Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Referrals; The Ugly, The Bad and The Good

This morning I provided a training to a group of people in Wauseon, Ohio. They wanted to be better at giving referrals to each other. One reason they had asked me to speak was that members were giving referrals to each other, but these referrals weren't very helpful. Actually what they were handing to each other was what I would call a lead -- a name and phone number. In the past I would have been ecstatic to receive that very information, but I now know that it is barely better than a cold call.

Here's what I've experienced when I've made that phone call after receiving the "name and number" referral. Go ahead, listen in to the conversation. "Hi, Joe, this is Debby Peters. I am the owner of the Certified Networker training program and Anne Smith said that you asked me to call you." S-I-L-E-N-C-E, thunderous silence. Finally, Joe said, "You are who and what do you want?" Now I don't know about you, but that is not the reaction I like to get when I am first trying to connect with people.

What I do now is to ask the person giving me the referral to make a personal introduction either in person or via a conference call. Gosh, I can't tell you what a difference it makes both in the amount of work I have to do and the outcome of the introduction. I used to be afraid to ask my referral sources to do this. Now, this is what I do for people when I give a referral. So I give what I expect in return. Yeah, it was scary at first to ask for this, but now it's just business as usual.

Do the referrals you receive mean that you still have to do all the work of contacting and getting in front of that person? How would you change that?

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