No one ever said that building a network of referral partners is easy. However, when guided by a few tips, the entire process is made easier.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind.

Associate yourself with only the best and most reliable

Once you’ve started building your referral network, it’s important to concentrate on your reputation. ONLY refer business to companies you KNOW are amazing. Your friends, business acquaintances, and most especially your clients need to trust you – they can only trust you if you make a good referral and your referral takes care of them. If you refer a business that sucks – at the end of the day it ISN’T your fault, but I believe that doesn’t matter. You’re a reflection of the company you keep and you own business will be judged by the level of service your referred partner provides.

Keep your promises

Under-promise…then, over-deliver. This is the core of every excellent networker’s thinking. Too many people fail because they keep promising things they already know they cannot deliver. And for what? Nothing but to be labelled as a braggart who cannot be relied on. And once you develop this kind of negative reputation, you might as well kiss your prospects goodbye. No one likes to trust someone who will not come through.

Always strive for excellence

The better your work, the easy you’ll be to work with as a partner –pricing is important, but the ease with which you work with clients and partners and your ability to simply “get the job done” are much more important. If you do great work – your referral network (those businesses that want to toss you clients or new leads) will surely grow.

Establish real, more significant relationships

When in business, you will meet hundreds of people – some fleeting acquaintances whom you know simply by sheer name or association with someone you know – and some really great friends-cum-clients with whom you share more than just a mere “hi” and “hello” with. These are the people whom you can rely on for advice, for referrals, for help and even for friendships. When you develop these types of relationships with the people in your network, more people sincerely have your back – plus they also tend to rally all their own acquaintances to help you, thus helping you increase your referral network.

Do your research

When it comes to referral networking as in all aspects of your business you’ll find time to be your most valuable resource. You’ll simply never have enough of it for everything, therefore before you waste time building a relationship with a referral do your research. Answer the questions; “Is this person a potential client for my business,” or “Can this person get me in touch with potential clients for my business?” If the answer to both of those is “No,” you might consider passing on making the connection at all. Or it can at the very least allow you to prioritise your time between contacts deemed highly valuable and those deemed not-so-valuable.