One of the greatest things about being part of a referral network is that you can constantly be around people from different backgrounds, experiences, and industries.
Being part of such a vast referral network can really come in handy when you are in dire need of an unbiased advice – communicating with people from your industry only can leave you with an opinion that may be very similar to your own.
Furthermore, asking for an advice or opinion from the people in your network can help you get better acquainted with their businesses’, goals, wants and needs – all of which makes it that much easier to refer them to people in your life.
Things to know about when asking for advice
You might have a dire situation on your hands and might be in desperate need of feedback, but there are some things that you should avoid doing when approaching members of your referral network and asking them for advice.
Consider the following suggestions when asking people in your network for advice:
You should do your very best to avoid sensitive topics. Don’t divulge anything too personal, keep the politically charged topics away from the conversation, and choose your words wisely as to not make anyone uncomfortable.
Try to figure out if the questions you are asking are the right questions, and if the person you are directing your questions to is likely to have a qualified answer. Asking someone questions or for advice on a subject that they know nothing about can put them on the spot and make them uncomfortable.
You’ve asked for an advice and now it’s time to let the person opposite of you do the talking. Be sure not to interrupt them. You’ve asked them for an opinion. Let them give it to you. People won’t appreciate you talking over them, and will be able to tell if you are uninterested in hearing what they have to say.
Finally, always be present in the conversation, while making sure you respond appropriately. Someone is purposefully giving their time to you. Respect the time they are giving you. If you don’t, they will be less likely to give you time in the future.
We’ll have to put this as a side note – don’t try to get free services from someone in your network. If you are having an hour-long conversation with a mortgage broker about refinancing options, asking for a consulting session under the guise of asking for free advice won’t score you any points. Knowing when you are crossing the threshold between advice and free services is crucial for building a strong connection.
You’ve asked for, and received advice from someone in your network – now what?
Keep them updated. Use the conversation you’ve had as an opportunity to talk to them again and thank them for giving their time to you.
This is a great opportunity to keep them informed and get additional opinions or advice.