We often find ourselves with excellent, spontaneous referrals but seem to treat them as if they’re low priority rather than jumping all over them since they’re very high potential future sales. Here’s how to maximize your chances:
1. Thank the referral source. Ask if he or she would personally introduce you in a meeting or at an upcoming event (either, preferably), or by phone. Email is the worst alternative.
2. Make an immediate date for a private meeting. You don’t want to talk by phone or via email. If this is a legitimate prospective buyer, you want to meet in person. (If the introduction was by phone or email, follow up by phone, not email, to establish a meeting.)
3. Use the referral source as part of the obligation, e.g.: “Joan is quite careful and refers very few people to me and when she does, they are always people who constitute a mutually-rewarding relationship, either informally or formally. She’s interested in seeing what the two of us decide to do.”
4. Establish your new relationship, and keep your referral source apprised of progress (or lack of progress).
5. Ask the new contact, once he or she becomes a client, for additional referrals. (“After all, it’s how you and I met!”)
6. Thank your original referral source again. (Gifts and “finder’s fees” are almost always inappropriate and/or unethical.) But do reciprocate, if you can send customers or clients to those who refer people to you.
© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.