The first step of building your network of referrals

Referral implies recommendation. We will only refer opportunities to someone that we endorse and recommend. While we know referral and recommendation about ourselves are important to our career or business, have we done the same to the people we trust?

Imagine, when we have resigned from our job, we would usually request a reference letter from our employer. But have we ever thought of writing a reference letter for our employer? If the answer is no, why? Obviously, it’s because we are not told to do so. And it looks weird to do so as no one else is doing such thing.

But people on Amazon, Taobao or Airbnb are doing this. The sellers and buyers on these platforms are rating and commenting about each other. It’s because these platforms know the importance of this rating system to their success, and hence they have spent considerable effort to design, promote and educate their platform which incentivise the users to provide rating.

If we want to build a network of referral, we need to act proactively to promote the giver mindset. Users need to see the visualized and quantified aspects of how the recommendations and referrals they have made are contributing to the community and how this contributions would become their self-actualization.

FRN - Referral Community
Start your network of referrals by making recommendations

Making quality referrals may need some skills. But making recommendations is rather easy. There are various kinds of connections you can write recommendations for regardless to your level of experiences. So, start to build your network of referral by making recommendations about other people who you want them to succeed.

Forbole Newsletter #3 – The Road to Giver

You will become more successful by helping others to succeed. An effective way to achieve this is to help people to seize opportunities. If more people choose to become a giver, a powerful community of givers will arise. This post suggested how this would work.

Whenever there is a community, no matter it is online or offline, there will be some kind of central authority to run it. But central authority tends to corrupt. I have cited a real life example how an offline business community could go wrong and how Forbole would solve this problem.

As we want to build an inclusive and diversified community of givers, the culture of our team should be the same. That’s why we need people who are different from us to join us.

And we are not alone. Institutions are now more concern about diversity. AppWorks is one of them. As a leading accelerator in South East Asia, they are now inviting blockchain/AI startups all over the world to join their next cohort. Diversity matters.

FRN - Referral Community

The Giver Mindset on Forbole

In Forbole Referral Network (“FRN”), givers are the people who are eager to help others to succeed. In the developers world, we have already seen the great development in free and open-source software, or FOSS community. We also see platform like Unsplash for people to share photos according to Creative Commons CC0. They are all generous givers.

In terms of business or career, we can also become a giver. But why should we become a giver in the first place? It is a simple maths. As a community, if we help each other to succeed, collectively all of us will have a higher successful rate. When A helps B to succeed, B will become more successful such that she has more resources to help C to succeed. Then C will be able to help A to become more successful.

Imagine a small community of three small businesses: an accountant, a designer and an insurance agent. Obviously they can become each other’s clients: the accountant and designer buy insurance from the agent, the agent and designer seek accounting services from the accountant, and the accountant and the agent seek marketing design services from the designer:

FRN - Referral Community

This is nice. But this is not big. What if each of them refer two business opportunities to one another from sources outside of this small community?

FRN - Referral Community

What if the new 6 people are each from different background and become part of this community?

FRN - Referral Community

So now this is a community of 9 people who actively refer suitable opportunities to each other. It just like each of them are now having a sales team of 8 people with business acumen and a strong giver mindset. One of our missions at FRN is to grow both the quantities and qualities of this community of givers such that the sole proprietors, small businesses and early-stage startups can rely on word-of-mouth referrals to obtain sales lead and tractions.