The reason we commit to networking is to foster partnerships that ultimate generate quality referrals, these then lead to a personal connection or endorsement to those we want to do business with. For those familiar with the BNI, it’s a “Givers Gain” philosophy. By giving business to others, you will get business in return. Let me say that again slowly…by giving business to others, you will get business in return. In order to effectively serve this purpose it is critical that we understand each others business’ at a deeper level. This is why one on one meetings are so critical to any individuals success. These meetings build credibility, as well as, deepen our understanding of the products and services that a fellow member may offer. Here are four things you should know when making a referral: “What to look for” What are the signs that someone would use to identify a good prospect; this could include where they are located or where they live, size of the business, socio-economic clues, age of an individual or age of a business, type of business or type of work that they do, or perhaps family circumstances. “What to listen for” This would include the types of things a potential customer might be talking about, or the type of pain or issue they might be sharing, or even could be heard in what they find newsworthy. We should also know what someone’s ‘ideal prospect’ looks like. How would they describe the client in terms of attitude or aptitude, or it could be in terms of where they are in the timing of a decision or a life transition. And last but not least we must be clear on “What to say to that prospect” when we want to make a referral. It is important to understand how to introduce a colleague, how to get to the next step and give clarity of why that person is someone they would benefit from knowing. YOUR CHALLENGE: Schedule a one on one with someone you need to get to know better. Someone that you have not met with recently or someone you have not yet met with at all and learn what to look for, what to listen for, their ideal prospect and what to say to introduce them.