6 Ways Your Referral Source Can Turn a Referral Into a Customer

Let’s say that upon getting a business referral, you simply take down the name and contact information of the potential customer from the referral source. Sometime later, you call the prospect and introduce yourself: “Hello, Ms. Prospect, my name is John Businessman. Larry Source recommended I call you.  I’m an accountant . . .”

Handling referrals this way, as you might expect, gets minimal results.  Your chance of converting the referral into a customer will be greater if your referral source:

  • makes the initial contact with the prospect (his acquaintance) to assess her need and, if appropriate, alerts her that you will be getting in touch
  • sends the prospect background information about you and your business
  • lets the prospect know the nature of his relationship with you
  • gives the prospect a brief description and endorsement of your products or services
  • arranges to introduce the prospect to you
  • follows up with the prospect after you contact her.

Unfortunately, if you don’t ask your prospective referral source to do some of these things, he probably won’t–not because he isn’t willing, but because he doesn’t know how these actions could make a big difference, doesn’t have enough information about you or your business, or simply doesn’t know how.

Make it your goal to communicate to your sources the actions you wish them to take and then provide them with all the materials necessary to accomplish those actions. If you do this, I guarantee you’ll get better-quality referrals that will more quickly turn into actual business.

9 thoughts on “6 Ways Your Referral Source Can Turn a Referral Into a Customer

  1. excellent points. This is one reason why I only give referrals after I have spoken with the person of interest. Otherwise I may mention that I have someone in mind who may be interested but that is not really a referral.

  2. How synchronistic! I just finished writing an introduction email to someone who uses the services that a friend also provides. I covered the first five steps, closed and hit send. Then I came here to see what you had to say. And it was like “deja vu all over again.” I’ve had this hammered into me at so many BNI trainings that I feel like I channel your teachings.

  3. Those are good points. Another would be to network with people that are willing to take that step for you and take the time for you. I find on a regular basis that people are willing to give you a name but not much else. It is important to have a strong network that is willing to go the extra step for you and you are willing to do the same for others.

  4. Hey Ivan –

    Thanks for sharing those tips! And thanks for reminding those who make referrals of their importance in establishing those connections.

    Looking forward,

    Jonathan Flaks

  5. The seventh step I would add would be automate these steps as much as possible. Make your referral sources jump through fewer hoops by leveraging technology.

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