2.0 Referral Sources

Referral Education >> Each section contains key Action Items located within the downloadable Action Guide >> Click to Download Action Guide.

2.1     Your best source of referrals are your customers. Delusion

The reason people sometimes fall into this delusion is that they’ve been trained to believe it and have never pursued any other source of referrals. The only referrals they’ve ever received are from customers.

Don’t get us wrong. Customers and clients can be a good source of referrals; we know that.

However, many businesses (especially big corporations) are out of touch with the fact that other referral sources are available that can be extraordinarily powerful. Clients, although often the most readily available sources, are not necessarily the best or steadiest sources of high-quality referrals.

The best sources in the long run are likely to be the people you refer business to. When you help another businessperson build his business, you’re cultivating a long-term relationship with someone who’s motivated to return the favor by bringing business to you, who’s sharing your target market, and who will work systematically with you for mutual benefit.

With a well-developed referral network, you can realize more good referrals from one or two professional referral sources than from all your customers combined.

Why? Because these professionals are better salespeople than your clients and they spend more time in contact with your target market. They know how to sell to your client base. They talk your talk. If you’ve done your job of educating and training them to refer business to you, they can communicate your value better to their contacts.

There’s also a built-in problem with customers.

If you’re spending part of your time with a customer trying to get referrals, you’re generating a conflict of interest. Instead of devoting all your time and attention to the customer’s needs, you’re diverting part of that effort toward your own self-interest. The customer may sense that she’s not getting full value—and the truth is, she may be right. You may be sending mixed messages. You may be polluting customer service time with “give me business” time.

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

List five non-competing professions that are symbiotic with your profession and could share referrals with you.

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List two people that you know in each profession above?

1)      First:       Second:

2)       First:       Second:

3)       First:       Second:

4)       First:       Second:

5)       First:       Second:

Set a time in your calendar RIGHT NOW to Call and set up a meeting with these professionals to discuss the opportunity of a referral relationship before moving on.

2.2     The best way to insure referral success is to follow the Golden Rule: treat your referral sources the way you want to be treated. Delusion

The concept of the Golden Rule (more familiarly, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) is a good principle to live by, but it doesn’t address what motivates your referral source. All the evidence we’ve gathered about behavior styles and personal preferences support what we call the Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they want to be treated.

To network effectively, you’ve got to be relationship-based, so you need to use the Platinum Rule—not only with your referral source but with the prospect as well.

There are three people involved in a referral.

(1) You – You need to know how you work best and know your strengths and weaknesses.

(2) The referral source – How does this person like to communicate? How does he like to be treated? If you want him to help you, you’ve got to treat him the way he wants to be treated.

(3) The prospect – How does the prospect like to buy? What’s the best way to communicate with the prospect?

There are a number of different, but similar, systems for evaluating and categorizing personality types. Most make clear distinctions, for example, between fast-paced and slow-paced behavioral styles, as well as between people-oriented and task-oriented individuals.

A slow-paced, people-oriented person might want to take her time before introducing you to a prospect; if you try to rush the process, you’ll either not get a referral or you’ll get one that’s weak, and drive away your referral source in the process.

Alternatively, if a hard-driving, task-oriented source gives you a referral and you hesitate, he may write you off without blinking an eye and hand the opportunity to someone else.

Strive to be adaptable.

Accommodate the behavioral style of your source when you’re working with her and of your prospect when you’ve been put in touch with him. Your comfort level is not as important as those you are working with. Of course, you can hope that others are as accommodating of your style as you try to be of theirs—especially when you find yourself caught between radically different behavioral styles in your source and your prospect.

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

Take a DISC Assessment to better understand your style and learn how others interpret your style based on how you interact with them.  Visit www.platinumrule.com for more information.

List your top 10-referral relationships and describe their behavioral style.  If you don’t have ten, list those that you currently work with and create a list of new referral prospects for you.

Who provides the best referrals to you?  How do they communicate and like to be treated?

