When you’re doing network marketing, you might hear the phrase “giver’s gain” being thrown around. Basically, this is the idea that people will respond to your referrals and goodwill in kind by sending you referrals. There’s a lot of truth to it, and it’s definitely something I believe in.
But what happens when you have nothing to give?
There’s nothing worse than running into a hot new referral partner who services your target market and has excellent potential to bring you business when you have nothing to offer them. Sure, you might have something for them down the road, but we all know that the longer you go without “making a sale” (e.g. securing the new partnership), the less chance you have of developing a long term relationship with them.
This used to happen to me a lot. I’d meet a new referral partner (not a prospect, but someone who was in a position to send me some business). We’d hit it off and would talk about what kind of business we could refer to each other, shake hands, and leave. I’d go back to the office and desperately look through my contact list hoping I could scrounge up an introduction for my new partner so that I didn’t lose their interest. Most of the time, my search came up cold and the referral partner was never heard from again.
Nowadays, I have a different strategy. I got together with a close friend in a similar but non-competing business. We discussed the situation and agreed to be each other’s “guaranteed referral”. Essentially, we would refer each other whenever we needed to score points with a new relationship. This would put us in good graces with the new partner while we found some more legitimate prospects for them.
So far, the new strategy has worked out well! Having a guaranteed referral in my pocket when I meet with a potential partner gives me the window of opportunity I need to keep my name in front of them while I dig up some legitimate leads and secure a mutually beneficial and profitable relationship.