Business networking and referral marketing
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Did you use your network of contacts to gain business for you company? If yes, then you are referral marketing. Network of Contacts ...

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Business networking and referral marketing l.jpg

Business Networking and Referral Marketing

Presented by:

Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation’s

Office of Small & Minority Business Development

What is referral marketing l.jpg
What is Referral Marketing?

  • When starting your business, where did your first clients come from?

  • Did people already know you and trust you because of your prior business with them?

  • Did you use your network of contacts to gain business for you company?

  • If yes, then you are referral marketing.

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Network of Contacts

  • Collection of social capital that you accumulate everyday!!!

  • Family, friends, business associates, suppliers, members of your social groups, Church groups, neighbors, Chambers of Commerce, networking groups (like Lisa’s!), etc.

  • In-Rolodex Selling.

  • Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a network is directly proportional to the square of the number of its connections.

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Getting Quality Referrals

  • Requires you to plan and organize your contacts into manageable parts.

  • Not all contacts will be equally profitable (e.g. Family Members and Friends!).

  • Prioritizing and targeting your best contacts within your network is a useful investment of your time.

  • Five step process.

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Step One: Identify and Prioritize

Order your contacts:

  • People in your current Contact Sphere.

  • Satisfied Clients and Customers.

  • People whose business benefits from yours.

  • People with who you do business.

  • Business co-workers, present and former.

  • Members of business groups you belong to.

  • Fellow members of social and religious organizations.

  • Family, friends, teachers, mentors and coaches.

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Step Two: Identify Patterns and Break Down into Subcategories

  • Notice the patterns that develop expose the strengths and weaknesses of your network.

  • The quality of this list is in direct proportion to your current networking skills.

  • Break the list down into three sub-categories:

    • Your Information Network: Those people who can help you with knowledge, experience, and expertise.

    • Your Support Network: Those people who can offer emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial support.

    • Your Referral Network: These are people who have the resources and connections to pass you potential referrals.

  • From this list, focus on customizing your network to your market.

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Step 3: Determine Your Contact Sphere Subcategories

  • To determine your Contact Sphere:

    • Look at sources readily available to you (Rolodex, daily planner, PDA, etc.).

    • Look at your supplier list.

  • Make contact with the professionals you listed in Step 2.

  • Establish a reciprocal relationship with the businesses that have a best fit with yours. Compatible but noncompetitive.

  • Offer “bird dog” fees when appropriate. Formalized referral.

  • Become a “Referral Hub”. A Referral Hub is someone who has an extensive resource list of referrals and shares them generously. This takes time and a deep conviction to becoming an exceptional referral marketer.

  • “It’s not who you know, but rather, it’s who they know.” You have no idea what your network can offer until you start making the connections in a formalized manner.

  • 6 degrees of separation (or in Martinsville 1)!!!

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Step 4: Establish a Contact System Subcategories

  • Select your referral partners.

  • Recruit your perspective referral partners.

  • Educate your new referral partners.

  • Give your referral partners the tools to take action.

  • Initiate contact with prospects your referral partners give you.

  • Reward you referral partners.

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Step 5: Expand and Diversify Network Subcategories

  • This is also known as “filling the gaps”.

  • Look through Steps 1-4 and identify areas where you need to make contact but do not have the network.

  • Fill the gaps through:

    • Existing contacts/referral partners.

    • Trade Associations.

    • Chambers of Commerce.

    • Informal Networking Groups (Lisa!!!).

    • Professional Networking Groups.

  • Make sure any professional networking group restricts access through non-competitive membership.

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Activities Subcategories

  • Handshake, eye contact, and elevator pitch.

    • Be shameless. Wallflowers do not close deals.

    • Ask for forgiveness and not permission.

    • Listen, listen, listen and identify the pain.

    • Get personal (Kids? Pets? Wedding ring? Need a date?). Look for hidden clues.

    • Be personable. Personality gets a 2nd meeting.

    • Get the business card.

    • Follow-up.

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Fill Out The Form!!! Subcategories

  • Contact 1:

    • Name:

    • Company:

    • Contact info:

    • Products/Services:

    • Personal info:

  • Contact 2:

    • Name:

    • Company:

    • Contact info:

    • Products/Services:

    • Personal info:

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Business Cards in the Fishbowl Trick Subcategories

Drawing for the prize.