Why Businesses Don't Get the Referral Business They Should

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Lack of Systematic Approach to Getting Referrals Hurting Businesses

Most businesses and business people understand the value of referral marketing, so why are so few of them becoming proficient at building and maintaining a referral network? According to the CEO of the world’s largest networking company, a lack of any sort of systematic approach is to blame.

Dr. Ivan Misner who founded BNI (Business Network International) conducted research that showed a wide difference in the percentage of business being generated by referrals and the percentage desired. Misner calls this the “referral gap” and says it exists because few businesses place the systematic emphasis on networking that they do on other areas of their businesses.

“It’s common, but still perplexing,” Misner admits, “that something that is so generally considered important is given so little attention. It starts with a near total lack of subject coverage in any form of higher education that carries over to the failed belief that referrals are simply things that happen by chance. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Misner's advice for the would-be networker starting a simple networking system is simple.

1)    Categorize possible members of your network – people who can provide you information, people who can provide support and people that can provide referrals. List names, relationships and the “way” in which you are involved with the people in your network.

2)    Keep in contact with important members of your network.

3)    Build upon your existing network, paying attention to fill in voids where your needs outstrip your networks ability to help you.

4)    Figure out how to give meaningful referrals to important members of your network.

5)    Follow up on any referrals given to you or your business.

“Building and maintaining a solid referral network,” says Misner, “takes the same focus and effort that learning anything worthwhile does. But from what we know about how effective networking can be as a business tool, focusing on your networking skills may have a bigger payoff.”

BNI (http://www.bni.com) is a referral networking organization, which at last count had over 3,600 individual chapters in 22 countries worldwide. BNI’s Founder & CEO, Dr. Ivan Misner is the author of several book’s including the NY Times best-seller, Masters of Networking, (http://www.MastersofNetworking.com) and the recently released #1 best-seller, Masters of Success (http://www.MastersofSuccess.biz).


Michael Drew




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