6 Steps to Building a Referral Marketing Follow-up Plan

It’s Referral Monday and this week we’re talking about your Referral Marketing process for small businesses, and, more specifically, about what you do when you get a referral.

When someone calls you up and says I’ve given so and so you card because they’re experiencing such and such a problem, what do you do?  Is the referral going to call you or are you going to call them?  It’s a great idea to have your process worked out and identified so that you can share it with your referral sources.  The more they know about what you’re going to do with a referral, the more likely they will send you more referrals.  As a source of referrals to my business contacts, I like to make sure they’re aware of the path I’ll take when they refer someone to me.  Identify the path you’ll take as you work through the following  6 steps.

1. Ask your referral about the individual’s timing—understand how quickly they need to make a decision.

2.  Who will make the initial contact?  I think it’s a good idea to get the contact information from your referral source and contact the referral directly.  When you contact the referral, you don’t want to sound like the used car salesman—just make them aware of you and what you do and what you did for someone else with their same problem and discuss what the next step should be and timing.

3. Drop your referral source a note indicating you’ve contacted the individual and the result of that initial contact.

4. Keep your referral source informed as new details transpire about the potential for doing business with their referral.

5. If you do close business with the referral, send a note of thanks to the referral source or send a gift of thanks.  I’m personally not a big fan of monetary incentives—I think a personal gift is a better idea to encourage more referrals.  And if you can, take an opportunity to thank your referral sources publicly as this will too, likely result in more referrals. 

6. Also, keep track of your referral sources so you can understand who sends you business and the kind of business they’re sending you.  And if they send you great business, take a look at the characteristics of that  model and see if you can duplicate that type of client and process with other referral sources.

Have you added any other steps to your referral plan?

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