I’m often asked by people whether or not it’s possible to distinguish the difference between weak referrals and quality referrals. The answer is YES.
There are varying levels of referrals, starting at a level that’s just one step above a cold lead. These types of referrals are ranked in quality from lowest to highest. Number one is the lowest-ranked type of referral (the least desirable) to give and receive, and number eight is the highest (most desirable). You can use the referral level rankings below to help distinguish quality referrals from weaker ones.
1. Names and contact information only: Getting the name and contact information from a referral source is better than nothing—but not much.
2. Authorization to use name of referral source: This indicates you’ve established good credibility; however, the work of developing the prospect still rests with you.
3. General testimonial statement and/or letter of recommendation and introduction: This is a noteworthy accomplishment, and it demonstrates that the referral source trusts you.
4. Introduction call: This takes the effort on the part of the referral source up another notch and paves the way for communication from you.
5. Note or letter of introduction, call and promotion: This implies an even higher level of commitment on the part of the referral source. It is an outright recommendation of your business accompanied by a description of its features and benefits.
6. Arrange a Meeting: Here your referral source is acting as a facilitator for you. This conveys to your prospect that your referral source has a deep trust in and approval of your business.
7. Face-to-face introduction and promotion: Your referral source is now actively engaged in selling your product or business, rather than just being a meeting facilitator.
8. Closed deal: After your referral source has described the features and benefits of your product or business, he then closes the sale. This is the highest level of referral you can achieve.
Now that you have a good understanding of the difference between a weak referral and a quality referral, think about the referrals you’ve been giving to others recently . . . are most of them more similar to the type of referral outlined in number one (in the list above), or closer to number eight? If they’re closer to number one, think about how you can start giving referrals that are closer to number eight because, the fact is, when you consistently generate stronger referrals for others, they’ll be more inclined to generate stronger referrals for you.
So, how might you focus over the next few weeks on increasing the quality of the referrals you’re giving? Please share your ideas in the comment forum below. Thanks!