Recommendations & Referrals

Recommendations & Referrals

Written by Wayne R. Karlins President of Reed Social Media Group. LLC

Recruiting and retaining new clients on a consistent basis is key to my success. How about you?

I belonged to 6 different networking groups this year, and have belonged to as many as 12 a year. I live for referrals and of course, I love giving referrals to my fellow networkers. I use my networking groups as my Rolodex for who I will be referring.

For some professionals, there is no difference between an introduction, a recommendation, and a referral. But actually, there is!

Referrals are one of the most powerful tools for me in acquiring new customers. Why wouldn't you trust a referral from a friend? I will take an introduction, recommendation or a referral, but I prefer a referral.

To make an introduction, limited trust is all that is needed. Introductions can be made between parties you know well or those who you barely know with limited effect to your reputation. This may or may not lead to business or friendship but these can build strategic and power partners for me.

Generally speaking, an introduction is when two parties are brought together by a third party with the assumption of it being mutually beneficial

Referrals are the fast track to lead conversion in my business. A referral is essentially sending someone you know well to someone you trust. This is a warm to hot lead for me. The person I will be contacting will be expecting my call or email and will know why I am calling or emailing, with the prospect of becoming my client. They should know ahead of time why you are contacting them. Referrals bring an expectation of someone ready to make a buying decision sooner rather than later.

After I give a referral I follow up with both parties 7 – 10 days after they have contacted each other. This is to make sure you have given a good referral and that both parties are happy.

If you can imagine the transfer of trust required to make a referral vs. the limited trust expended to make an introduction, you can begin to see the difference.

Professionals report giving out a large number of referrals but rarely are given the same consideration in turn.  What may be happening is the referrals may be introductions and are not converting into business. If that is the case, expectations are not being met.

You could use recommending when you have overheard a conversation where someone mentions that they are looking for something or someone specific and you know someone who could fill that need... A recommendation is merely a suggestion to someone you think could help. You do not need to have a close relationship with the person you are recommending to or the person you are recommending.

This is not to be confused with a recommendation on LinkedIn which is much more like a referral.

I am sure many of you may have other ideas to share about how you refer or the difference between all of these. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

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