Our Help Section is a work in progress to assist you in learning about our site, navigating it better and getting the most out of your membership. We try our best to categorize your questions and provide useful answers... but if you don't think we've answered your questions sufficiently... please use our Contact Us form and tell us... we'll try out best to bet simple, clear and concise! Please also visit our the ReferralSmart.com blog, which we will use to help post useful articles designed to help you get more referrals and use our site better!
Here's all you need to do to get started:
1. Sign-up for free
2. Activate your account through the email instructions
3. Log in
4. Update your Profile
5. Invite Connections (Members) to your network by using either the SEARCH feature to find existing business members, or sending email requests to business people you currently know. We highly recommend that you get to know these members on a one-to-one basis, prior to accepting or sending a Connection request.
6. Look for opportunites to refer good quality Referrals to Members whom you have make Connections with and they will be looking to do the same for you! Every time you accept a referral, one referral credit will be deducted from your account. Every time you send a referral and it's accepted, you'll get a Reward Point! The site gives you a free referral credit upon signing up. You can purchase more with a credit card or paypal account. Rewards credits can be redeemed in the future for prizes!
7. You can track the success of the referrals you receive and the site will help you monitor your success!
What is a Connection?
A Connection is another business member that has mutually agreed to join your Personal Business Referral Network. You now have a business connection who is looking to find people to refer to your business, and you should look for opportunities to referr business to that member as well.
How to I make a connection?
Using the SEARCH feature you can look for other business members in your area that could become powerful referral "spheres of influence" for you. You can also invite business people who are not currently part of ReferralSmart.com, by using the Invite feature and sending up to 10 prospective members customized email invitations.
Why would I decline a connection?
There may be a couple of reason to decline a connection, including scenerio where you may speak with, or meet the member and not feel tha that you "click" with them as a potential referral source or as someone whom you would like to refer. You also have the option, after accepting or sending an invitation to another ReferralSmart.com member, to withdrawal that invitation or withdraw them from your network. However, we strongly recommend that you try to choose members whom you genuinely feel you can network with successfully from the beginning. A successful referral network is about quality, not quantity.
What kinds of membership do you offer?
The basic membership is free to join and you can have up to 20 business connections in your personal business referral network. If you feel you need more connections we offer a couple of options to upgrade and be able to accept more connections for a nominal one-time fee or you can redeem Rewards Points (if you have accumulated enough) to upgrade for no additional cost. However, we think for most members, 20 connections is all they will need to build a successful referral network.
My local networking group that meets at the diner is an "exclusive" network. You promote a "non-exclusive" network. Can I still join if I am a member of an "exclusive" network... and why should I?
Are you going to be the next LinkedIn or Facebook?
No! We certainly hope not! We have great respect for communities like Facebook and LinkedIn... and maybe you find them useful. That's great. But, ReferralSmart is NOT meant to replace those communities or even eminate them. ReferralSmart is meant to be a very focused personal referral network for your business. We have an ethical standars policy, we help you track the referral business that you give and receive and we hope that you make a limited number of very meaningful business connections rather than a plethora (that's a lot) of business friends that expand your business "social" network but are virtually meaningless towards your ability to grow each other's business with a steady stream of high quality referrals. You simply can't forge meaningful referral relationships with three hundred "business" friends whom you don't know well, don't speak to often, and don't know their business personally. ReferralSmart is unique in purpose and scope. We are not all things to all businesses... we are a focused referral network for businesses that would like to increase their business in that way.
Can I promote more than one business that I own or represent?
Yes, our network is non-exclusive and if you are part of two or three businesses, you can discuss all of them. However, we do ask that you do really work for or operate these businesses, can take care of referrals received through this site for those businesses and operate them on "business class" level.
I can't find my business industry, specialty or designation. What do I do?
Beside each of these categories, we have a "Suggest" link. We are trying to keep the database clean and standardized for easier searching. If your find a category with a drop down menu that does not have the data you need, please suggest it to us, we will review it quickly and add it or suggest an alternative to you.
I have multiple designations, but you only allow me to choose one. How should I handle it?
We suggest that you choose the highest designation. You can always list the same industry and specialty under industry2 or industry3, etc. and pick the other designation(s) under them. You can also add them under the Value Proposition section or the Additional Comments sections of your Profile.
What is the Referral Requests section?
Under this section you can be specific about the types of referrals you are looking to receive or referrals that you don't want to receive from other members in your network. This will help them provide better quality referrals to you, since they know the types of customers you are looking for... or not looking for!
What is the Value Proposition section?
In this section, you can note what makes you unique and why people would want to do business with you.
How does your Rewards program work, and how to you ensure that it meets ethical standards?
It depends on how the reward system works. We think we have developed a system that is ethical and makes accumulating rewards... well, rewarding... on an ethical level. Here's what we think and what we do for members:
When we set out to build ReferralSmart, we wanted to create a site that allowed members to pass referrals to each other, and feel rewarded by not only getting them, but by giving them, too. The difficulty that any rewards program faces, is how to make a rewards system work and still be operate on a highly ethical level.
First, Our system rewards you for passing referrals to members of your group that are acceptable by those members. You get one Reward Point per referral that a member accepts. It doesn't matter which member you pass it to, the Rewards Point awarded remains constant and does not favor one member over another (e.g. If you give a referral to Member B rather than Member C, there is no way for the system to give you more Rewards Points for doing so... all referrals from one member to another are rewarded equally.)
Second, a Rewards Point has no monetary value. After the "beta" of the site is completed, we plan on adding a way for members to redeem their Rewards Points for prizes. Accumulation of Rewards Points, in itself is a nice "thank you" for passing the referral... however, it is not enough of an incentive to make a bad referral or a referral to a member whom you think may not be the best fit for the referral.
Third, members who accept a referral, pay a nominal Referral Credit, which compensates the site for the referral system and the rewards program. Members who pass a referral realize that the member who accepts the referral is paying this nomial Referral Credit. Knowing this, ethically and socially, should deter members from passing referrals to each other that are not truly felt to help the other member.
How does your rewards program differ from others?
We think we overcome the ethical challenges that some other sites have. For example, we know of at least one other site that offers rewards for giving referrals. However, they created a system where the person who receives the referral can pay a cash/gift card to the member who referred. The cash value of this one referral could be $50 or even $100 or more. We see two big problems. First if Member B does not offer a reward, but member C is offering $100... this may be an incentive for Member A to make the wrong choice to whom they refer business. Second, many licensed professions do not allow the cash compensation for a referral. Third, for a member trying to compete for business, paying $50 or $100 for a referral is expensive and, we think, an unnecessary use of your budget. That's not the kind of business community that we are trying build. At ReferralSmart, we strive to develop a community of excellent businesses who uphold excellent ethical standards and eminate the highest level of integrity.
How does the site help me track referral business?
ReferralSmart was built to help you track your referral business! Currently, you can track the details about each referral that you have received, which member it was received from, the outcome of the referral to your business and the dollar impact it had or will have to your revenue or income. As the site develops we have more exciting statistics that we can provide, based on your feedback.