“You don’t have to know everything. You just have to know people who do.”
That is what makes the Lake Tahoe Business Referral Network successful. We are made up of local business owners, and mainly small businesses where there may be only the “boss” and a couple of employees. Members need to pull from the expertise other referral network members possess for a number of reasons. Here are a few:
- People get to know your work and can support it to other community members
- You can go to the other businesses in the network when overwhelmed or things get out of control
- Being able to collaborate with other professionals on larger projects
A referral is when you connect someone you know to another resource for information or help — in this case, connecting your clients or peers to others within your network who have the skills they are looking for. You know that you are referring people that you can trust and know they’ll provide the service or product you’d be proud of.
South Lake Tahoe is a small community with many different types of businesses to service the locals, the visitors and the 2nd home owners. Being able to refer other local businesses makes the business community stronger and the service received an exceptional one.
How to give good referrals
Call it “good karma” if you like, but part of encouraging people within the referral network to send referrals your way is making an effort to give good referrals. Knowing your contacts well enough to send your own clients to them helps build relationships and is part of providing good customer service. There are a few key elements for good referrals:
- Make sure you understand your client’s problem, and the skills or services they need.
- Identify your own strengths, so you know what work you want to do and what you are good at.
- Focus on doing the work you love and refer the rest to others.
- Follow up on referrals you make — were both parties happy with the result? If not, find out why and fine-tune future referrals accordingly.
Finally, remember to acknowledge people who send you referrals with some form of thank-you recognition!