by Dennis Volz

in Working by Referral

WORKING BY REFERRAL and NETWORKING while intimately related are not the same thing. While you can certainly do both concurrently, it’s helpful to distinguish the difference between the two activities. That’s important because nurturing one doesn’t necessarily bring results in the other.

Here’s how it looks to me anyway:

NETWORKING is the process of knowing lots of people, businesses and centers of influence and serving as the CONNECTOR for those entities. You bring people in your network together for business, services or just friendship. For example, you might know a general contractor who’s just lost his favorite Plumbing Contractor because he moved out of state. You happen to know a great plumbing contractor and you introduce them. or… You have a friend who has a problem getting her kids to study and another friend who USED to have the same problem until she instituted some strategies with her kids and now they study very well. You introduce them. In a fashion, it’s providing referrals for others within your network. THAT’S NETWORKING.

Networking can also be the process of nurturing relationships within your company or profession to exchange information, learn and grow together. It can also help you in the “Cover for me” types of things — You get into a pinch with the kids ride or get sick… etc.

WORKING BY REFERRAL, on the other hand, is the process of nurturing your relationships with numerous people, businesses and centers of influence thru personal, written, phone and email communications that serves to:

  1. Keep your name in front of them.
  2. Ask them for referrals and keep them aware that you REALLY DO appreciate their referrals.
  3. Demonstrate your competency at your chosen profession thru timely accurate information and problem solving abilities
  4. Show that you are a resource for knowledge, information, and encouragement.

So here’s the important part for me. The process of NETWORKING doesn’t necessarily get the same results as does the process of WORKING BY REFERRAL. I’ll be the first to admit that the efforts in one area do, in a sense, serve the results in another but without this clear distinction you could end up being a great NETWORKER and never receive the benefit of getting referrals from that network.

            It's a Good Life! . . . .