August 25, 2020

Is Your Network an Asset or Liability?

Word-of-mouth still is most effective. Referrals are the best source of long-lasting, high-value business. According to Deloitte, customers acquired through word-of-mouth have a 37 percent higher retention rate.

The objective is not to only find referral partners, but to find referrals you trust.

Your Network = Your Reputation

You’ve worked hard to build your reputation. Your clients choose you over your competitors because they expect a certain level of quality. When you are asked for a recommendation, you have a certain level of credibility to uphold. How can you ensure your recommendations offer the same great quality your network has come to expect?

Your network is your reputation

Referring professionals with poor quality products or services can reflect poorly on you and your brand. Your reputation is your net worth and the recommendations you make are a reflection on you. Therefore quality is an important factor, but how do you determine quality?

Not everyone is a good connection or recommendation. When searching for referral partners, networking partners or strategic alliances, one must think is this the right person to align myself with. We must think about, “how can I rely on the other person,” “will they add value to me and my network,” “how much time will I need to spend to develop this relationship, is it worth it?” These are all questions to think about before committing to building relationships. As we have always heard, “quality over quantity.” Does it become a numbers game versus a quality game? (I hope not…)

Your network = your reputation. Don’t let bad apples spoil your reputation.

How do I find “the right” strategic partners?

Finding a reliable “trusted resource” can be tricky, but it is important.

There are many questions you must ask yourself when choosing who you surround yourself with: Would I trust them with my own business? Do I trust them with my reputation? Is this person passionate about what they do? Will they deliver on the project I recommend them to?

My favorite, WILL THIS PERSON MAKE ME LOOK LIKE A ROCK STAR?

Gershon Morgulis, a trusted advisor of mine and Principal at Imperial Advisory Outsourced CFO’s, explains the way he gets comfortable referring business to his network and clients:

  • Referring to people I’ve worked with.
  • Doing an intro to non-clients with a disclaimer and seeing how it goes.
  • Referring people with strong independent references.

People you’ve worked with

The most reliable connections are people you’ve worked with. You’ve seen these people work and understand the quality they deliver. Your first-hand knowledge of this person’s work makes it easy to refer them with some surety they will deliver results. There is no substitute for communication, accountability and delivering what you say you are going to deliver (expectations must align).

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People in your network

You haven’t worked with these people, but you know them enough that you feel confident to give them a chance. You have built a relationship with these people and have heard good things about their work. You recognize their passion for their work, however you’ve never actually done work with them.

The people in your network should be honest with you and not just take an opportunity because its an opportunity, it needs to be a good fit. Those in your network should give you an honest answer about their ability to complete the scope of work you are referring or recommending them for.

If you ensure you have a strong network of hard-working, passionate and trustworthy professionals you will never be without a strong resource.

Loose Connections

Loose connections are the most unsure of your network sources and should be treated as such. These might be professionals you have mutual connections with and maybe have spoken to a few times, but do not have a true business relationship with them.

You must do more research on loose connections before referring or recommending them. It is a good idea to initially look at Google reviews, their website and LinkedIn accounts, as well reach out to your mutual connections for any Q & A. There have been many times where I will call mutual connections on LinkedIn to ask them what their experience has been before I recommend someone I don’t know all that well. Asking for references of other professionals who have worked with these connections about the quality of their work might be the best move you make (can save you time, energy and potentially your reputation).

When recommending business to a loose connection, it is usually a good idea to give some sort of disclaimer to the person you are making the connection to. One of the unique value adds about working with Connections4Hire is that we will join the initial introduction meetings to see if it is truly a good fit and to support our recommendation.

In a world that focuses on A, B, C, D, E, F, G types of marketing, referrals and word of mouth recommendations are often the strongest source of business to grow and prosper.

Professionals with great relationships will have more opportunity to thrive. Those who do not put much thought into their relationships are less likely to see the benefits of this valuable way of doing business. One of the keys to building your network, is trust.

Not everyone is good at building connections. At Connections4Hire, connecting is our business. We pride ourselves on creating new business opportunities through mutually beneficial connections. Let us help you develop connections into business.

You know your business. Connecting is our business.

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