You want referrals, and you want them immediately? Doesn’t work that way. You have to build meaningful relationships with your referral partners first. How much time does it take to build your network and how do we speed the process up?
To build a referral-based business is to build a meaningful personal network. If a river is two miles wide and just one inch deep, is there a point in swimming in it? It’s the same with your network. You have to dive deep and build a number of strong relationships in order to get the referrals important enough for your business.
Let’s put this in a simple way – strong referral networks can be compared to building close personal friendships. How long does it take to build a close friendship?
Well, according to research, it takes approximately 50 hours of interaction to nudge a relationship from the status of acquaintance to a “casual friend”. The number goes up to 90 hours to further the relationship to the status of “real friends,” and 200 hours to reach the objective of “close friends.”
This leads us back to the subject of this post – How much time is needed in order to build a meaningful relationship where people trust you enough to give you regular referrals? Well, somewhere between 90 and 200 hours.
To hit the 90-hour mark in participating in BNI San Marcos meetings is to begin getting more referrals. According to a study specifically done for BNI, when members cross the 200-hour mark, they generate an average of over 5 times the number of referrals they’ve given and received than they did in their first year of membership. That’s right, folks – 500% more referrals when they took their time to build meaningful relationships with their network.
Since networking is about farming, rather than hunting, one of the best ways to speed up this process is to do periodic one-on-one’s with your network and take the time to learn how to refer them and teach them how to refer you.
In order to get insight into how successful your efforts are, you can ask yourself the following questions:
1. Am I regularly making stimulating, educational presentations to my fellow networkers about the value I provide to my clients?
2. Am I doing business with others in my network so I can give them dynamic testimonials and steer business to them in hopes they will return the favour?
3. Am I meeting regularly with my networking colleagues to learn about their businesses so I can confidently refer my contacts to them?
We hope we provided some insight into how you can build stronger relationships and all you’ve got to do is follow these tactics and remember it takes time to build a meaningful network.