The Referral Process–Steps 1 and 2

Last week, I wrote a blog explaining that referral networking is a system –when it comes to the actions of generating, developing, and closing a business deal through a referral, there is a well defined, systematic process.

The good news is, this process can be broken down into eight easy steps and today I am going to explain steps 1 and 2.

  • Step 1.  Your Source Discovers a Referral

The referral begins with an event that is outside your direct involvement: your referral source uncovers a referral opportunity for you.  This occurs without your direct involvement, but it happens because you have laid the groundwork for it by cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with the person who is going to be motivated to bring you the referral and by making sure she can inform the prospect about the benefits your business can provide.

  • Step 2.  Research the Referral

Your referral source tells you she has a referral for you.  At this stage, your impulse might be to call the prospect immediately–you know, strike while the iron is hot!  But that would be a mistake.  In fact, it’s the most common mistake people make, and in many cases it’s referral suicide.

Don’t let your excitement cloud your judgment about the opportunity.  As soon as you get the call from your referral source, and before you even think of picking up the phone and calling the prospect, you should start digging to find out everything you can about your prospect and his company.  How old is the company?  What is the prospect’s main line of business?  How successfully does it compete?  What is the company’s market valuation?  What products or services of yours might be of most use or interest to the company?  What is its track record with vendors?  Does it deal fairly and straightforwardly with suppliers and clients?  Is it in good financial condition?  Will you be competing with other vendors for its business?

Can you think of any other questions that would be good to consider when researching a referral in Step 2 of the referral marketing process?  If so, please share it in the comment section.  Also, be sure to check back next week to read about Step 3: Checking Back in with Your Referral Source.

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5 thoughts on “The Referral Process–Steps 1 and 2

  1. Great point in Step 2 about “doing your homework”. There are different questions to ask yourself when the referral is to an Individual, like a new mom to a photographer, and the answers may not be as easy to find. While being mindful of privacy we use the internet to find out where the prospect lives, where they work and the ages of their children. If we have mutual friends on a social network I inquire about their children’s school, sports or other interests. Then in the same way as with a company – just focused differently, I am ready for the first conversation when it happens.

  2. When we receive a referral it is our duty to check about customer’s credibility.The other friend is giving a opportunity for us to do business.He can not work full time for us.We should study the customer,give the right solution and depending on the credibility what we judge about the customer we should work out the payment terms.
    So in step-2 Find the customer’s credibility is important

  3. In my previous work as an Avon Representative, I always tried to remember the likes and dislikes of my customers, and the more they knew that they could rely on me for an excellent service, the more orders I received. Even in the snow, the deliveries occurred, and this enabled me to become trustworthy and then they began to share things about their families and work, and their aspirations.

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