How You Serve As a Resource For Your Referrals
The main motivation any of us have to give a referral is to look good. We want to be helpful to others. To be a hero! We don’t do it for money or rewards. We do it because we want to look good.
When you referred someone to a restaurant you liked, you talked about the good food and the wonderful service. And when the person comes back and thanks you because they experienced the same good food and service, how did you feel? You feel good.
At some point your referring source must know what you do and how you will operate when you get a referral. They must have full confidence in giving the referral to you. Are you going to call the referral source? Are you going to send them materials? What are you going to say when you talk or meet with the referral? Are you planning on meeting with them? Are you going to use the hard sell on them?
You must teach your network partners exactly what you will do when they give you a referral. They must know and trust how you are going to be a resource for helping the other person. A confused network partner does not make referrals. You want to do everything you can to make your referrer look good.
Elaborating on the Referral
Once you receive a referral on a potential customer and network partner has done what you asked, you have one additional ingredient in the teaching process. You will want to talk further with your network partner to learn more about the conversation they had with the referral.
What was the conversation about? Why does the network partner think this would be a good referral for your business? Can they provide a friendly introduction for you? Would they like to be part of a three way process when you meet the referral?
If you skip this elaboration step with the network partner, the referral will become a cold call and your efforts will probably produce the same amount of success as cold calls!
Let me share with you an example from one of my networking partner. He left a name and phone number for a referral on my voice mail. He thought the referral would be a useful contact for me. I called him back got more information about the referral and more information about their business. I also got a website for the referral’s business.
At the website, I learned even more about the person and their business. Now I was able to intelligently plan my phone call to the referral and use some engaging questions about his business to get his attention. When I mentioned I have visited his website, he was very impressed. This helped me to get an appointment. Had I just acted on the name and phone number given by the networking partner, it would have become a simple cold call because at that point I had no information.
This elaboration ingredient is often overlooked in the referral process. It’s an extra step but an important step if you want to make your networking more powerful.