Are you the referral I’m looking for?

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How to get more referrals

I feel like I’m stalking a colleague of mine. But in a good way.

I keep finding opportunities to refer business to her. Over the last couple of months, it seems like every week I’ve found someone to refer to her. Some are potential clients, some are ideal partner opportunities and one is a speaking gig.

It’s got me thinking “why am I doing this?” and how can we all learn how to be more referable.

A friend recently posted on LinkedIn that I’m a superconnector. I hadn’t heard that term before but he was graciously saying that I was great at connecting people who could both benefit. I guess I do enjoy helping people in that way, but why am I sending so many referrals to Shanelle in particular?

Firstly let me tell a few points about my friend Shanelle:

  • She runs a digital agency that specializes in online marketing and digital fundraising for “not for profits”.
  • I’ve heard her present on her area of expertise a couple of times and have been impressed.
  • I know her through two networks I have a strong involvement with – BNI & KPI.
  • A couple of close friends have used her services and speak highly of her.
  • We caught up for a chat late last year and so she was front of mind.

So here’s my theory on why I find it easy to refer to Shanelle. Hopefully, these insights will help others make themselves more referable.

  1. Know, like and trust

    If you’ve been in any networking organization like BNI you’ll know that before you refer someone you must know, like and trust them. Three simple words that require an investment of time and energy to get to that point.

    I’ve known Shanelle for about 5 years. I’ve seen her progress in her business and have been impressed with the clarity she has around what she does. When we met for a chat last year she kindly gave me a copy of her book and I’ve heard good things about her from mutual clients/friends. She is someone I know, like and trust.
    The reality is however, I have plenty of friends and colleagues that I know, like and trust. So what else is going on?

  2. The same sandpit

    Shanelle works with “not for profits” and so do I. She helps them with their digital marketing and online fundraising and I produce fundraising videos and promotional videos for “not for profits”. So we are playing in the same space. We are meeting with people who will have need of both our services.

    As I completed a proposal yesterday I noticed on the client’s brief that they were intending to use the annual giving video I was quoting to encourage online donations. Guess who I thought? Which leads me to my next point.

  3. Clear niche

    What makes it easy for me after ticking off points 1 & 2 above is that I know what Shanelle does and who she does it for. She is all about digital fundraising for “not for profits” and having seen her presentations I know she is an expert in this space. It is a very narrow and specific niche. Every time I hear “not for profit” and “online marketing” or “online fundraising,” I think of Shanelle. When you are able to refine your niche so clearly you will make it easy for people to refer to you. This is something we both learned while doing the KPI (Key Person of Influence) course.

  4. Aligned opportunities

    I also work with schools and universities and help them with their alumni videos, enrolment videos and fundraising videos. I know when schools are looking to run campaigns and raise funds online they could also benefit from Shanelle’s expertise. Technically schools are “not for profits”, but they are not who you immediately think of when you hear that term. Regardless, the processes that Shanelle provides still apply. So I happily refer Shanelle to the schools as well.

  5. Partnership opportunities

    I was talking to someone this week who specializes in making websites for “not for profits”. So naturally, I started talking about an expert in online fundraising for “not for profits”. It made sense to me that someone who is building websites in this sector would like to know someone who specializes in a critical component of that space. They were grateful for the introduction.

  6. Be front of mind

    While there are plenty of opportunities to connect online the old fashion coffee and chat is important to really connect with people and to keep you front of mind. The catch up I had with Shanelle last year brought what she does into focus for me.

I know people worry if they narrow their marketing to a very specific niche they will miss out on opportunities. Those who have done it well, like Shanelle, are great examples of how it makes it easier to refer work and how you will also attract aligned work.

Want to learn more about Shanelle’s business? Check out Parachute Digital.

Do you have any stories about people you find it easy to refer to?

If you are looking for some creative solutions to get your clients to take the critical next step, give us a call on

About Geoff Anderson

About Geoff Anderson

Geoff Anderson is the owner of Sonic Sight and has been producing videos for 30 years. He is an author, presenter as well as a video producer.

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