Monday, January 22, 2007

Balancing Your Referral Network

Steve Harper has a post on "The Ripple Effect Blog " about the delicate nature of giving and receiving referrals from people in your business network. He has some great points, and everyone should pay more attention to whom sends you business and how you respond.

Steve says:

"One of the single biggest ways to wreck a referral network is to not take care of the people who take care of you. Period! End of story!"

He is right on the money. Very often business people take, take, take in the referral game. If you are not a natural at networking, you may get seduced into thinking that every interaction you have with your professional network is designed to bring YOU business. Thus, when referrals roll in, you feel you are deserving of the lead. This attitude will dry up your referrals faster than global warming can drain lake.

A referral is a precious gift and should be treated as such. While the best response to a referral is to send a referral, this is not always practical. Not everyone will have equal chances to refer qualified business to everyone else. Therefore it is natural that referral networks will rarely be in balance. A seasoned business professional who sends you business will understand this. (A novice or selfish individual will expect you to reciprocate with an equal amount of referrals).

If you do not have the right contacts to respond with legitimate referrals, there is still a way to let the person know that you appreciate them for making the introduction that lead you to more business:


I don't just mean a casual, "hey, thanks Buddy"....but a real, heart felt showing of appreciation. This is when you must take the time to send a handwritten note. Not an email or a phone call (both of these are too easy, and thus common place). A special gift of some kind would be even better. A ten dollar Starbuck's gift card is worth more than ten dollars when accompanied by your gratitude to the person who sent you the referral.

I once referred a client to an attorney. It was a good match and he got the case. The next day he sent me a $10o bottle of wine from one of his favorite vineyards. WOW. I do not know much about wine (other than I like to drink it), but I knew it was a special bottle and not something he sent to everyone. I have never forgotten this gesture, and would refer to him again any person who had the need for his type of legal advice.

Never forget to acknowledge the referral or it just might be your last one!

Have A Great Day.

Take the free NETORKING QUOTIENT QUIZ. The thrity question quiz takes only eight minutes and will make you think about how you react in various networking situations. You will instantly get your answers and will show you how you compare to others.

1 comment:

NetChick said...

Hi Thom!

I came by your site on '2000 Bloggers', and am definitely interested in your content! I've blogrolled you, and I'll be back for a more in-depth visit!