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Your Referral IQ

Apr 3, 2008
Do you track the referrals you give to find customer satisfaction?

We each strive for a referral-based business, but at times it becomes a two-edged sword. Are you aware that the person you recommend is a reflection on how you believe business should be conducted? For this very reason, it is wise to follow-up with the person to whom you gave the referral.

Ask your associate the following questions:

1. Were they contacted promptly
2. Was the initial contact friendly and professional
3. Did the referral listen, add extra insight to the conversation, and take time to understand their challenges, strengths and goals to the point of being able to help?

The implication of being the referring party is the people you refer meet your standards of professionalism. Your associates will continue to look to you for leadership and advice. In return, they will refer your services to their associates. The better the referrals you provide, the stronger the likelihood of you being referred.

However the referral system is not always the picture of perfection. Sometimes the person you trusted to be an excellent resource proves to be not so.

Compounding the bad news, the person you were trying to help may become upset with your referral. If you are not active on follow-up, it will reflect badly on you. The end result will make you wish you never volunteered to help.

Do not treat the gesture of referral lightly. Following up with both parties is highly recommended. You can correct a glitch in a timely manner by asking for feedback on your referral. Your associate will be glad you checked in and care about the treatment they received.

You will quickly learn whether to keep the referral for future requests and whether or not you personally wish to continue doing business with the person you referred.

My Story
In the past several years, I was given two poor referrals. In both cases, the referring parties were contacted to let them know what transpired. The service was so inadequate I did not want anyone else to suffer the same. My feedback was greeted at opposite ends of the spectrum by each referring party.

Knowing I am a woman owned and certified business, I was referred to a consultant as being able to help me secure government and corporate contracts. The consultant spoke with me, offered to review my website and make recommendation for attracting large contracts along with a proposal.

When the proposal arrived, I was dismayed. The recommendations were based upon incorrect assumptions. Although the consultant asked for thousands of dollars for his service, he could not find the time to research my website. I viewed his deliverables as unprofessional.

I called the referring party to give my feedback on the situation. Undaunted by our conversation, he proceeded to sign a joint venture agreement with the consultant in question.

The second referral was that of our accountant who referred another service provider some years ago. Our experience was abysmal and we relayed our incident. What is most interesting is the accountant referred the same person to a mutual friend prior to us. The friend had a similar miserable experience but was too embarrassed to say anything. If this friend had provided feedback, we would not have similarly suffered.

The good news was our accountant, without any hesitancy, assured all of us he would never recommend that person again. To this day, we are loyal clients and good friends with our accountant.

Make a commitment to begin following-up on the referrals you provide, take the feedback seriously, and you may see a jump in the referrals you receive!
About the Author
Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC and author of Nice Girls DO Get the Sale trains others on her proven relationship selling techniques through services and products. Her book sells worldwide. Services include training, coaching, and speaking. Her products suit all learning styles.
Visit Smooth Sale or call 800-704-1499.
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