The Referral Process–Step 4

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been explaining the easy, eight-step referral process in increments. Today I will be going over step 4 and if you’d like to review the previous steps I’ve already covered, simply click on each of the following links:  step 1, step 2, and step 3.

  • Step 4.  Meet with the Referral

Now comes the move you’ve been waiting for: your first meeting. You might close the deal on your first call, but it’s unlikely.  Instead, you’re probably going to be getting acquainted with your potential new customer and gathering information to help you prepare a proposal. Now, what if you could get your referral source to go along?  That would make it a real powerhouse meeting.  It would add to your credibility and instantly deepen your relationship with the prospect.

If you do close the deal at your first meeting, you might think the referral process is over, but in fact it’s just started. Before you start turning cartwheels on your way out of the building, call your referral source, tell her what a great referral it was, and thank her for it.  Then, when you’re back in your office, set your “thank you for the referral program” in motion.

If you don’t currently have a “thank you for the referral program,” you’ll need to create one right away because thanking your referral sources is extremely important if you want to ensure that they keep sending referrals your way.  To learn more about referral incentives for your sources, you can check out a couple of blogs I wrote on the topic:  “Simple Recognition Is Sometimes the Best Reward” and “A Win-Win Way to Reward Referral Sources.”

If you’re interested in learning  more about the easy, eight-step referral process, be sure to check back next week because I’ll be explaining steps 5, 6, and 7.

A Win-Win Way to Reward Referral Sources

If you’re looking for creative ways to give referral incentives, it’s worth considering a technique I like to call “Incentive Triangulation.” This is a powerful way of leveraging other people’s services to benefit your customers, clients or patients and reward those who refer you.

The concept is simple and can be designed to fit the needs or requirements of any business. For example, a retailer might negotiate an arrangement with another local business, such as a florist, printer or appliance store owner, whereby that store will provide its customers with a discount of 10 percent or more on their next purchase. After that, each time someone gives you a referral, reward him with whatever you would normally give as an incentive and also a coupon good for the discount at the prearranged business.

This form of joint venture is beneficial for all three parties, hence the term “Incentive Triangulation.”  You benefit because you are providing another incentive for people to refer you. The other business benefits because you are sending your clients to it, along with a recommendation, of course.

Finally, your clients will benefit because they got recognition for their effort as well as an additional product or service at a reduced rate.

If you have an example of how you’ve successfully used Incentive Triangulation, leave a comment and explain how you’ve used it. Your example could spark great ideas for other blog readers on how they might use the technique for their business.

Simple Recognition Is Sometimes the Best Reward

Rather than receiving a finder’s fee, for most referral sources  it is more important to be recognized as a person who can direct others to the goods and services provided by skilled, highly competent, trustworthy people.

Over the years I’ve witnessed time and again that most people will do more for simple recognition than for money. However, for those who expect a finder’s fee, this is a good thing to know in advance if you want to keep the relationship healthy, active and profitable.

You will find that different motivators will inspire different members of your referral team, and this is a matter in which understanding the various behavioral styles of people can be helpful.

People who are embarrassed by being in the spotlight, even for accolades and applause, might prefer their rewards low-key and private–perhaps a simple thank you or an evening cruise on your boat if you are a boat owner.  Those who like public recognition might prefer seeing their name showcased on your bulletin board.  Still others may be more highly motivated by an inexpensive but thoughtful gift than by a more substantial cash reward–a bottle of wine from a winery near their hometown or a coffee table book about their favorite travel destination.

The point is, simple recognition really resonates with most people and, more often than not, simply recognizing people in the way they prefer to be recognized is a far better reward and incentive for them to refer you to others than offering them a cash finder’s fee.

If you’re in the habit of recognizing people as a way of thanking them for referrals, please leave a comment about what’s worked for you and even what hasn’t.  Then check back next week to read my story about a way in which someone recognized me that kept me motivated to refer that person over and over again!

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