referral etiquette

Referrals are powerful. As the referrer, you are proving your expertise, strengthening your network, and demonstrating your generosity. When referred, you are given the opportunity to win new business.

To make the most of high-quality referrals, you must follow referral etiquette. In this article, we’ll look at proper referral etiquette from both sides – as the referrer and the referred.

Let’s get right to it.

How to give the perfect referral

Providing a referral is a great way to strengthen connections, and expand your business network. Plus, when you give a good quality referral, you can expect referrals in return.

While it may seem like a fairly straightforward process, there are a few rules that, when followed, will ensure your referral is beneficial to all. Remember, a poor referral can be a total embarrassment for everyone.

The number one rule to follow when handing out referrals is this: quality is much more important than quantity. Giving referrals should not be a high-volume operation. Instead, save your referrals for the perfect person.

And what does the perfect person look like? Here are a couple of key attributes to look out for in a potential referral:

  • Talent, authority, and expertise. When you hand out a referral, your reputation is on the line. Always, always refer someone with talent, authority in their industry, and proven expertise.
  • Trustworthiness. Only give referrals to people who have earned your trust. They must be able to do what they say they are going to do, all within the timeframe they promise. Referring someone who doesn’t stick to their word will reflect poorly on you.
  • A good attitude. Only refer people you know are easy to deal with. A positive, can-do attitude goes a long way.
  • Gratitude. Aside from helping your business connections win new clients, offering a referral can help your business, too. Try to refer people you know will be thankful for the lead. The law of reciprocity will kick in, which means they will be grateful for the business you have sent their way, and they will want to provide you with a referral when the opportunity arises.

Once you’ve found the perfect candidate, it’s time to pass on their details to a potential customer. Be sure to let your business connection know that you have referred them.  Each one of our Referral Hubs has a set process for doing this, so that the referrer and referee can track progress.

What to do when you receive a referral

What if you’re on the other end of the referral? What do you do when someone refers you and your business to a prospective customer?

We suggest following these steps:

  1. Get in contact. When someone hands you a lead, that lead is about as hot as it gets. The first thing you need to do is get in contact as soon as possible. You know that the prospect wants what you are offering, so make a call or send an email to make the connection and find out what the prospect needs.
  2. Keep your referrer in the loop. Let your referrer know that you’ve made contact.. Remember, your referrer is trusting you with their reputation; so by keeping them informed you are easing their mind, and demonstrating your trustworthiness. This could result in more referrals in the future.
  3. Secure the business. Referrals are regarded as easy business – after all, they come with a Once you’ve secured the job, again, let your referrer know.
  4. Go out of your way to provide the best possible service. Maintain your relationship with your referrer by doing an incredible job.  Go above and beyond to provide stellar service to your new customer. If you do a poor job, you are unlike to receive any more leads.

How to connect with potential referrers?

The first thing step is to join an effective, proactive business networking group.

Referral Hubs brings together a select group of successful business owners who get to know each other at regular group meetings and build professional relationships.  Hub members provide each other with advice, business support, and – of course – high-quality referrals.

Click here to see how it works.