February 5, 2017


Do we know what a proper business referral is? Is it when we tell one of our partners, say Fred, about Sally, who needs whatever it is that Fred has to sell? Is it when we give to Sally one of Fred’s business cards? Is it when we tell Fred that we heard of a business, Sally’s, with which they might be able to do business?

These are not referrals. A proper referral is when we tell Sally about Fred’s business, and then give Sally all the contact information for Fred. Then we tell Fred all about why we think Sally would be interested in Fred’s business and give Fred all the contact information for Sally. We also tell each of them that we want to know what happens with the referral, and we follow up if we do not hear back.

When we hear back from Fred and Sally that they have contacted each other and have met to discuss their offerings and needs, we ask about the results of the meeting. If they actually do business with each other, that is great. If they do not do business with each other, we want to know what went wrong so that we can better gauge our referrals in the future.

We do not “sell” Fred to Sally or Sally to Fred. We recommend that they meet and discuss their needs and offerings with each other. We are not the marketing representative for either one; we are the person who puts them together so they can communicate with each other.

Of course we need to know enough about Fred and Sally so that we can make intelligent referrals to both. We also need to know that we can trust both of them to be professional, passionate about their businesses or lives, and personable towards others. We must be assured that they will treat each other professionally, even if they do not do business with each other.

How do we reach this level of trust? Referrals are a two way street. We must get to know each of them before we can refer them to each other. We must be able to trust each party and believe that they will do right by the other party in the referral. After all, it is our reputation on the line here; it will be our fault if one party does not treat the other one professionally.

Hopefully, our referrals will show to our networking partners that we are a person who is willing and is capable of making their lives better, both professionally and personally. After all, referrals can work for our personal lives also. Hopefully, our referrals will result in our networking partners passing referrals back to us also. That is the essence of karma.

We have an obligation to refer our partners to each other. Get to know them and pass referrals back and forth with them. Use their services or products as gifts to family, friends, prospects, and clients. Also, give them the gift of solid, valid referrals that will enhance their bottom line.

If we are lucky enough to get the benefit of someone’s referral, or their consultation that enhances our business, thank them, letting them know that their effort is appreciated. Then go out and pay them back with a referral, or consultation, of our own. Sometimes the best referrals that we can give may be our own business given to one of our networking partners. This is Gratitude Marketing.

Give me feedback, suggestions, and comments here. Call at 360-314-8691, so we can get together and chat, or send an email to Jim@SOC4Now.com. Maybe we can contribute our experiences to this blog. I answer my phone, or I return voice mails and emails.

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