This is from my series of the 7 lessons that rugby can teach relationship marketing and is a sub section of create a good team around you.
Not only is it important to create a high quality team it must also be of the right size and he right blend of people. In rugby that means recruiting or developing in your squad a squad that is big enough to compete throughout the season. A team that is made up of specialists but also versatile players that can move around the team to cover when others are not available through injury or illness. Each rugby player has their own skill-set to work on. They work on these individually, in pairs, in small groups and as a team and as a whole as a squad. Each squad should be constructed in balance and the best people available at the time are selected.
Within referral marketing you need to create and maintain a high quality team of the right size and the right blend of people. By meeting people you can develop relationships with people who can fit into the 4 types of relationships that work as set out in my blog “The 4 types of relationships that work”. You can also develop relationships with people from referral contacts to referral partners over time as appropriate. Some of these people will “specialise” as just one of the types of relationship and other people in your network will be more versatile and will be able to be introducers as well as advocates and referral partners.
We work with our network in 1 to 1 situations, in small teams, as a team and as a larger team or squad at the big events. We have to devote time to people in different situations because of this we need to plan. We need to decide how much time we can devote to maintaining each type of relationship. This varies for different relationships and it will be different for every person, what is right for me may not be right for you. What I am going to set out is what my target is, this is a guide. What you decide needs to be right for you now. In the future your number may go up or down.
In my previous blog I defined 4 types of relationship that work.
1. Referral partners
For me 16 relationships work as referral partners, 8 people for whom I am actively seeking referrals for and 8 people who have agreed to look for referrals for me. I need to maintain this type of relationship intensively with 1:1 meetings at least quarterly and regular updates by phone and email in between. Do not rush to fill this list. You will be investing a lot of time with these people so it is worth waiting for the right people.
You can have more introducers as the time required to maintain these relationships is less, maybe an annual 1:1 meeting and other face to face small team or group meetings. These relationships could also be maintained by social media, phone and via website updates. These relationships will have a solid face to face relationship at the start. I aim to have about 10-20 people like this.
Advocates are people who you will meet on a regular basis perhaps at a regular structured networking event. You will have had at least 1:1 with them and you will be spending time maintain these relationships. I aim to have a further 20-40 people in this section.
4. Referral contacts
I want 50 people in my funnel. This 50 can be very fluid and random. This is a testing ground and therefore I have not made any decisions about people in this group. I have to invest some time in relationships that might not work. It is fun however to meet lot of new people so you don’t have to limit the numbers in the group too much. What you should consider however is the number of people that you agree to have a 1 to 1 with. I suggest that if it feel right then go for it provided you have a time slot.
Networking needs to work for you to create referral partners. Relationships that used to work for you may no longer be right for you any more at least not at their previous level. Keep a close eye on your network. Are you looking after it? Are you getting what you need from your network? Is your relationship still healthy?
Create your own squad of networkers. Plan the size that you want them and the time you are prepared to invest in them. Do this and your network will be powerful and together you will have huge success.
In the next blog I will talk about how you should train together and how to organise your 1:1 schedule.