1)       Style:

2)       Style:

3)       Style:

4)       Style:

5)       Style:

6)       Style:

7)       Style:

8)       Style:

9)       Style:

10)       Style:

2.3     People are more likely to refer others to me if I give them a finder’s fee. Delusion

For most referral sources, it is more important to be recognized as a person who can direct others to the goods and services provided by skilled, highly competent, trustworthy people.

Most people will do more for simple recognition than for money. However, for those who expect a finder’s fee, this is a good thing to know in advance if you want to keep the relationship healthy, active, and profitable.

You will find that different motivators will inspire different members of your referral team.

This is another area where understanding the various behavioral styles of people can be helpful. People who are embarrassed by being in the spotlight, even for accolades and applause, might prefer their rewards low-key and private—perhaps a simple thank-you or a quiet dinner together. Those who like public recognition might prefer seeing their name showcased on your bulletin board or in a newsletter.

Some may be more highly motivated by an inexpensive but thoughtful gift than by a more substantial cash reward.

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

Find out how your top referral sources would like to be recognized.

1) Name:       How to recognize:

2) Name:       How to recognize:

3) Name:       How to recognize:

4) Name:       How to recognize:

5) Name:       How to recognize:

6) Name:       How to recognize:

7) Name:       How to recognize:

** Recognize EVERY referral whether it turns into business or not. **

2.4    One of the pitfalls of referral marketing is that you have people you can blame if things fall through. Truth

One of the misconceptions people sometimes have when they establish a referral network is that once they’ve made contact with all these other people who are supposed to start bringing them buckets of referrals, any problems they encounter are usually the result of others not doing their jobs.

The truth? It’s your entire fault.

“My network’s not motivated.”

Maybe so, but what are you doing to compel them to refer you?

“They don’t know my business.”

What have you done to educate them about what you do?

“They just don’t have the contacts I need.”

Have you gone through their entire database of contacts and disqualified every one?

It is your obligation to teach your fellow networkers how to refer you.

If they’re not doing so, then you are not teaching them effectively. So, in the end, it’s your fault—or, as a passionate business coach once suggested, “It’s your responsibility.”

And responsibility is something people are sometimes reluctant to take.

You are responsible for every action people take on your behalf. It’s up to you to choose the right people to have around you, to set the tone for your business, to educate your referral partners about what you do, to demonstrate competence and integrity for those representing you and to maintain the effectiveness and strength of your referral relationships.

If there’s a breakdown anywhere in your referral system, it’s because there’s something you overlooked or let slide.

You don’t turn over the responsibility to others and then blame them when things don’t turn out right; instead, you accept responsibility and work with your partners to ensure that the same mistake doesn’t happen twice.

You also acknowledge responsibility to anyone who has been wronged, without equivocation.

Don’t say, “Mistakes were made.” Say, “It’s my fault that this happened. I apologize for the mistake, and I promise to set things right.” This straightforward acceptance of blame has the added benefit of defusing the other person’s anger.

And it’s honest. After all, you created the system that caused the problem. What the injured party wants to hear is acceptance of responsibility and a commitment to correcting the situation—and what the injured party wants to see is action.

One of the strengths of a referral network is that everyone becomes friends. And one of the weaknesses of a referral network is that everyone becomes friends.

It’s only the groups and individuals who recognize that they have to take responsibility and demonstrate accountability that are the ones that make the process work for them.

Individuals, who are constantly blaming someone else for what’s going wrong and not taking responsibility for changing or fixing it to make it work, will not do well in referral marketing.

Remember, if your referral-marketing program is not working – “it’s all your fault!”  OK, it’s all your responsibility for the more tactful among you.

ACTION ITEMS: Complete the Action Items in your Action Guide.

List your top excuses that you have used in the past for not getting referrals?

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How have you blamed others in your referral network for not getting you referrals?

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What actions will you seize to take responsibility for these obstacles?

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Print this list right now, so that you can post this list next to your computer.

Begin to SCHEDULE the Action Items to your calendar’s task list.

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