The great value is cultivating referrals

Published October 5, 2015 by Real Estate Leads

referrals concept handwritten on whiteboard

Cultivating referrals is one of the biggest differences between working hard and working smart.

Attaining referrals should be a regular part of your business plan and requires a proactive initiative. Handing people your business cards at a social event or even business meetings rarely results in a profitable relationship; people are just to busy to care about increasing your income unless there is a mutual benefit.

Utilizing both traditional and online strategies can significantly boost your revenue. With online services such as LinkedIn, mining for referrals has become much easier and more effective.

Below are some additional tips for prospecting referrals:

Cultivating referrals is a continual process, not an infrequent task:
If you meet a person whom you think would be a good fit for your network, then it is much easier to gain a referral by first helping someone. Instead of approaching somebody with a request for help such as “I am a real estate agent around the city, here is my card… ” try “Would you have a business card? I’d like to know how I can help you increase *your* business”. The unexpected approach will get their attention, as it is highly unusual for someone to ask another about how to help the with *their* business.

Also keep in mind that many ‘Gen X’ and ‘Gen Y’ people today don’t rely on business cards, rather website or email electronic exchange; so don’t be surprised if many people today don’t have a business card – but the trick works the same. If you can help bring them a referral, then you can expect much better results from them in return.

Utilizing LinkedIn:
Check to see if your new contact is on LinkedIn: Find out more about them such as: who do they associate with? Who has endorsed them? Check into their company to further determine if they are a good fit for your own business objectives; if they meet your standards. Check their websites including their personal websites if they have one. If you feel comfortable with the person, and you think they have the right kinds of contacts who would be of potential value to you, then it is likely good to invest your time, and referrals you have for them, in building a relationship with them. Use LinkedIn as a tool to write a recommendation for their business; and also ask for recommendations to others for your services, from those that know the quality of your work.

The personal handwritten note:
Handwritten notes have only become increasingly uncommon; and emails have become passe. After getting their contact information, send them a handwritten note mentioning how nice it was to meet them, and how you look forward to supporting *them* with referrals to their business when possible.

Simply usually nobody wants to give you a referral until they know, like, and also trust you. They will question in their minds whether you will deliver. They don’t want to burn one of their customers or clients. You will have to develop some level of trust with them, which naturally may take some time.

Check your contact database and make respective introductions to your new contact using LinkedIn or email; when appropriate, that would be interpreted of value to those contacts.

Follow up:
Schedule a follow-up in about 10 days to 14 days, perhaps with an article or white paper that would help them with their business.

Did they respond in a month’s time?

If after a month you have not received a response from them, you can reconsider their potential value to you and if you want to try and re-establish a connection. Referrals should be considered a reciprocal activity; you would not want to give your valuable contact information and then not receive anything in return.

If you have determined this person would be an excellent addition to your database and business, maybe send them a useful book with a note that supports their business or another referral. Such a small gift as a book can create a positive impression that could last years.

Nothing else will ever be as powerful or golden as a personal recommendation of one person’s services to another. Leveraging your relational capital can ultimately help you exchange referral with other connected individuals.