There’s nothing worse than putting in the work and the hours only to get overlooked for a referral. It’s a crushing feeling, especially when it goes to your partner instead. What did they do that you didn’t? While it might feel like you did everything you could, you may be missing a few key areas where they overshadowed you. To make sure you have all of your bases covered, here are 6 things that you should be doing so that you can make sure the next referral goes to you.
Blow your own trumpet
If no one knows what you’re doing, it may as well have never happened. So shout about it. Be visible both in the office and online, communicate regularly and consistently with influential people and demonstrate your skills and strengths. If your partner is vocal about what they are working on and they are impressing clients and colleagues with their expertise and knowledge, who do you think will get the referral? There are ways that you can blow your own trumpet without showing off, you just need to know how.
Build and maintain strong relationships
Connections may open doors, but relationships close deals and result in referrals. Dedicate time to strengthen key relationships because when your network gets stronger, you get stronger. Concentrate on being helpful and provide value; share your expertise and ideas, give quality referrals, be a connector.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral
Did your partner get the referral because they actually asked for it? That might be the only difference between the both of you but it ended up resulting in a big difference in the end. You can do great work and wow your clients but at the end of the day, helping you out isn’t ever going to be at the top of their list of priorities. So ask for a referral. You never know until you ask. Want to know how to ask for referrals? Read our series of blogs on the subject such as when not to do it!
Develop your internal networking skills
Perhaps your partner has better internal marketing skills than you? If so, you need to be improving yours to start winning referrals from within the company. Make connections with colleagues from different departments, connect with them on LinkedIn, and start building these relationships. Don’t forget to demonstrate your strengths and skills and always try to provide them with value as they will be much more likely to recommend you. By developing your internal networking skills, you will also be making yourself visible to senior members in the company so make some opportunities to network while you work.
Build a reputation as the go-to expert
Another way to make sure that you get the referral over your partner is to work on your reputation. Position yourself as a thought leader in a specific area and over time, you will find that people will come to you and refer you to others as you will be the go-to expert. One of the best ways to do this is to create a professional social media presence where you can be active and get your expertise and advice out there in interesting discussions. You can also provide valuable content which your referral sources can share with their network
What happens if I still don’t get the referral?
Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you want them to even when you’re doing everything right. In these instances, politely ask the referrer why they didn’t refer you. Use the feedback to improve and work on the areas that will increase the likelihood of you being recommended next time. Remember, things take time. All you can do is work hard, implement these 6 points in your day-to-day, and continue to learn and develop.