Getting a referral is fantastic. Getting ongoing referrals from the same referral partner is gold. Here are a couple of very important concepts in networking that are rarely discussed.
How to respect a referral source
When you get a referral and you meet with the prospect, it is really important to know the source of that referral. Then, open discussion with a prospect by talking about an area of overlapping interest and knowledge — your mutual acquaintance — even before you start talking about business or asking questions of the prospect that will help you close the deal.
Tell the prospect how much you respect the person that referred you and talk a little bit about that relationship and why it is so important to you that you give great service to anyone that this person refers. Spend some time talking about how you both know this individual. It is a fantastic way to warm up the referral, and more importantly, it is a great opportunity to make your referral source look good for having made the referral. This is a concept most people don’t know about, don’t understand and don’t use. If you use it, you’ll stand out.
How to treat the prospect
Remember, another way to make your referral source look great is by not being too pushy. Demonstrate you know how to sell to the prospect in a way that doesn’t embarrass your referral source. Prove you’re going to consult with the prospect, discover their needs, offer solutions based on those needs, give them some options and not force a sale if you know you can’t provide a good solution.
Your referral source will not be pleased if you abuse your relationship with them and damage their relationship with your client. You may get the deal, but you’ve shut yourself off from further deals with that client — and with any future referrals from your referral source.
These are advanced networking concepts. Always reward your referral source by treating them with respect. It will generally get back to them and it will make them feel great about referring you. It’s also a great way to open the conversation. Then, treat the prospect in a way that will make your referral source want to refer more people to you.
Referrals are good. Repeat referrals are great, and these two techniques will help you get repeat referrals.