Anyone in business relies on leads and referrals to generate revenue. Our LinkedIn network can be a goldmine of opportunity if we develop the right kinds of relationships.
According to an article from Hubspot, “If you provide a great customer experience, word of mouth referrals are bound to happen naturally. However, a conscious effort to cultivate them will result in higher ROI from your network.” That is certainly true, so let’s explore the reasons you don’t get referrals from your network so you can improve your future ROI.
1. You Don’t Ask
Seems obvious right? And yet how many times do you ask for a referral from your network? When I work with people on their LinkedIn marketing one of the questions I always ask is how many referrals are you getting from their network?
If you are not asking, that’s problem number one if you are seeking referrals.
If you can’t find the ‘right’ people that could connect you to those you want to meet then your problem is that you don’t have the right network. That’s why it is imperative to invite and accept people into your network that align with your business goals.
Building a network should be a thoughtful process versus random actions. Remember, LinkedIn is the social platform for networking and doing business. People on LinkedIn expect this. Learning who makes a great connection for you can be a combination of direct leads as well as colleagues that could refer you to people in their network. Take time to understand who that is for you.
“Though most people agree that relationships are important,
few actually bother to measure, quantify or leverage them to their fullest potential”
David Nour, Author of Relationship Economics
2. You Haven’t Trained Your Advocates HOW to Refer You
You assume people know what and how to refer you but that is a poor assumption.
I challenge you to ask some colleagues how they might refer you because at least half of the time what they would say and what you expect are not the same!
I’m amazed at the people who know me well describe what I do! Yikes, not even close to what I would want a key decision-maker to know about me.
Building a network is all about trust. When you connect with and nurture your key advocates without expectation you build a network of trust. When it comes time to ask for a referral, it is to your advantage to train your best advocates how to refer you because they may not use the same language or terms that are specific to what you want to actually be referred for.
3. You Assume Your Happy Clients Will Automatically Refer You
Again, probably won’t happen. If you did such a great job why wouldn’t they?
Simple, they aren’t focused on getting you leads, they are focused on their own business. Your job is to stay top of mind in your follow-up with past clients. Just because a transaction may be complete is no reason to disappear. Touching base and continuing to bring value to past clients will get referrals.
Staying top of mind on LinkedIn can be commenting on a client’s post, making an introduction for them, and being an advocate for them. In turn, these are the things that will keep you under their radar so when an opportunity does arise, they will think of you.
4. You Don’t Make Relationship Building a Priority
Professional relationships don’t just happen, they grow and nurture in time. Sadly in 2020 when so many people lost their jobs or were furloughed, many were caught without having a network of people they could utilize in the job search.
I talk to people on a weekly basis who come to me for a LinkedIn profile update, and they tell me they haven’t updated their profile since the last job change or they don’t really use LinkedIn.
Your professional relationships can be the catalyst to make things happen. They can generate leads, facilitate introductions to decision-makers, share knowledge & resources, and make referrals.
Finding time isn’t that difficult, changing your mindset about making relationship-building a priority is. Until you make it a priority you won’t reap the benefits.
Here are 3 simple things you can do every week to grow your network and your professional relationships:
- Invite one new person a week to join your network. This one person should be strategic and align with your professional/business goals. At the end of the year at a minimum, you would have added 48 new business contacts to your network.
- Spend 10 minutes a day logged into your LinkedIn account and scanning the home page for a post by anyone in your network and leave a thoughtful comment. This keeps you top of mind with the person who made the post and logging onto your LinkedIn account daily plus the engagement activity puts you in favor with LinkedIn’s algorithm.
Spending 10 minutes a day in relationship-building activities is a very small investment in a long-term strategy.
- Create a post a minimum of once per week, preferably Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday morning about a topic that highlights your expertise. Be original and ask yourself how someone could benefit from based on my knowledge and experience.
Don’t share an article – this is the worst form of content for several reasons, rather share an idea, or interesting stats or an update on what’s happening in your industry.
By sharing a post, you are positioning yourself as a thought leader and second, you are building trust with the network you want to influence.
You can see how you can turn around these 4 steps from a negative to a positive result and start to see the benefits of your LinkedIn network can bring. The question is, will you stop collecting names and build a network of the right people who love to refer you?
Leave me a comment below would love to hear your experience on referrals.