Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Keeping Balance When It Comes To Referrals

Recently I sat down with a very nice woman who was fairly new to sales. Her interest in meeting with me was to ask some specific questions about networking. She had read my book and particularly enjoyed my strategies as it related to building the "right kind" of network.

For those of you who maybe haven't read my book, please feel free to take advantage of the free download on this particular chapter by clicking here. (Look at the bottom left)

Anyway, this fine lady asked an important question that I felt was worth sharing with you guys. She asked what happens when you give and you give to those in your network and you don't ever receive anything in return. What should she do?

As most of you know, I have a long held belief that you don't keep score....but you do keep track! And when you keep track, you do have a certain entitlement to remind people what you do for them from time to time.

In this particular instance she happened to mention that she had shared a number of leads with a guy who owns a networking services company. To her knowledge, most if not all of her leads had resulted in business for her friend. However, after a year and a half, she had yet to receive any return opportunities from this individual.

The solution I suggested to her was simple. I suggested she pick up the phone or take the guy out to lunch and broach the subject like this.....

"You know Ted I have referred a number of opportunities that appear to have paid off quite nicely for you and your company. I am very happy to pass your name along when and if the opportunity should present itself. I did wonder however, what it might take for you to return the favor and possibly refer opportunities as you see them that might be appropriate for me and my company?"

I then told her to not say another word. Poker time!

Two things will happen.

1. If Ted isn't a complete taker he will realize how unbalanced things have been and will feel an immediate pang of guilt. It will result in Ted feverishly looking for opportunities for her now or in the immediate future to restore balance to their relationship. Good result!

2. Ted might be a taker. He will display how much he values the relationship and her efforts by how he responds. In other words, if he doesn't sound somewhat apologetic or at least concerned about the impression this unbalance has been created, he will forever be a taker and therefore she should not expect business from him now, next week, next month or ever. Cut him loose!

Bottom line, you should always do things for other people not because what you will get in return. That has always been my philosophy. However in a business relationship such as this example, there is give and there is take. I think a friendly reminder every once in a while is a good way to keep people honest, committed and focused on promoting and building a mutually beneficial relationship.

I will be traveling for the next few weeks so I will be a little inconsistent with my BLOG posts. Please excuse this slight interruption. I appreciate all of my readers and so enjoy hearing from each of you! I will have limited access to the Internet as I take a little down time with my family for a bit of a reunion as well as taking care of some book signings and media appearances in New Mexico and Colorado.

I promise to BLOG as soon as possible!

As always....RIPPLE ON MY FRIENDS!!!

Steve Harper

1 comment:

Carlon Haas said...

You hit the nail on hte head, Steve. In Korea, giving back to the people in your network is a moral obligation and anyone who only takes will be quickly cut off. I have been surprised by the number of people I met who feel no sense of giving to people in their network. This was one big "reverse culture shock" that I experienced when I came back.

But you are the exception, my friend...a guy who really gets it, and gives as much (actually more) than he receives. THe ripple in action!