Referrals . . . Who You Gonna Ask?
If you’re not formally trained in how to generate referrals, there’s a good chance you may be asking the wrong people for them.
This is basically all the people who know, like and trust you. Robin Dunbar, a social scientist from Oxford University in the United Kingdom did research that correlated the size of an organism’s brain and the size of their social network. He concluded that humans have, on average, +/- 150 people who make up their Sphere-of-Influence. Subsequent researchers have challenged Dunbar’s Number (+ / – 150) and claim the number is more likely anywhere from 250 to over 600 people.
Regardless, not all of the people in your Sphere-of-Influence are going to be able or willing to refer you to people they know that you’d like to meet. But the ones who are . . . form two groups.
This is 1 of several factors that suggest someone will refer you to possible clients you’d like to meet. Why? Because for someone to refer you to others, they must be ‘in your corner’. Being a Raving fan satisfies this requirement quite well. But even a ‘raving fan’ may not know the kind of people you want to meet. So whether they can refer you is different from whether they’re willing to refer you. More on this in a future post.
Some of your Sphere-of-Influence members will be people who, in addition to being a ‘Raving Fan’ are people who are in a complimentary or non-competitive business or practice and serve a similar kind of client as yours. This suggests you could, assuming you’re in mutual agreement to do so . . . cross-promote each other’s services to your respective clientele. And, you could be ideal referral partners, too!
If you’re going to ask other people for referrals . . .
- use a system, and
- be sure anyone you ask is at least a ‘Raving Fan’ and, ideally, a ‘Strategic Alliance’ as well.