Recently I was on two different sides of two completely different referral situations.
Let’s start with Emily. For the past three months I’ve watched Emily develop a new business with her years of General Manager experience in the vacation rental industry. She’s continued to keep me posted on the services that she is offering and who her ideal client is. She educated me on her services and her pricing, and she provided me resources to point to should I come in contact with someone that might need her services. Let me be clear, she didn’t just share this stuff with me. She developed a relationship over time. Consistently speaking to me about all types of things, many of which were non business related. We are connected on Facebook so we see each other’s posts and that leads to knowing others much more.
When I was speaking with my client Pam recently, who has a business in the vacation rental industry, she indicated that she needed some back office support. I knew immediately that Emily would be a good fit. But, I didn’t just want to say, “You should talk to Emily”. Referrals aren’t that simple. It’s at this point I need to ensure that this is a good fit for my client. NOT for Emily. The good fit for Emily is the responsibility for Emily. I need to ask more questions to Pam to ensure I am connecting her with the correct resource to help her. All I can do is go off what Emily has told me that she does.
This is why networking and communicating with your contacts is so important. You really need to learn what they are doing and what types of clients they are serving.
As I spoke with Pam more, I began communicating to her what I had learned from Emily. Again, I’m looking for a good fit here, but I’m always focused on Pam’s needs first.
Eventually, I felt that it was a good fit and I made the introduction of Pam and Emily. From there they were able to talk and start working together.
In this specific referral that I can to Emily, I worked really hard to ensure I was just a well informed matchmaker.
Then there is a solution to the problem I had. First…it’s important to know that I always work within my network of contacts whenever possible. This past Thursday, I heard a loud bang in my garage, I opened the door to the garage and saw nothing. I thought maybe something fell off the shelf. That is until the next morning when I hit the button to raise the garage door! Whoops…no luck. A closer inspection revealed that the bang I heard the night before was a broken compression spring. I immediately turned to my very active Massachusetts Business Connections Networking Group on Facebook and posted that I needed a garage door repair company to assist me. One person posted in the thread by tagging that company and pasting their phone number. It was now my job as the buyer to contact this garage door company.
THIS WAS NOT A REFERRAL.
Tagging someone on Facebook is not a referral.
Here’s what should have happened. The person who knew of the company that could help me should make a mutual email introduction, telling the service provider that I have a need and instructing them that I am awaiting their phone call. Then the service provider calls. With this mutual email, there is a clear expectation that I, the buyer, will take the service provider’s call! That’s an important factor. If this mutual introduction is done, then I stop looking as I wait for the call. When it’s not done, I continue to look because I don’t know if this company is going to call me back.
As it turns out, when I called the service provider, they told me that they don’t service my town. This was the third phone call to a garage door company in my area. The first two calls I made required me to leave messages, and they did not call back.
I made a fourth phone call, and someone answered. They scheduled a time to come to my home on a Sunday.
That is the tale of two referrals. One served on a silver platter ready for the service provider to close the deal, the other left the buyer holding the bag, doing more work, and ultimately not using the company recommended, cause they weren’t a good fit for me.
If you want more business, start educating people on how to pass the referrals to you. You can also download the two resources I have for you here at www.FireUpReferrals.com