Back in June, I wrote a post asking why other vendors should refer you. Well, I have to say, I’m still wondering.
I’m seeing a lot of what I’d tag as “WTF behavior” lately. Wedding vendors walking around at networking events, handing out cards and then bailing with nary a question about the other person’s business. These same vendors sending out form emails after the event, asking to be referred (and, sometimes, offering to pay for said referrals) as if that’s all it takes. Photographers clogging group message boards with their requests to be hired as second shooters, with little to no information about themselves or why someone should trust them. Businesses of all types spamming others’ Facebook pages and blogs with demands to “LIKE MY COMPANY.”
Allow me to be the first to point out: you’re doing it wrong.
Referral relationships, at least the quality ones, don’t come from fly-bys, or “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” arrangements.
Quality referral relationships are built on trust. (After all, you’re asking another vendor to put their professional reputation on the line by vouching for you.) They’re built on mutual respect. And they’re built on a connection that runs deep enough that you each want to refer one another, proactively, because you’re both that confident that the other will give the client an outstanding experience.
Think about that the next time that you’re asking other people to refer you — and consider slowing down enough to really get to know the person you’re asking. I promise that will be more fruitful than all the business card flinging, Facebook spamming, and message board advertising in the world.