You might find yourself scratching your head, wondering how to select some key partners and candidates for your referral network. You’ve noted a few specialists in different complimentary fields that you’d like to create a relationship with that you didn’t already have. You want to create an exclusive arrangement with these partners, and you want to kick all of this into high gear and begin trading referrals and getting busy.

When you don’t know someone immediately, where do you turn? How about Linked In?

If you don’t have a Linkedin profile you should get one. There’s a myth that Linked In is essentially just a Facebook for business but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Linked In has a very practical benefit that most of us don’t even realize for creating, or assisting with the creation of, a referral network and beyond. Most people’s extended professional networks are hidden from view — both to others and themselves. When I say ‘network”, I don’t mean what you can immediately see or who you immediately know, I mean the six degrees of each one of us — professionally speaking.

If it weren’t for my own Linked In network, I wouldn’t have realized that one of my closest personal friends has a 1st level relationship (and friendship) with a very in-demand and highly recommended French translation expert that I required on a recent project with the Federal Government of Canada. Translation was also a category in my referral marketing network that was unoccupied, and which I was occasionally (and lazily) reminding myself to fill in at some point in the event that I ever came across a media project that would require one firsthand. I took a quick scan of my extended network, and found Isabelle McCann at Anglo Franco Communications. I’ve since contracted her on the project, had an opportunity to meet to her and she just referred me to one of her customers looking for customized USB flash drives (one of Standard Media’s specialties).

We want to know your thoughts on and ideas on selecting partners when building your referral network. Let us know what’s worked for you, and what hasn’t.

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