In the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Steven Covey discusses “emotional bank accounts”. What he demonstrates is that you must make deposits into your personal and professional relationships before you can start making withdrawals against those accounts.
When we network to get referrals, the same concept applies. We ask others to trust us, and risk their reputations, by recommending us to others. That’s a significant withdrawal, so making deposits ahead of time is crucial.
All too often I encounter the idea that if you show up at a networking meeting and then have a one to one meeting, you can then ask for referrals. Of course, you won’t get referrals if you don’t ask for them, but you must also ask wisely. Before you ask for referrals, make sure you’ve made some deposits into the relationships and you might even ask what you could do to make them comfortable with the idea of referring you.
Making deposits isn’t difficult. Some things you might do:
- Do business with the other person
- Refer them business first
- Introduce them to someone who can help them
- Invite them to go along with you to other networking events
- Meet with them
- Ask “How can I help you” and then listen.
One of the keys to making effective deposits is to find out what’s important to them. Just because you enjoy happy hour and evening entertainment doesn’t mean your referral sources will see a night out as a deposit. The more personalized and the more creative you are, the more you will be remembered. Treating others the way they want to be treated is will increase the size of your deposits, and make withdrawals less costly.
When you’ve made deposits, and referrals are starting to come, you’ll want to continue to make deposits. If they feel unappreciated, that’s a withdrawal. Some things you can do at this stage include:
- Thank them for the referral (in the way they like to be thanked)
- Send a gift
- Keep them informed of how the referral is going.
In any referral relationship there are going to be withdrawals. Some you will be aware of and others you will not be aware of. The key to your referral success is to have a system to make the right deposits in the right accounts.
My challenge to you is to open a referral bank account and have a system to make steady deposits. Create your own Referral Bank Account for your referral sources that will compel them to refer you!