What do a lot of business referrals look like?
Are they pushy attempts at forced arranged marriages that create awkward situations?
Is the person doing the referring seeing dollar signs (i.e. kickbacks) and sending every Tom, Dick, and Harry over in the hopes of banking the kickbacks?
Conversely, do referrals go all the way to the opposite end and take the weak form of “Here are three people you might want to consider?”
Few Of These Referrals Are Likely To Be A Good Fit That Converts
Throughout this website, you’ll likely notice a theme – speed sells, waiting is a waste.
Weak-ass referrals waste everybody’s time.
Most (and worst) of all, they just don’t do the job.
So let’s review the building blocks of
An Ironclad Referral That Delivers A Prospect Who Shows Up With Credit Card Already In Hand
The key to this kind of referral is ownership.
Let’s say we’re hanging out at a networking function or a cigar shop full of entrepreneurs, and someone mentions they’d like to get some pens and lanyards to hand out at their trade show booth along with a nifty little thumb drive full of awesome downloadable gifts.
I could say “well, you know, there are several ways. You can use The Awesome Trade Show Giveaway Company, or something like that. Pull out your phone and look them up. There are also companies that work directly with trade show participants like you and design the stuff without you needing to lift a finger. And there’s this course on how to get a great deal on giveaways by doing joint ventures.”
That’s the very definition of a weak-ass referral.
Strong Referral: Example One (Niche Service)
Here’s the referral Rachel (satisfied customer) gave Vic (affluent prospect) for Carly (web developer Vic needed to hire).
“Vic, I’ve got the person who can do this for you. Her name is Carly Morales. She totally revamped my website and designed this killer lightbox that attracted awesome leads. I made a $5,000 sale two days after the site went live from one of those leads! She did something similar for my friend at the Rotary – actually, that’s how I heard of her. Would you like to speak with Carly? Yes? Tell you what. Let me send her a note and we’ll go from there. Okay?”
By not just giving Carly’s contact information to Vic, stating she wants to speak with Carly first, Rachel creates the frame that Carly is a high-end sort of person who works with preferred customers only, thereby instantly raising Carly’s cachet with Vic and setting the stage for $3,750 to seem like a bargain.
She then checks with Carly and asks her if she wants a direct connection to Vic, or if she wants Vic referred to her website. Then, the moment Carly responds, Rachel does one of two things, depending on Carly’s preferences:
- Send an email (not a social media group message for crying out loud – do BUSINESS, not B.S.) to both Vic and Carly, uniting the two conversations in two sentences and posting each other’s phone number; or
- Send Vic an e-mail saying, “Go to Carly’s website and click the “About You” tab. When you contact Carly, mention my name and that you spoke with me so she or her assistant knows who you are and that you’re a priority referral.”
Strong Referral: Example Two (Commodity Service)
Going back to the example from earlier, a very popular question we get is “what’s the best company to make giveaways for trade show exhibits?”
I love this one!
Let’s say someone asks for recommendations via social media.
While others post random URLS on the thread, my contribution looks more like this, since I know my friend is always looking for great new clients and he’s told me to just send them over and let my referral and him work it out.
I post the following, TYPED EXACTLY LIKE THIS WITH ALL LINE BREAKS BEING INTENTIONAL which I’ll explain in a moment:
Speak with my guy (NAME) at (COMPANY). E-mail him at (his email) or call (his direct number).
Here’s his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/HISURL.
I told him who you are and he knows, you will be reaching out.
On the website (COMPANY WEBSITE) go to “Trade Show Options” to find what you want, and then speak with my guy.
He will take care of this for you.
Now, let me dissect this so you can see why my referral is so strong.
Speak with my guy (NAME) at (COMPANY). E-mail him at (his email) or call (his direct number). (By saying he’s “my guy”, I’m implying I’ve done business with him successfully, even if all I know is that he’s done great work for some of my friends. I’m linking his reputation to mine – OWNERSHIP – meaning if you like me, you’ll like him. I’m also letting others on the thread know he’s open for business. Birds of a feather flock together!)
Here’s his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/HISURL. (Sharing his LinkedIn profile establishes him as an authority figure, with just the right experience and track record, not merely the guy who processes the order – and puts a FACE to the NAME. How’s YOUR LinkedIn profile looking these days? Also, I put the link to his LinkedIn profile first, so the graph algorithm is more likely to post the LinkedIn profile as the display link and show his picture beneath my comment, further enhancing the implied personal connection!)
I told him who you are and he knows, you will be reaching out. (By the time I add to the thread, this will be a true statement – I will have sent him a message with the person’s name so he knows they’re coming from me, which itself speaks several sentences he will not need to say to the person I’m referring. Also notice the embedded command, “you will be reaching out”! The comma is there for a reason. I grammatically-incorrectly used the comma instead of replacing it with the grammatically-correct word “that” so the embedded command will stand out more!)
On the website (COMPANY WEBSITE) go to “Trade Show Options” to find what you want, and then speak with my guy. (By giving specific instructions to show how simple it is to get started, I make it even easier for the two of them to do business, as the referral will have time to look at the website and be more prepared for the conversation with my friend.)
He will take care of this for you. (Here, I’m planting the suggestion that he knows the call is coming and is already working on the order!)
Nope – no weak-ass referral there!
Also note how I broke my comment on the thread into several short paragraphs, so it stands out and is very easy to read.
Most comments on the thread will look like long paragraphs that require more energy to read and comprehend. Mine will be easy on the eyes.
Digital literacy is everything – the very reason this entire post is broken into small paragraphs, sentence fragments that stand alone as entire paragraphs, and bullet-point lists, with generous headings and subheads.
Remember what I said about “White-Line Fever” earlier?
Now, with this kind of STRONG referral standing out head and shoulders above the others, with the implied personal connection and the suggestion the deal has already been made – conveyed through subtleties in the form of small sentences and a little “grammatical incorrectness” – who do you think gets this person’s business?
See The Difference? Feel The Difference?
Make sure your referral partners are giving you THESE kinds of referrals, and you’ll close more.
Your referral partners will look better to their friends, and feel better about referring you more.
How nice will it be to have an affluent client like Vic ready to give you $3,750 even before he dials your phone number?
How much less stress will you feel, knowing that the person to solve your last-minute trade show needs knows you’re calling and already has the paperwork started?
And make sure, every day in every way, you are taking the actions that cause your referral partners to want to refer you more.
Since you know new business is coming, make sure you have some refreshments ready.