How to Get Stronger Manufacturing Referrals in 2020

Ever have a strong meeting with a manufacturing colleague that results in them promising to refer you to a few companies but then weeks go by and the referral never happens? Manufacturing referrals open doors to new business opportunities but getting your business colleagues to introduce you is easier said than done. While I’m sure most people have great intentions when agreeing to refer you to a contact in their network, oftentimes, they get bogged down with work and forget or keep putting it off. By using this method, you are taking the pressure off your colleague and making the referral process as easy as copying and pasting!

Deep Search Your Business Connection’s Network on LinkedIn

Have a good relationship with a business connection? Why not ask them for a referral. Instead of asking them blankly for a referral, it’s better to see who they are connected to and ask for specific referrals, by name. I always take a deep dive into who my colleague is connected to on LinkedIn, what professional organizations they are involved in, and what schools they have attended to identify any opportunities for referrals they may have. I try to come into our business lunch with 3-5 contacts I think could be a fit for my services.

At the Meeting and Follow-Up Post Meeting

At your business meeting, say the following:

“Hi [Business Contact], I see you are connected with [Name] on LinkedIn. After reviewing their website, I think they could use our products/services. Would you be willing to introduce us?”

If your contact agrees to refer you, send a follow-up email immediately after your meeting saying something along the lines of the following:

“Thank you very much. Below I’ve attached a draft email introduction which you can use or tweak as you see fit.”

Sending a draft intro is helpfulfor a few reasons:

  1. You are taking the pressure off your contact to draft an introduction.
  2. Your contact will be more likely to refer you in a timely manner since it’s as simple as a quick copy and paste
  3. You can control how you are introduced and ensure that the first introduction to you and your company is as strong as possible.

Drafting Your Referral Intro

Stumped on how to draft your intro, here are some tried and true tips and tricks I learned from Caleb Townsend, co-founder of Factur—Manufacturing Referrals Network.

  1. Keep it short and sweet 4-6 brief sentences. Nobody has time to read a novel so keep it straight and to the point.
  2. Make your name a link to your LinkedIn profile and your company name a link to your website.
  3. Don’t bury the lead- keep the ask at the beginning of the intro. People shouldn’t find out that your contact is looking to refer you to the last sentence.
  4. Put a sentence about your differentiating factors in the paragraph.
  5. Any notable awards or industry certifications? Include those in a sentence.
  6. Soft-close that puts the ball in their court and gives the person being asked the ability to say no.


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