Referrals are the primary reason we meet every fortnight. Our members are all actively looking for opportunities for other members of the group, and whenever possible qualifying these so that they become a referral. We measure the success of the group by the number of referrals passed and the revenue that derives from them.
But what is a referral?
Probably the best definition of a referral in terms of our group is “the opportunity to do business with someone that has been told about you and your business.”
Therefore a lead isn’t a referral. Leads are contacts that are generally not expecting your call. For example, if you spotted an opportunity on LinkedIn for someone after a new logo, but you weren’t connected to the person and you didn’t know them to personally to make an introduction this would be passed as a lead and not a qualified referral.
When you receive a referral the prospect will be expecting your call and will know about you, therefore it is much better than making a cold call. It isn’t a guarantee that you will win the work but at least you know the prospect is interested in the goods/services you offer.
How to identify a referral:
They can come from anywhere really, business meetings, social events or even just chatting with friends, there are no secret tricks just simply listen out for people saying they have need for a product or service. If a member of the Group happens to provide that product or service then ask the prospect if they would be interested in speaking with someone you can personally recommend. If they are ok with this get their contact details and tell them to expect a call from the member of the group and give them some background about them, and voila you have created a referral.
As we only meet twice a month act on the referral asap, let the member know so that they can follow it up whilst it still current, if you wait until the next meeting the prospect might have found an alternative supplier or cooled down. We still want to collect completed referral slips so that we can track the success of the group but don’t delay in passing the information about an opportunity.
So in summary:
- Listen to other people’s needs. When you hear a need that matches someone you know in the group it could be chance for a referral.
- Ask them if it’s okay for the member to call them. If the prospect isn’t interested in receiving a call, then it’s not a referral.
- Be honest about what you know about both people. If your fellow member charges high rates, say so. If you don’t know much about the prospect, say that, too.
- Pass referrals asap Don’t wait for the next meeting, or someone could miss an opportunity.
- Don’t give marginal referrals. Passing bad referrals can hurt your reputation in the group. High-quality referrals are more likely to turn into sales.