The ABCs of Referral Marketing – G is for Giving

by Sandra Hart on June 18, 2014 · 0 comments

Different snacks for wine on banquet tableDid you ever go to a “bring a bottle” party? Or a summer barbeque where everybody brings some food or dessert? You want to be the person who brings something to the party, people enjoy it and in turn you enjoy their food or drinks. Everyone has a great time.

You don’t want to be that guy who comes to the party all the time with nothing, however they still expect everyone to feed them! What if everyone turned up with nothing? Then the party is over before it even began.

Yet this is how we approach our networking, or referral generation with our “what’s in it for me?” hat on….. we want to eat at the table without bringing anything to the table.

I work in an organisation where the philosophy is built on the idea of “Givers Gain”. By giving business to others, you will get business in return. This is predicated on the age old idea of “what goes around comes around”.

Because I am surrounded by people who live and work within this philosophy, I forget that mostly in business people focus on the gain and not the giving. A “giving” intention in your networking and building of relationships sounds like a nice to do, but it is actually a need to do!

Focus on what you can give to a relationship rather than what you can gain and you will develop the relationship more quickly. A lot of the time when we think about what we can give we think automatically about quality business referrals. This is great, however we are not always in a position to give these referrals depending on the stage of the relationship and the networks we have.

So what else can you give?


You may know about upcoming events which may be of interest to others or you may have come across an interesting article or book which may help someone. Never underestimate the power of your knowledge and how it can be used to help others. Perhaps you are at a stage in business where you can mentor others and help them get through stages you have already been through.


We sometimes forget about the power of our connections, perhaps you can connect two people who have the same target market or have a similar niche who could help each other. Often there will be no direct tangible benefit for you in making these connections. Connecting others without expecting anything in return is a win-win all round, it is a win for the two people being connected and you benefit from building two relationships.


Have you used the products or services of others who are GREAT at what they do? Think of the last time you had a really good experience in terms of service or the quality of a product. Did you tell them? Did you give them a testimonial, either in writing, on social media, personally or chat to others about the quality or service? So often we let these opportunities pass us by. It is never too late to let someone know how great they are!

There are loads of other ways to give, it is the focus on giving (without expecting anything in return) which will make all the difference to you when building relationships. Quality business referrals will come from building relationships with quality business people. Try it, especially if it is not something you have been practising and see what happens as a result!

We would love to hear how you get on…..

Sandra Hart
Sandra Hart runs BNI, Irelands leading business referral organisation, she trains and mentors members and leads a team who enable local business people to find new clients and generate new business. She is an expert on the topics of networking, word of mouth marketing and referrals.

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