If your business model is built with a series of individual transactions and little or no repeat business, today’s blog post may not be very relevant. However, if you are in a relationship business, built on multiple interactions with clients, it is likely you have run into this situation.

It begins with a question, “I know you don’t do this, but do you know someone who…”

Whenever I hear that question I know I will be talking about something my customer needs, but I don’t provide. They ask me, because they trust my opinion even outside my area of expertise.

As a marketing professional, I can’t provide accounting services. Well, I could but it wouldn’t be very helpful. I can’t provide legal or IT support services either. So when the question arises, I introduce my clients to resources I trust.

Even though you aren’t doing the work yourself, your reputation is on the line when you endorse someone else to do the work. So how do you make a good introduction and protect your reputation?

Leverage the Power  of Power Circles

Five years ago, I wrote a series of blog posts and an eBook on the subject of creating a power circle. A Power Circle is a network with which you share leads and referrals. It doesn’t have to be a huge group. Remember you are investing a little bit of yourself with each referral, so invest wisely.

When you are out meeting with prospects or just at a networking event, keep your ears open not just for opportunities for your own business, listen for opportunities for your referral partners as well. The process only works if everyone is willing to share the love.

Social Networking

As my business has matured, I find I don’t do as much face-to face networking as I used to. The art of the introduction, however, is still alive and well in my business practices. I just do it a little differently these days as traditional networking meets social media, resulting in social networking.

Today, I make introductions through social media. If I see someone on Twitter or Facebook asking about accounting, legal or plumbing services, I am going to make a digital introduction or a public endorsement. It is a much more public way of connecting people. Digital introductions or a quick tweet take just a moment, but pay off as you build a reputation as someone who is willing to refer others.

It is called the web for a reason. We are all interconnected. The more you share, the more connections you will make. In the end, you increase the chances the introductions will come back to you in the form of a new customer or business partner.