If you want to create a productive referral system, you must determine how you will handle referrals received. That is the focus of this posting. Whatever system you devise, you must assign responsibility and grant the authority to a specific person to assure implementation, consistency, and results. Accountability is critical to keep referrals coming in regularly.
Following the concept of the childs’ game for the closeness to hidden objects, I rank referrals by temperature. However, referrals are always warmer than cold calls, the only way they get cold is if they are ignored. Something you would never do, right? In heat-index order (value) the four types of referrals are:
- Burning: Source gets prospect to call you. (Best because sale is partially made for you.)
- Hot: Source gets prospect’s permission for you to call prospect. (Easy because it is permission-based marketing.)
- Warm: Source tells you to call and use his name. (Helpful as a door-opener.)
- Tepid: Friend gives you a name of someone who may be in the market. (Barely better than a cold call.)
Your population of potential clients is replete with procrastinators. They may not call you immediately; therefore, you have to maintain contact with them. Your newsletter is an ideal way to do so. You have to be there – in their mind – when they are ready to act to resolve their problem. Generally, it’s not a good idea to call prospects unless they are expecting the call and have given permission. You could call the referral source and remind them of how grateful the prospect will be once you have resolved their problem. After all, who understands what you do better than your former client?
Your plan should include actions to be taken when you receive a referral. Will you call with a personal thank you? Will you send a personal note of thanks? How about a reward? Will you treat a first-time referral the same as multiple referrals. Good questions for the next posting.