Fire up your referral marketing plan

This is a reprint of a Referral Fire from 2009, I wanted to publish them now because I was reminded of the concept recently.

dating mistakeThe theme of Referral Fire is getting more business by referral. We talk a lot about relationships and how important they are to getting referrals. I thought it would be appropriate to discuss how relationships happen. It is interesting to note that relationships are relationships whether they are business or personal in nature.

 Many of us act totally different when forming a personal relationship than when we are working on a business relationship. I like to relate the process to both personal and business relationships at the same time.

 The process of building a relationship is modeled best in the VCP Process™. Visibility – Credibility – Profitability, describes the phases through which a relationship develops. In the book Business by Referral Dr. Ivan Misner introduces us to this model.

“Any successful relationship, whether a personal or a business relationship is unique to every pair of individuals, and it evolves over time….The VCP model describes the process of creation, growth, and strengthening of business, professional, and personal relationships…When fully realized, such a relationship is mutually rewarding and thus self-perpetuating.”

 Profitability is obviously the phase that we are looking for when developing referral partners. We can extrapolate from our personal lives that not all relationships move through all stages.

 Credibility is not only a phase in the process; it is also the driver that propels us through it. Think about it, the only way to move through the process is to build the trust of the other person. Dictionary.com defines credibility as, the quality of being believable or trustworthy. If we look at personal relationships, isn’t that what we are looking for as we get to know a person.

 Keeping this in mind, if we want more referrals, we should guard the credibility that we have and work hard to build more. How can we do this? Here again, we can look at personal relationships for a guide. If you are going on a date, what do you tell your date when you show up late? What if you aren’t ready for the date? I see people all of the time do things in a business environment that would be absolutely inexcusable in a personal situation.

 Would you ever leave a date early if you wanted the relationship to work?

 How many times have you seen people arrive to business meetings late? leave early? What did they do to their credibility? Next time you consider doing something in a business environment, check it against your personal life, would you do that if you were building a relationship?

Good Luck and Good Networking