What Makes Someone Referrable?

I had a great conversation a while back with my business partner in the Referral Institute, Mike Macedonio (pictured to the right).  He was explaining why he feels there are only a few criteria that must be met to make people referrable by him.

The first criterion is that the individual must be an expert at what he or she does.  He looks for people who have invested in learning their trade and continue to invest to master their trade.  Do they specialize in a certain area?  What achievements have they attained in their area of expertise?

Another one of Mike’s requirements is that the person is passionate about what he or she does.  This especially makes a lot of sense to me because if you’re not passionate about what you do, how can you expect other people to get excited about working on your behalf?

Mike’s last criterion stipulates that the person he is referring understands and honors the referral process.  More specifically, Mike wants to ensure that the person receiving the referral understands his or her number-one responsibility.  To quote Mike, “The number-one responsibility when you receive a referral is to make the person who gave you the referral look great.”  As long as the people Mike gives referrals to are doing this for him, Mike can remain confident that his reputation will be protected.  It also compels him to continue giving these people referrals.

Mike’s list of qualifications that make a person referrable is short, yet very powerful.  After discussing it, we both agreed that we should expect others to evaluate our referrability by these same criteria.  Are we invested experts, and do we continue to invest in our trade?  Are we passionate about what we do?  Are we practicing what we preach?  Do we make our referral sources look great?  I’m glad to say that I’m confident we both do all of these things.

So what makes people referrable by you?  I’m sure many of you have some great ideas in response to this. I’d love to hear them, so please feel free to leave a comment.

Enhancing Your Reputation through Referral Marketing

For those of you who think the referral process is the safest form of doing business, here’s some information that may surprise you . . . the referral process is, in reality, the least safe form of doing business yet it is well worth the risk if you do it right and it can significantly enhance your reputation and contribute to the growth of your business.

In this brief video, I talk about how referral marketing can not only enhance your reputation but can also result in a “win-win-win” situation for you, the person who refers people to you, and for the client who was referred to you and ends up using your products and services.

If you have a story or an example of how referral marketing helped you enhance your reputation, I’d love to hear it so please leave your thoughts in the comment forum below. Thanks!

If You Don’t Get This, You Won’t Succeed at Networking

In this brief video, Roger Green and I talk about the two styles of engagement (Relational vs.Transactional) and The VCP Process®.

Throughout the course of my research, I’ve found that, on the average, when it comes to networking, men’s behavior typically goes in one specific direction, and women’s behavior goes in a very different direction. It’s very important to understand this but what’s even more imperative to understand is the VCP Process®–if you don’t get VCP, nothing else you do will work at networking; you have to understand VCP.

Remember: Generating business through networking is a referral process; not a sales process.  After watching the video, please share your thoughts in the comments section regarding the VCP Process®–which part(s) of the process do you currently excel at and which part(s) do you feel you might need to work on?  Do you believe your are better at certain parts of the process due to being either transactional or relational, or because of your gender?

The Referral Process–Step 8

Today is the day big day that those of you who’ve been following my blog series on the referral process have been waiting for . . . the day I’m going to talk about the final step–the step we all anticipate most:  Step 8–Closing the Deal.

By the way, feel free to catch up on the previous steps in the easy, eight-step referral process at any time by reading my blog entries about steps 1 & 2; step 3; step 4; and steps 5, 6, & 7.

  • Step 8.  Close the Deal

Now that you have your proposal done and you know all the details, go back to the prospect and close that deal! Once that’s done, don’t forget to implement your referral thank-you program to inspire your source to continue referring business to you.

You’ve probably been told that you have to contact most prospects 20 times or more before they will buy.  That may be true in ordinary marketing strategies, but in the eight-step referral process, the sale happens in as few as two calls.  Didn’t close on step 8?  No sweat . . . just repeat steps 5 through 7 until it’s a done deal.

The eight-step referral process is a formal procedure that is simple and comprehensive at the same time.  It includes every single step you might need to take in order to fully and properly develop a first-time referral. Keep in mind, many referrals, especially those you make with established contacts, are much simpler; for example, some don’t involve a referral source and thus require only a couple steps.

Have you tried any of the steps in the referral process yet?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and the results you’re getting.  Please feel free to comment!

The Referral Process–Steps 5, 6, and 7

In my last blog, I discussed step 4 of the eight-step referral process and in the weeks prior to that, I went over steps 1, 2, and 3 Today I’m going to cover steps 5, 6, and 7.

  • Step 5.  Report Back to Your Source

Report back to your referral source and let her know the outcome of your meeting (unless, of course, she went along with you).  Ask her to follow up with the prospect to find out about his impression of you.  Let her know how important it is for you to make her look good to the prospect.

  • Step 6.  Your Source Gets Feedback from the Referral

The referral source calls your prospect on your behalf to get information that you can use to address any concerns for your next meeting.  Since the prospect is likely to tell your source of any concerns that he may not have expressed to you, this is the best way to find out what your prospect is thinking.

  • Step 7.  Your Source Reports Back to You

Your source reports back to you with more information about the prospect. This increases your chances of closing the sale on the next call or, if the prospect is already under contract or not currently in the market, perhaps at the next available opportunity.  With this information, you can contact the prospect at a more appropriate time and be first in line with a proposal and sales plan ready to go.

If you would like to find out about the last step in the easy, eight-step referral process, be sure to come back next week.  Step 8 is usually most people’s favorite step and it’ll probably be yours too because it’s all about closing the deal.

The Referral Process – 8 Easy Steps

Much of what I write about networking and referrals emphasizes the circuitous, sometimes mysterious nature of referral networking.  In a deep, broad-based, mature referral network, where you spend a lot of time doing good things for others without looking for a direct reward, and where the good that you do winds its way through the system and eventually comes back to you in the form of referrals, it may seem odd to describe referral networking as a system.  But that’s what it is, and when it comes to the actions of generating, developing, and closing a business deal through a referral, there is a well defined, systematic process.

What is a referral?  It’s not as simple as it’s sometimes made out to be.  We leave college and go into business knowing little about referrals, because referral marketing is rarely part of the curriculum.  We know what a great thing it is to get a referral, because it generally means lucrative business with a reliable client.  We often think of it simply as a connection to someone we can call on to do business with or, if it’s not our kind of business, someone we can refer to someone else.

We understand that referrals are the best kind of business.  What we don’t understand is how to make them happen when we want them and, when they come in, how to get the best results from them and make them last.  The referral process is a system that has a lot of feedback built into it.  If you follow it for every referral, you will get predictable results: more closed business deals and a never-ending supply of referrals.

I have broken the referral process down into eight easy steps:

  • Step 1–Your Source Discovers a Referral
  • Step 2–Research the Referral
  • Step 3–Check Back In With Your Referral Source
  • Step 4–Meet With the Referral
  • Step 5–Report Back to Your Source
  • Step 6–Your Source Gets Feedback from the Referral
  • Step 7–Your Source Reports Back to You
  • Step 8–Close the Deal

I’ll  be breaking these steps down in detail in several different blog entries over the coming weeks so if you’re interested in getting specific guidance on how to execute each step in the referral process, be sure to check back in weekly.

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