The Seven Secrets of Referral SuccessJanuary 21, 2012
Looking for ways to enrich your referral strategy this year? Here are seven action points to help you develop valuable relationships and cultivate a network of endless referrals.
Secret #1. Know the Industry Norm for Referring
Follow the industry’s guidelines when making referrals. For example, in some industries, a formal referral letter is standard; in others, a phone call will suffice.
Secret #2. Disclose a Finders Fee Up Front
When it comes to commissions, make sure everyone is in the information loop. By communicating the arrangement upfront, you’re less likely to cause misunderstandings or fall-outs after the fact.
Secret #3. Find Opportunities to Reciprocate Referrals
Referral reciprocity helps build lasting, trusting relationships, shows appreciation, and strengthens business bonds. This reciprocity feeds on thoughtfulness. Continued business success results.
Secret #4. Always Speak with Respect
Be professional and positive at all times. Know that you put the referring agent in a good light if the match is successful. Also, if you speak ill of others, it could get back to them just as fast as they can flip their Rolodex to a new business contact. Capital “R” referral etiquette means showing respect for everyone involved: both those who connect the parties and those who have something to give.
Secret #5. Keep Track of Where a Referral Came From
If you were referred to for your specialty, stick to what you specialize in. Send your referral back to the referring agent if additional work needs to be done. This builds trust and sets the stage for future referrals. Keep track of who referred you so you can officially thank them.
Secret #6. Send “Thank You” Notes to All Referral Sources
Say “thank you” to all referring agents, whether you take on the work or not. If you do the work, show your gratitude by sending each of them a formal “thank you” note when you complete it.
Secret #7. After the Connection, Follow Up
Follow up via phone or email to your referring sources. This will strengthen your relationship, improve how you do business together, and keep your name “top of mind” when the next opportunity comes along.
Follow this basic format for all your referrals and feel confident that your referral etiquette is on track for business success.
For more business etiquette tips and advice, download “The Power of Polite: A Guide to Etiquette in Business” today (and get one step ahead of your competition!)