The Referral Process Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®

The Referral Process–Step 3

The referral process (CLICK HERE to read a short overview of the referral process) can be broken down into eight easy steps. In a blog entry I posted last Monday, I explained step 1 (Your Source Discovers a Referral) and step 2 (Research the Referral).  Today, I am going to talk about step 3.

  • Step 3.  Check Back in with Your Referral Source

After learning all you can about the prospect’s company through your outside research, it’s a good idea, especially if the referral appears to be complex or of very high value, to call your referral source back to confirm or refine what you’ve learned about the prospect’s company.

You need to keep your referral source in the loop and out of trouble. Making her look good is a primary objective, perhaps even more important than the immediate sale, because you want this referral relationship to continue and to benefit both of you far into the future.

More important for your approach to the prospect, you need to know more about him personally, which is something you can assume your referral source is particularly well positioned to help you with.

Try to learn about what sort of individual you’ll be dealing with. What’s his personality type?  Is he detail oriented?  If so, he might want to see a lot of collateral material or samples.  Is he hard driving and results oriented?  He might just want to talk about your offerings, see your track record, and make a quick judgment.  Does he like to have fun while he’s doing business?  Perhaps you’ll join him on the golf course.  If he’s all business, the office environment is probably better.

What are the prospect’s goals?  Why is he interested in your products or services?  Is he happy with his current provider or looking for a change?  Is he ready to do business with you immediately based on the referral, or is he sending out requests for proposals to other companies?

What you don’t want to do is charge at the prospect with no idea of what is expected or desired.  Having some certainty about these factors will help you put together a powerful presentation that is tailored to the individual and his company.  This will help you accomplish your two most important objectives: closing the sale quickly and making your referral source look good.

If you have a testimonial you’d like to share about a time you successfully executed step 3 in the referral process and how it made for great results, or a story about how you learned the importance of step 3 after neglecting to complete it and suffering the consequences, please feel free to share by leaving a comment.

Be sure to check back in next week if you want to learn about step 4!

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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