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Using your network for referrals

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in Career Management,Centerpiece,Workplace Communication

A great personal network isn’t necessarily one with a lot of connections—it’s one with quality connections who will refer clients to you or endorse you in a way that helps advance your career, says Joanne Black, author of the best-selling book No More Cold Calling.

She lists four types of people who are most likely to fall into this category:

  1. Happy clients. These customers can speak first-hand to your good work.
  2. Close friends and family. These folks are presumably at least a bit biased, but they should be willing to help you out.
  3. People your happy clients have contacted on your behalf. The close connection can be helpful.
  4. Individuals you’ve met through the people in category 3. You can build a relationship with them separate from the people who introduced you. But don’t try to sell them something or push yourself on them.

When someone agrees to make a referral for you, be sure to ask them to let you know when they’ve done so, then follow up three times, ad­­vises Black.

  1. Within one day of the referral. Get in touch with your original contact to thank her.
  2. After meeting or speaking with your new contact. Send another thank-you to your original contact and let her know how it went.
  3. If the referral results in new busi­­ness or a new opportunity. Up­­date your original contact and let her know what happened.

— Adapted from “How to Build a Network of Contacts,” Geoffrey James, Inc.

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