Networking checklistGenerating referrals from your network and existing clients is less about doing a good service, and more about delivering an extraordinary service so that you are so memorable (for the right reasons) you remain top-of-their-mind. Very often professionals sabotage their ability to get referred by offering a ‘me-too’ service, i.e. the same services that their competitors offer. If you tailor your services to your target market, you will give yourself the opportunity to deliver extraordinary services. This post has five signs that you probably need to do some more research of your target market, if you want more referrals from your network.

1) Your services and packages sound exactly like your competitors

One of the benefits of marketing to a specific market is the opportunity to tailor your services exactly to their requirements. This then makes your offering far more irresistible to your potential clients than the ‘bland’ service offering that your competitors offer to the marketplace in general.

2) After you did your research your services and packages stay the same

Very often when we say we have done our research, what we have done is relied on our own knowledge of the niche we want to service. The best way to really understand what will motivate your target market to buy from you is to ask them. Then when you’ve got under their skin, change your services and package them up to really appeal to your ideal client.

3) You have a very generic description of an ideal client

How many times have I heard, typically from accountants and lawyers, the joke that their ideal client is:

  • one that pays the bills on time, without any quibbling
  • one that values your services, and sees you more as a trusted adviser than supplier

Unfortunately clients don’t go around with signs on them telling you this. Also, you need to get far more specific about who you actually help. Typically you need to include an event or trigger which will help people identify referrals for you. For example, instead of retirees, how about retirees who will be doing a self assessment for the tax man for the first time. Or instead of owner-managed businesses, how about owners of businesses who are working very long hours because they don’t have a senior team they can trust to delegate to.

4) More of your competitors are present at the event than potential clients

When I go face-to-face networking I tend not to bump into 4+ coaches in the same room. It’s because I go to places where my ideal client hangs out, not where my competitors hang out. This is why I rarely turn up to mix’n’mingle events to meet other local businesses. If you are not meeting enough of the right type of people when you go face-to-face networking, then it’s time to do some more research.

5) You don’t get enough referrals via your network

This can be a sign that you are not memorable enough – I.e. your offering is too generic. To be really memorable, you need to be very specific about who you help and when you help them. Download now our free guide to building your own personal networking strategy to get more business from your network, it's free and waiting for you right now in our JoinedUp Networking toolkit. This toolkit is a resource library stuffed with goodies to help you get better results from your networking (email address required). Click here to download it.


Written by Heather Townsend. I help professionals become the 'Go To Expert'. I am the co-author of 'How to make partner and still have a life', 'The Go-To Expert' and the author of the award-winning and bestselling book on Networking, 'The FT Guide To Business Networking'. To find out whether I can help you read 'is this you' Connect with me on ,  LinkedIn and Twitter