Maximizing the Impact of Your Referrals
What Is Not A Good Referral
When somebody says to you, “Hey, you should call so and so,” do you think that’s a high-quality referral?
Of course, it’s not. It can be annoying when people say this to you, right? So, DON’T do this to others. Giving good referrals is about making an emotional investment in the success of another person. You are genuinely interested in trying to help someone else grow their business or achieve some other type of success through your introduction.
If you do not have the commitment to do what it takes to make a meaningful referral or you lack the personal brand credibility to open the door, you are much better off not doing anything at all.
What Is A Good Referral?
Giving a good referral does not mean it is automatically a done deal for the person being referred Yes, sometimes your personal brand credibility is so influential that if you make a referral, it is a done deal. But don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself.
When making a referral your goal should be to open a door in a way that legitimately connects the two people you are introducing. The person you are referring in is comfortable reaching out and the person he/she is trying to connect with is genuinely receptive to hearing his/her message.
A good barometer of whether you or not your referral is legitimate is if you can say to the person you are referring is:
“He/She is waiting for your call.”
The Best Personal Brands Give the Best Referrals
Personal branding impacts the caliber of the referrals you give in two important ways:
– You must have ample personal brand credibility with the person to whom you are referring. In other words, the person you are calling on respects you and will be to receive your referral (e.g. “Sure, I would be happy to hear from Jane. Tell her to call me tomorrow between 9:00 -11:30am.”)
– You must be willing to leverage that that personal brand credibility on behalf of other people. There are many people who have a lot of personal brand credibility who are not willing to use it on behalf of others. Either they are selfish or afraid to ask on behalf of others.
Here’s a case in point. I have a client of mine with a ton of personal brand credibility. I remember sharing this concept with him a few years ago. He said to me, “I could never do that.” He wasn’t selfish. He was just uncomfortable putting his personal brand on the line in case things went awry.
The bottom-line is, you may have all the personal brand credibility in the world, but if you’re not willing to pick up that phone or send that email to actively engage in trying to open the door, your referrals are worthless.
Tim Noonan of Lockton Insurance offers a great example of how giving referrals should be done. I met Tim at a one of Lockton’s national meetings. Lockton had invited me to come speak to their best and brightest producers. Tim liked what I had to say and graciously offered to help me grow my business.
One day not too long after the event I had spoken at, I received a phone call from Tim. He said he wanted to make some introductions for me right now. Was I ready? I wasn’t sure what he had in mind, but you never look a gift horse in the mouth. “I am ready, I said.”
Unbeknownst to me, Tim’s assistant, Diane was on the line. He than proceeded to instruct Diane to dial the number of one of his colleagues. This colleague’s assistant picked up and Tim said, “Hi Mary, it’s Tim Noonan is Bill there?”
“Sure, hold on a minute,” she said.
Moments later Bill got on the phone. With me on the line, Tim explained to Bill what I did and suggested we connect. Bill agreed. Bill and I meet a week or so later. Tim did this same thing with four other colleagues.
This is exactly how it is supposed to be done. Tim had great personal brand credibility with the people he was introducing me to and was willing to leverage it in behalf of somebody else who he wanted to help get to the next level.
A Simple Formula
Here is a simple referral checklist to help ensure you give good referrals:
– Make actual contact to the person you want to make the introduction to
– Be clear who you are referring to them
– Be clear why you are referring them
– Get confirmation that he/she will take the call of the person you are referring
Three Strategies to Maximize the Referrals You Receive
1. In Person is Best
”Just get me in front of the person” is what I always say to colleagues when they ask me, “What’s the best way to refer you in?” It’s not because I think I am awesome, but rather I have worked very hard to perfect my messages. I know I can tell the story of me, my products and my services, better than anybody else can. When someone opens the door with the question, “What’s the best way to introduce you?”, be ready to ask them “Can you get me in front of them?”.
2. Over the Phone is the Next Best Way
When the person is not in a geographically desirable place (e.g. Out of state or in a city that is very far away), ask your colleague who is referring you in if he/she can get you on the phone with the person they are trying to connect you with. The reasoning is the same as above.
YOU want to tell YOUR story. No matter how well-intentioned someone may be, he/she is just not going to be able to:
– Tell your story the way you want them to tell it
– Introduce you the way you want to be introduced
3. How to Use Email to Maximize Your Introduction
Sometimes, people want to make introductions, but just don’t have the time. You must make it super easy for them. One way is by crafting an email they can cut and paste under their signature. Here’s a four-step process to make sure you do this the right way:
– Ask for permission to put something together for them to review
– Give them permission to make changes so it reflects their voice,
– Ask them to send your email to their contacts.
– Ask them to CC you on it so you are in the loop
Always Let Your Referral Source Know How It Went
Remember, your referral source put his/her personal brand on the line so make sure you let them know how it went. There are two reasons for this:
– To say “Thank You” regardless of how the referral turns out
– If the person who said, “Sure, have him call me” doesn’t take the call your referral source will want to know.
If you follow these simple rules of referral etiquette you will 10X’s the quality of the referrals you give and the referrals you give.
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