Referral Regrets

“Gee, I never realized you do that!”

How many times have you heard that? If you have EVER heard it, I trust you flinched – and recognized immediately that you haven’t been doing a very good job of marketing!

Regret If you stop to think a bit more, you’ll also realize that whoever said this has been unable, all this time, to make a good referral on your behalf. OK, if it was your mother-in-law, maybe it’s not so serious.

But if a client or business associate says it, then you have really missed out!

Time to revisit your referral strategy to avoid any (more) referral regrets.

We’ve said it before. People like to do business with people they like and trust. The same holds true for referrals.

People like to make referrals for people they like and who they know will appreciate it.

How does a potential referrer know you will appreciate the referral? Only if he’s confident it’s a good fit. This means the potential referrer needs to know a lot about you.

The referrer needs to know you WANT referrals.

Do you make it clear to your network when you are looking for referrals? It can be something as simple as saying, “I’ve got room for two more clients and I’m looking for the right ones.” This should lead to the follow-up question, “Oh, what kind of clients are you looking for?” and then the conversation can continue.

The referrer needs to know exactly what kind of referral you want.

You may be looking for clients, as described above. But maybe you’re looking for a new attorney who specializes in intellectual property. Maybe you need a referral to a real estate professional who specializes in leased office space. Maybe you are looking for the right person to plan and facilitate your upcoming company retreat. The more detail you can provide, the easier it will be for your referrer to help.

The referrer needs to know exactly HOW to make the referral.

Your being handed a business card with name and phone number is not really a referral. An effective referral is a personal introduction, where the referrer uses his or her own authority and relationship to pave the way for you.

If your referrer doesn’t have a personal relationship with the prospect – again, this may not be a real referral. Before you promise to “follow up,” make sure that your referrer has the appropriate status and commitment in the midst of the transaction.

Not a fit?

If, for any reason, the referral doesn’t really fit your needs, you can decline to use it. Make sure your referrer understands why – timing not right, different focus, potential conflict with other clients, etc. In that conversation, you’ll have the opportunity to give your referrer even more information about what you do, so he’ll continue to be a potential source.

For sure, you’ll never hear again from that person, “Gee, I didn’t know you did that!”

Virginia Nicols
The Marketing Machine®


Any of this hit home? If so, you may want to check out  this post:

And if you’re interested in a full-on review of referral strategies, check out this material at The Marketing Machine Group:


Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.


Trade Show coming up?

Get our TRADE SHOW QUIZ to be sure this will be
a good show for YOU.

Check your email for the download link!

Something went wrong.