by Steven Zyskowski

Those who have developed a “by referral only” practice know how important it is to constantly communicate the right messages to their referral partners.  They have tactics and processes they use to track and thank those in their referral universe for the gift of new business opportunities.  Give these concepts some thought and consider bringing these fool proof methods into your business …

 

  • Understand and communicate what’s in it for the referral source. Unless your referral sources live for the joy of simply connecting people together, it is imperative you have a value proposition that has meaning.  Why should they refer you?  What will they get out of it?  How does it add to their business, life and relationship with you?  How will you reciprocate?  Many believe strongly in the go-giver (give to get) process, so step up to the plate armed with an individual value proposition and the quality of your referrals will soar!
  • Invest the time to create connections. Simply asking to use someone’s name is an option (and certainly can warm up an interaction with a prospect) – but having a true connection with the name makes it hot.  Your real goal is to make that connection real and personal.  You want the other person to introduce you.  This means taking the time to nurture someone new that you’ve met, or to reacquaint yourself with someone, or to include a current client in your referral plan.  Get to really know them and their needs.  Be willing to help them out.  Show them how to refer you by delivering a referral yourself to them just the way you would like get one, yourself.  Be patient, be  consistent, follow-up and don’t have your hand out too early.  Earn the right to ask for a referral by creating a true connection yourself.
  • Keep your referral sources up to speed. Once you get the referral, make sure you just don’t disappear with it.  Believe it or not, your referral sources do want to know what happened.  If they don’t … it was probably just a chilly or lukewarm referral at best.  The hot ones, the connected ones, will want to be kept up to speed.  People love to know if they have really been of help.  Respect their efforts by keeping them informed about what their assistance resulted in.  If they know you are making good use of their referrals, they’ll think of you again and again.
  • Thank them in a tangible way. Beyond a verbal thank-you, make sure they know how much you appreciate them by making your thanks tangible.  Return the favor with a reciprocal referral.  Write a hand-written note.  Send a small gift.  Take them to lunch or dinner.  Introduce them to someone you know they would like to meet.  Extend the “give-to-get” full circle to “give back.”  One good referral deserves another and another.  Be both a source and a recipient for a referral strategy that works.