In our last post, I mentioned that Kevin Riley of The Allied Group (among others) shared a few ideas for how to use referrals for business development purposes. Last week, he distributed a document with his process outlined in greater detail. Here it is, almost verbatim:
Step by Step Referral Process
Choose people that like you professionally or personally – and who trust you.
List 3 business contacts with people that really like you personally or professionally:
1. 2. 3.
1. Talk to them about referrals vs. cold calling. Help them understand that referrals are more professional and more appropriate for you personally.
2. Ask: “could we have a discussion about referrals?” Remind them that you are looking for brief, informal, conversations. There will be no hard pitches.
3. Tell them what is in it for them as a referral:
• Value to their organization ( internal referral )
• Value to someone else’s organization ( external referral )
• Favor to you ( any referral )
4. Set an upfront contract to discuss referrals. “On (this day) at (this time), we will talk for 10 minutes. Sound good?” If appropriate, offer to give referrals.
5. At the appointment, share a recent story about a successful referral.
6. To help them come up with names:
• Ask them if anyone comes to mind that might have similar needs to theirs
• Ask them what professional organizations they belong to
• Ask them what other companies they have worked for
• Ask them what are the major initiatives within their company
7. Agree on the best way to set up the referral.
• They call and arrange for all of you to get together for coffee or lunch
• They call and set up your call to be received
• You call directly and use their name
• You can’t use their name – but they will give you some inside info
8. Make the contact within 48 hours – and give feedback to your referral source.
9. Send a handwritten thank you note to both the referrer and referee.