network than Hazel Walker . Renowned for her straight talk and no-holds-barred approach, Hazel is a globally sought after speaker.