How to Evaluate Your Referral Relationships in Seven Steps

Would you like more referrals?  How about better referrals?  
 
Read on for a key 7-step strategy that will help you get both more and higher quality referrals that are a better fit for you. 
 
You've probably heard it before.  To get more of what's working for you... do more of what's working.  It seems almost too obvious but it's surprising how most of us miss this and instead keep trying to come up with something new.  So the good news is... you don't need to reinvent the wheel to reap huge benefits :o). 
 
So how do you figure out what's working when it's coming to referrals? Start tracking your results. One of my favorite sayings is "you can't manage what you don't measure."  So start measuring your referral success by scheduling a coffee date with yourself and complete the following seven steps to get even better referral results.
 
1. Make a list of all your referrals
 
Start by making a list of all the referrals you've received in the past 3 - 6 months regardless of whether or not they resulted in any business. Make a note of which referrals you've received that did NOT turn into clients. This is a key step you don't want to miss
 
2. Consider how did you get those referrals?
 
Next, for each referral, record detailed information about who referred them.  In addition, write down what follow up you did that may or may not have resulted in a sale. 
 
3. Add the product and service(s)
 
List which products and services each referral purchased and the total value. Also note if they become repeat clients. 
 
4. What do the successful referrals have in common?
 
Now go back over your lists of all referrals -- and look for a pattern.  Look at the referrals who became clients as opposed to those who didn't.  What seemed to have made the difference?  Did they come from specific referral partners or referral sources? Were they looking for or purchased a specific product or service of yours?
 
5. What do the referrals who did not buy have in common?
 
Do the same for those referrals who did not end up buying. What happened? Was there a specific reason they did not buy?  Were they looking for something else?  Make a note of who referred them.
 
6. Which referrals became your ideal clients?
 
Now look back over the list of successful referrals and pick out those clients you'd consider as your ideal or best clients.  What makes them different from your other successful referrals?  Who referred them?  Did they come through a specific referral source or were they referred by other clients?
 
7. Follow up with everyone who referred you
 
First of all, thank everyone for their referrals once again.  You hopefully thanked them when you first got the referral!  This time, though, also take time to give them some feedback on the outcome of the referral - even if the referral didn't turn into a client. This will give you the opportunity to share information that will help them find more and better fitting referrals in the future.
 
Taking time to work through this 7 step process helps you get clear about a few things:
  • How much business you're actually getting from referrals
  • Your success rate in closing referral business
  • Who's referring you and whether or not they understand enough about your business to do it successfully  Helps you build better referral relationships
As well, you may even get a better sense of who is your ideal customer - something that I find most biz owners often skip past!