Have you ever called up a big company (like a Telecom or a Bank) and been passed around from person to person? I bet you had to explain your problem to people who eventually told you they couldn’t help but then transferred you on to someone else without relaying the information you’d already given them?
I spent 20 minutes on the phone the other day experiencing exactly this situation. Eventually, the very last person I spoke to transferred me and I found that I had been put back to the very start of their automated voice service, asking me to choose option one, two, three or four.
What I realised was that the people transferring me were actually referring me! But they were doing a terrible job of the referral because the next person had no idea who I was or what I wanted.
So when you refer someone, do you prepare the person you’re referring them to? Do they have the name and phone number of the person YOU want THEM to help? Do they know their STORY? Have you given them enough information to be able to sound informed and relate to them?
Have you given them enough information so that YOU don’t look STUPID referring them to someone who has little idea who they are and what they want? Or do you look like you passed them off carelessly because you’re not really interested in helping them?
A business referral is often not directly related to the service or product that you are providing but that does not mean that you shouldn’t spend any time on it.
Sometimes being able to help a client of yours find a good accountant or someone to help them get fit can cement their trust in you. It shows that you care about them as an individual and not just how many dollars they have earned you.
Good Business Referrals are…
The person you’re referring them to should know the who’s what’s and why’s. If you don’t prepare them, you could be losing them business by dropping a potential customer in their lap who leaves feeling confused or with the impression you or the business are disorganised.
Able To Help
Don’t annoy your customers by sending them to the wrong place. They will only resent you for wasting their time.
Don’t refer just to impress the other business. If there’s no chance of a sale, you’re wasting their time too.
Don’t refer to businesses that are unreliable, over-priced or offer poor quality service. They will only make you look bad.
If you are interested in learning more about business networking, giving and getting referrals, look up your local chapter of Business Networking International (BNI).