Lead, or referral?

We’ve been there before haven’t we? You know, those situations when you say to yourself …

“I should really do that now or I’ll never get it done…”

My dear ‘other half ‘ reminisces daily (Sue would argue this, naturally.) What Sue had forgotten today Sue was adding it to the mental list for tomorrow. I invariably chuckle at dear wife’s expense until recalling a story from a while ago …

Belonging to an active business community is a great resource. Especially so for the SME or self employed and for so many reasons. The instilled importance of supporting your like-minded colleagues takes a little while to sink-in for some although when it does, the ‘passion’ never leaves you.

Anyway, I too reminisce, I’d got to know Michael well through business and he was looking for a connection to ‘a local serviced office,’ it was a specific request for referral.

‘I know such a place that might be good for you Michael, here’s the address …it might be worth checking it out.’ I’d suggested.

My short journey from office to our network Forum was a weekly event, the same one I’d undertaken on numerous occasions. Same route, past the local recreation space, down the parade of traders, through the estate of industry, the local offices. I even had the same breakfast radio program playing on most occasions as I thought about breakfast itself. Absorbed.

It was the same journey for networking each week. The same deal, attend the meeting, meet up with the community, hear the requests and the pitch for business, engagement over a quick coffee and back to the car and back to the routine. Take some calls, windows up, radio on and route 1 to the office.

Then one morning – Michaels’ particular morning in fact, things were different.

Michael had requested a specific need.

My response … ‘here’s the address, check it out’ isn’t really what referrals are about. Is it?

Sure I had passed Michael a hint at business (lead) but to really help a friend out, I needed to go one step further and I now decided to do it. Not later, now. I’d take action today. So I found myself taking a minor diversion ‘en route to the routine’ and parked the car right outside that new office build I had mentioned to Michael.

I approached the reception. Asked for the proprietor and after introductions I passed him Michael’s card with brief details and suggested that Michael would be happy to help with any ambitions for growth some time whenever suits. Would he be happy to take a call from Michael?

On leaving our prospect I called Michael to confirm my action, suggesting ‘that it would be good to give our friend a call, as he was expecting to hear from him.’

Next week I’d heard Michael had indeed met up with the prospect and that business was soon to be happening. Here was a happy colleague, someone I’d consolidated as a referral partner, a guy who was working with me for the future.

I was happy also, I’d broken the routine and instigated change to make something happen.

“Working on the leads and turning them into referral is what so often transforms an ‘average’ networking experience into a mutually rewarding one.”

I’d gone that extra mile, how about you?

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