Midwest Professional Woman's Group Blog

Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group

Networking Events Are Great Places To Generate Referrals

Posted by Dress for Success Midwest Professional Women's Group on September 4, 2010

Most of my business comes from word of mouth referrals and savvy networking. Clients recommend me to their friends and colleagues. Vendors contact me with names of customers who can use my expertise. And people who have heard me speak or read my articles often pass on my name to their business contacts – something called “second hand referrals.”

These referrals don’t come about by accident. I constantly cultivate relations. If clients are pleased with a service we’ve provided, for example, I always make it a point to not only thank them for the compliment but also tell them that the best form of appreciation is to mention my name to their contacts. In return, I look for ways to refer business to clients – and I always let them know that I’m out there scouting business on their behalf. In a similar vein, if a vendor thanks me for my business, I never fail to mention that I appreciate referrals. I also offer an incentive to anyone who refers business: a free PR consultation or social media review.

The key to the success of this approach is to think of these people as conduits to clients. By networking with the sole purpose of helping others and developing relationships, it takes the pressure off you and the people you interact with. After all, what’s more valuable — a pocket crammed full of business cards or an informal sales force that’s out there helping you generate new business?

Iris Salsman has been in the public relations field since 1984. A native Bostonian, she began her PR career at the second largest nonprofit organization in St. Louis, before leaving to co-found Salsman Lundgren Public Relations. One of the most recognized and respected agencies in the St. Louis area, SLPR provided marketing and PR services to clients in a wide range of industries including accounting, architecture, construction, education, engineering, financial services, healthcare, hospitality, interior design, real estate and retail.

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