As a Coach, one of the added values that I give to my clients is referrals to other high-quality business professionals and service providers. In addition, one of the ways I support my relationship building efforts with my business network is by providing business referrals.
But I am very careful about the referrals I give because a bad referral could adversely impact my Personal Brand.
I use LinkedIn to give referrals in two ways:
1. To search for someone I know might be able to provide the service.
2. To vet the business professionals and service providers that I am considering referring.
LinkedIn lets you research referrals in a way that you never could before, unless you had a big fat pile of resumes in your filing cabinet. When you’re connected to someone on LinkedIn, you can immediately look at their work experience, LinkedIn Summary, Recommendations, and shared Connections. You are better able to make sure they’re a high quality referral and a good fit for your client or colleague.
For example, if one my clients needs an attorney, the first thing I do is a LinkedIn People Search – I type “Attorney” into the People field.
If that doesn’t give me the results I need, I do a LinkedIn Advanced People Search:
To do Advanced People Search, click on “Advanced” next to the top search bar (as shown below). This will bring you to the Advanced People Search page:
I usually start my search with the Title and Location fields. The Title field will give me a list of people who have/had the title of “Attorney” and have input it into their Job Titles. I add the location if the referral needs to be local to the client/colleague seeking it.
Title: Be sure to cover your bases with this one – remember that there can be multiple titles for a single position depending on the industry and/or company. In this instance I would enter, “attorney” and then do a separate search for “lawyer.”
If you want to narrow your search, you can select Current or past from the drop-down menu. If you don’t make a selection, LinkedIn will include people who have a current or past title of Attorney. If you want to be sure you only look at people who are actively practicing law, be sure to select Current.
Location: Entering data in these fields will allow you to find service providers that are convenient for your client or colleague. Simply enter their zip code in the postal code field.
If you don’t find what you want by using the Title and Location fields, then I would a keyword search:
Keyword field: In the Keyword field, I would type in “attorney” and “lawyer”. (I would use both terms because some people use one term and some the other term). If this particular client wanted a patent attorney, I would specify that in the Keyword field, as well.
I usually narrow my search to include only 1st and 2nd Tier Connections. This is because if someone is in your first tier Connections, you know them. If they’re in your second tier connections, you can ask your Connection about the quality of the person’s work.
I don’t usually look in Group Members of 3rd tier because I don’t really know these people.
When I find someone that looks like a possible match, I then review their Profile to determine if they are a good match for the request. I will let you in on how I vet my referrals in a future Blog Post.