NetWeaving As a Referral Generator
In a NetWeaving context, a referral is a favorable introduction to someone else. Referrals are the heart of any salesperson’s career, but they apply just as much to success in almost any field. The fact that someone is willing to introduce and recommend you to someone else means they are assuming a risk, and for them to do so, implies trust has been established.
Making a referral or a connection typically involves bringing two people together – the person you are referring and the person to whom you are referring them. And since a major part of NetWeaving involves being a connector of others, simply with the belief that what goes around, does come back around. you must be aware of the risk you or they are taking in making a referral.
The NetWeaver’s Law of Referral Reciprocity
The NetWeaver’s Law of Referral Reciprocity translates into this: the more you refer others, the more YOU will be referred. The more you introduce other people to each other, the more you will be introduced to others. But there are several “IF’s” which one must understand and accept in order for referral reciprocity to work.
The First (IF) – For referral reciprocity to operate, you must make sure you are genuinely NetWeaving and not still networking. In other words, if you imply or come right out and say that you are expecting the person for whom you’ve made a connection, to return the favor, or to help you in some way, you are defeating the whole idea and purpose behind NetWeaving. Also, when done this way, the other person feels much less of an obligation to return the favor.
The Second (IF)- This involves the person for whom you have hosted a meeting and made an introduction. In an overly simplistic sense, the world is made up of givers and takers. A taker tends to be someone who is more self-centered and when you help a taker, they generally feel no obligation to return the favor. There are some people who NetWeave for a taker (i.e., refer them to someone), and keep doing it over and over again, and then wonder why they never see any benefits coming back around.
The Third (IF) – This pertains to a less-than-admirable aspect of human nature. When someone makes an introduction to someone for the other person’s benefit, and especially if it’s a fairly high level introduction or connection, that person tends to take ownership of that new relationship. Over time, we often lose sight of the girl who brought us to the dance, and we forget, had this person not made the initial connection, none of the good things which have since occurred would have happened.
Therefore, the third IF means that the reason your NetWeaving meeting may not have resulted in something coming back around is because they have forgotten about your original introduction. Your mistake may have been that you haven’t followed back up to see what happened as a result of the connection you made.
If you DO follow up within weeks or even a month or so, the response will be something like, “Wow, I’m sorry I hadn’t reported back to you and thanked you so much for that introduction you made to ‘so and so’. I really owe you big-time”.
And your initial introduction may have led to a second introduction where the Home Run is hit. Following up is critical IF you want to benefit from your NetWeaving good deeds.
Finally, assuming you are genuinely NetWeaving and not networking, and secondly that you are focused on ‘referring’ persons you believe to be more of a ‘giver’ than a ‘taker’, and thirdly that you have followed up to check on outcomes of connections you make, there is still one other IF barrier to conquer in order to master referral reciprocity.
As noted earlier, referring someone means the person making the referral assumes a risk if things don’t turn out well and you are the reason. Therefore, in order for you to be referable and for the NetWeaver’s Law of Referral Reciprocity to really work, you must be viewed as competent and qualified by your referral source. Absent this, you may refer and refer, and not see anything come back around, or you may be thrown a very low-risk and low level introduction as a low-risk way of paying you back.
Even better than being viewed as competent and qualified, is being seen by others as unique, exceptional, phenomenal, remarkable, or any term that implies that you have developed the WOW factor. You should be consistently looking for ways to make people look at you differently – so that an introduction of you to someone else – is almost sure to reflect positively on the person making the referral.
What is different or unique about you or your business, or your company? What could YOU be doing differently, or above and beyond what anyone else in your capacity does? And this can apply just as much to the janitor who leaves a sticker with his name and a cell phone number to report any time one of his rest rooms has been left untidy, as with a top sales rep who studies interests and hobbies of existing and potential clients and consistently surprises them with something he/she finds to be in line with their interests.
The NetWeaver’s Law of Referral Reciprocity is irrefutable and is alive and well, so long as you are constantly looking for ways to differentiate yourself and make yourself more unique. We can all help each other in groups or individually by brainstorming ideas and ways to do so. In some ways NetWeaving has gravitated toward creativity workshops or brainstorming sessions during which we all think outside the 9 dots and suggest ways for someone to differentiate themselves and/or their business.