In the world of business networking, it is interesting to find out why some people are motivated to make referrals and introductions to others. We meet hundreds and even thousands of people in the course of our business careers, yet we don’t refer everyone equally. You’ve got to know someone before you would even think or referring them. The next point is likability. If you like someone, you are more likely to refer them than if you don’t like them. Thirdly, we trust them and truly believe that they will do a good job. After you know, like and trust a person, there must be something else that serves as motivation to make a referral or strategic introduction. It could be that you are in a networking group that encourages or even requires that members make referrals and introductions. That can be a motivating factor. Altruism might be another key factor, the desire to help others because it is the right thing to do. Sometimes people don’t make referrals because they are concerned that the person might not do a good job and it would reflect badly on them.
One key to effective networking is to be a giver, without expecting anything in return. If you embrace that principle, you will be listening carefully to what others say in order to help them by referring business to them. Another reason people make referrals is because the other person has recently stated their needs clearly and in a memorable way. They have been clear about what a good referral is to them, and make it easy to give them a referral. We sometimes meet multiple people who do a similar thing, yet might only remember the one we met most recently. I know a lot of financial advisors, yet can only refer business to a small number of them. My motivation is based on how well I know them, if I like them personally, if others have spoken positively about them, and I hear about someone who is looking for a financial advisor in their geographic region. I might also be more likely to make a referral to a family member or close friend.
It is a well known and accepted principle that the more you give, the more you will get. Thus, the single best way to get referrals and strategic introductions is to be generous in giving them. Get to know people, get them to like you, make your business clear and easy to understand, and above all, do an outstanding job. If all of those conditions are in place, and you stay with a particular business for a reasonable period of time, you will will receive referrals and introductions in abundance. When you do, be sure to thank the person who makes the referral and if there is any way to reciprocate, do so at the next opportunity.