Giving Your Way to Referral Success

by Andrea Nierenberg

What are some ways to find new customers and distributors?

I believe the old maxim "Itís better to give than receive" holds the key to our referral success. For centuries this has been sound advice for living. From the Bibleís command to "love your neighbor as yourself" to sales trainer extraordinaire Zig Ziglerís key principle that "you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want", being a giving person brings success.

What are some practical things you can do to genuinely be more of a giver?

Give Away Your Possessions

Sometimes it is appropriate to show appreciation with a gift. Sending a gift sets you apart and finding something that uniquely suites the individual helps build solid relationships. It says, "I know you and care enough to think about what you might enjoy."

Sometimes itís appropriate to send a gift even when the sale doesnít close. If you appreciate the effort someone has made on your behalf, feel free to send a little something. You will keep them on your radar and prospect list. I often send flowers.

Sometimes they just mean "thanks for thinking of me." Sometimes I give a food gift such as popcorn or as I get to know people, I offer something specific like a book they mentioned in our meetings, a type of wine or a magazine subscription. In all cases, you are building the relationships.

Give Away Your Expertise

Share your skills and experience happy in the knowledge that you are helping friends and colleagues. Others appreciate and seek out knowledgeable people who give generously of their expertise. When you have been a resource to others, people are more willing to help when you ask. I work at being a major resource and learning as much about everything that I can. I call it "collecting vital information" and it always comes in handy as I am talking to my contacts, prospects, downline and clients.

Give Away Your Time

The more you are involved in your business and community, the more people you will meet, the better you will get to know those in your organization and the faster your network will expand. There are several ways to do this. Consider the following steps for your next meeting, training event or activity where you are looking to build your client and prospect list.

  1. Volunteer to be the "greeter" when people are registering. This is a great way to meet others and this simple act of hospitality helps you to connect with people later. When we simply attend meetings, we limit our ability to meet and get to know people, so I make sure to join a committee and get involved. I always build new relationships. These people will often become those whom you will rely on and who will rely on you in the future.

  2. Give a speech. Organizations are always looking for programs or breakout sessions for larger meetings or conventions. Perhaps you can put together a seminar about selling your specific product or share a simple technique youíve successfully used to close more business. Putting together a quality presentation can take a bit of time, yet after you have done your research, you will be more knowledgeable about your business and become an expertóand you will be sure to pick up some new interest in your business.

  3. After youíve done your presentation, go one step further and offer to write an article for the organizationís newsletter or magazine on the same topic. This is a key way for people to be able to remember who you are. Be sure not to make it a commercialóyou are just showing a way in which you build business that could be used by other salespeople in other businesses.
Being a giver is what relationship marketing is all about. Especially in these uncertain economic times, network professionals who give, continue to plant seeds and nurture their relationships will be the ones people reach out to when they are readyóbecause they will stay on many peopleís radar screen until the time is right for them.

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