Five Referral Secrets

Referrals can be so important to your practice. If you’re not sure how to get them, or what to do once you have them, hopefully these tips can help. If you’ve had a little experience in this area, this may be a good refresher for you. I’m labeling this a list of referral “secrets,” but the truth is that once you make them your practice, you’ll think of them as common sense.

Leaders Don’t Have to Ask for Referrals
Don’t be the person who confuses “leadership” with being arrogant. You likely had someone in some aspect of your life who you’ve looked up to as a trailblazer and a leader; they led by being an example and by becoming a hub for professional activity. Organizing groups, events, and being the sort of professional with a reputation for bringing people together is the sort of thing that will cause your colleagues to want to make referrals to you, unsolicited, because getting people in touch with you will make them seem connected and important by extension.

Follow Up the Next Day
Would you buy fresh bread, leave it untouched on the counter for a few days, and be shocked to find it growing stale or moldy? Referrals don’t stay fresh forever, either. Strike while the iron is hot. Following up quickly shows that you value your referrals and that you’re attentive when it comes to building business. The referral will see that you’re on task, and the person who gave you the referral will appreciate your attentiveness. Don’t leave it on the shelf!

Remember… Referrals Are People
Don’t give your colleague a name and number on a slip of paper. When giving a referral, you’re making an introduction between two people, so be sure to have information about that person handy to replay to your colleague. Inform them about their family, their professional life, and their interests. Conversely, when you get a referral, be full of questions about this person; ask anything you might want to know. Everyone has a story, and part of your job is to learn that tale.

Closing “Tricks” are for Amateurs
You might see the blogs and videos online with so-called business gurus offering you the sort of “Jedi Mind Tricks” designed to turn a referral into a business contact. Far be it from me to argue with success, but this sort of thing feels like a hollow victory, and more than a little disrespectful. Your business is in people, not symbols on a spreadsheet. Build your business on substantive human interactions and integrity rather than flimflam and illusions. There’s a reason stage magicians “retire” their tricks after a while; people figure them out and get tired of seeing them.

Ask Questions
I think this is a good tip for life in general, not just in dealing with referrals. Building any kind of relationship requires personal knowledge. Make it your goal in every conversation to learn something new.

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