Not long ago, Jill Bode of BNI Central Indiana bought an avocado at the store. She carefully selected one that looked ripe. A few days later she cut open that avocado, confident it would be perfect with her Mexican dinner.
Alas, it was still hard inside, even though from the outside it looked fully ripe. While she still served half of it with her meal, it was unsatisfying and didn’t have the creamy taste or texture that we expect and love from avocados.
Even if they look ripe on the outside, sometimes they aren’t!
Jill reports that, “As I thought about it, I realized the avocado was a metaphor for making a good referral. We carefully select the exact right person to refer. Then, when the time is ripe, we pass along the name, the phone number, and some information about the situation to our referral partner. Because we have paid a little attention, we assume that the referral is perfect.”
But sometimes, like her avocado, looks are deceiving. Often, more time is required to fully ripen the referral.
What can we do to help serve up ripe referrals every time?
- Make sure you understand the specific needs of the referee. Use basic interview skills to solicit their exact needs. What? Where? and Why? questions are your best friends.
- Know the scope of your referral partner’s services or products. One-to-ones and GAINS profiles can make all the difference at this stage of the referral process.
- Perform the referral introduction in person if possible. Not only does this allow you to add credibility to your referral, it also gives you a chance to start off the new referral relationship on the right foot. If you can’t do it in person, then perform introductions over the phone. Then send an email to both parties with contact info included.
- Lastly, follow up with both parties within a week of giving the referral. This is your chance to ensure that your referral is ripe and tasty for everyone involved.
Follow these four simple tips for the ripest referrals possible and start serving up results!
This material was originally posted to Successnet