Grow your business through referrals and networking

Networking is absolutely essential for any business owner (or those thinking about starting a business). You need to be able to make new connections, increase your network, build and maintain relationships, etc. In other words, you need to go out and interact with lots of people you don’t know. Did you read the last sentence and cringe? Then you’re probably an introvert, and that means you will have many challenges starting and building a successful business.

I’m an introvert, should I not start a business?
Absolutely not! If you dream of running your own business and being your own boss, by all means give it a try. Just remember that a big part of marketing involves a lot of interaction with strangers like networking events, cold calling, etc. these activities are way outside of an introvert’s comfort zone.

What’s an introvert to do?
The best marketing strategy for introvert business owners is “referrals” (period!). You need to surround yourself with other business owners that you know, and that are willing to recommend you to all the people they interact with. The bigger the group, the better your chances of success.

How do I build my own referral group?
You can spend years building your own referral group. Or, you can join an established referral group in your area. Joining a local referral group has many advantages:

  • You gain access to an already established group of professionals and business owners.
  • The group of members are usually very welcoming, they love having you join the group because the more members in the group, the better results for everyone (i.e. more referrals generated).
  • As you get to know the members better, you will start seeing them referring more and more business to you.

Why are referrals better than other forms of marketing?
As an introvert, I need to force myself to go to networking events and mixers, I only go to other companies’ golf tournaments if I don’t have a choice, and the thought of cold calling occur only in my most horrific nightmares. Most of us know what it’s like to “hunt” for sales, especially when you’re starting out and need the income. We’ve all tried to sell too hard and ended up rejected and dejected. That’s the point when most introverts decide it’s not worth it and decide to close shop.
Now imagine this… you get a call from someone you don’t know “Hello, I was talking to (insert friend/client name here). He was telling me about your (service/product/skill) and what a great experience he had working with you. I need your (service/product/skill) too. Can we meet sometime to talk about it?” for an introvert, this is the best compliment they can get. It motivates them to provide the new customer with the best service possible, which in turn will probably provide them with even more referrals.

How do I choose a great referral group?
Are you an introvert who’s thinking about starting a business or already owning one? Join a referral group. Here’s what you need to look for in a referral group…

  • Culture – before you commit to a referral group, go for a visit. Talk to as many of the members as possible and try to gauge their personality. If too many of them exhibit “Type A” personality, look for a different group! I don’t deal very well with Type A’s, I find most of them to be rude and obnoxious (among many other negatives). I know I’m generalizing here but, that’s my honest opinion.
  • Impartiality– does the group have impartial representative (someone who’s there to run the meetings and not get referrals). Most groups will have one or more of the members run the meetings. If the members are running the meetings who pays attention to you? What if you don’t get any referrals for six months? Do you think anyone will notice? Probably not.
  • Guarantee – look for a group that doesn’t pressure you to pay right away. Most referral groups will allow you to visit once or twice before making you pay membership fees. If you ask for a guarantee that you will receive referrals, you will hear “there are no guarantees in life”. Well, that’s not true! In our group you will start getting referrals before you are made to commit and pay membership fees. We guarantee it.
  • Additional fees – before joining a referral group, ask about additional fees like, mandatory courses, catering, forced sponsorships, “voluntary” donations, etc. if you’re not notified of extra charges before you ask this question, there’s something very wrong with the group management.
  • Referral pressure – referral groups usually pressure their members into providing referrals to other members. You will have to stand in front of the whole group every week and say “I have nothing this week”. Peer pressure may work for some people, but not for introverts. Look for a referral group that doesn’t put you on the spot every week.

Do you have any questions? Great! I love questions, ask away and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Receive business referrals, network with other business owners, and fast track your business growth with the least amount of time commitment.   We use technology to make referral groups much more efficient and much less expensive.  Contact Us Today