Initially, you need to be liked. (Unfortunate, I know.) That’s online too!
If you’re not liked, nothing else matters. I’m not going to refer someone I don’t like, even if they’re great at what they do. (The exception might be a brain surgeon – I may not like him, but if he’s the best in the business, he gets the job.) In general, we don’t refer people we don’t like.
How can you be more liked? It may seem obvious but behaviors that reflect likability include listening, asking questions (about them), taking notes during a meeting, being attentive and not multi-tasking (yes, even in a virtual environment), following through, being early, and valuing the time of others. Of course, being fun, and open enough to share what’s going on in your life is a great way to connect on a much more personal level. (Example: I’m going through some challenging elder care issues with my dad. It’s amazing how many people can relate to this.)
After likability comes credibility. Be good at what you do. Be compatible with the type of business that you’re looking for. Add extra value. Do all the things that make the person who is referring you look good. (It’s all about looking good after all!)
When a colleague refers me to an agency or firm that wants to hire me, I go a little above and beyond. Even more so than I might normally, because I want to make the referral source look great. I want people to go back to them and say, “What a great referral. Thank you so much for putting us in touch with Michael.”
If you make your referral source look good, they will keep referring you.
And that’s good!
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash