Referral Networking: I Liked [BforB] So Much, I Bought A Franchise.

Tony Hayes is the director of Diamond Solutions UK Ltd, one of the North West’s leading telecommunication solutions companies.

He is also the BforB regional director for the North West of England, running 13 separate groups in and around Manchester.

If anybody knows a thing or two about the value of referral networking and the benefits it can bring, it’s Tony. In fact he liked referral networking so much he bought a franchise. Here’s what he had to say about the network.

What makes referral networking right for your business?

“I work in Telecoms and it’s very competitive sector. The only way you’re going to remain competitive is if you get quality leads. What has given my business the edge is referral networking. For my Diamond Solutions business a high percentage of my business comes through referral networking. I’d say it’s probably in excess of 80% of my business that comes this way. Does it work for my business? Well, put it this way: I liked it so much I bought a franchise, so yes it does.”

Why did you choose BforB in preference to other referral networks?

“I’ve worked with other referral networks before I became a BforB franchisee and still attend these occasionally, but I prefer BforB as a network because it’s more relaxed and we only meet once a fortnight. But because it’s more relaxed I tend to get more quality referrals. Some networking groups can be frantic, and there can be business papers flying around. There’s not that sort of pressure to give referrals in the BforB network, so that gives me more time to get to know other members, do one-to-ones and also provide them with quality business. We get more time to understand what each other wants and needs, and this leads to exchanging quality leads that normally turn into business.”

What advice would you give to businesses thinking of joining BforB’s network?

“There are numerous ways with which you can market your own business, but what you have to do as an individual is find out what suits you. BforB won’t be for everybody, but only you will know whether it’s right for you. Sometimes people don’t want to get up in the morning to get business, so as far as I’m concerned there’d be no point in joining a network like BforB if that’s what you felt.”

Referral networking is a very effective way of getting new business, but you have to be prepared to put the effort in. If you’re not prepared to sit down and get to know the other people around the table, then you’re not going to get any business out of the network. More importantly why would any member give their best clients to other members who they don’t really know? You wouldn’t would you, because if can have a detrimental effect on your business if the member you’ve recommended fails to deliver.”

Would you recommend BforB for other businesses?

“Would I recommend BforB to other businesses? Well, yes I definitely would, but only if they’re prepared to put in the work. All I would say is don’t expect immediate results. Take the time to get to know other members, and referrals will come eventually.