Tip 1: Focus on quality, not quantity. Having an email list full of referrals who don’t know your name means nothing when it comes time to put them to work. Concentrate on developing a smaller number of strong contacts by utilizing centers of influence in addition to client referrals.

Tip 2: Encourage the “voucher” system. Often times, telling referrals to call another professional doesn’t result in making a solid connection. Instead, build on successful relationships with current referrals and encourage them to act as the bridge between you and their clients. Having your current referrals naturally “vouch” for you to their clients builds credibility with the prospect while strengthening your existing relationship.

Tip 3: Keep your contacts personal. Though it can depend on the person and the relationship, adding a personal touch to your networking can make the difference when it comes to developing leads. Consider sending a birthday card, relevant newspaper article, or anything else that will keep you at the top of their minds.

Tip 4: Network in your niche. Know your audience and know the people and demographic with whom you interact best. In many cases, targeting referrals from existing clients can yield better results than trying to enter into unfamiliar territory. If you work with your strengths, you’re likely to build solid referrals with real futures.

Tip 5: Expand your pool of resources. It’s easy to think in the same box with regard to building a network of referrals. But if you want a leg up when dealing with declining prospects, consider tapping into your centers of influence. Networking with new influences outside your box creates new connections, and oftentimes, new opportunities.