Referrals: How to Give 10 out of 10


How many times have you been to a chapter meeting and received a referral?  Plenty, of course. While many referrals lead to new clients, sometimes they represent mere leads or, worse, turn out to be duds.  Sometimes people give us referrals for which the referrer hasn’t taken the time or effort to make sure it is powerful and useful.

Shades of Referrals

Referrals come in different shades. We can grade them from 1 to 10, with one being the lowest shade and ten the highest and most powerful kind.  A trained word-of-mouth expert will know when to send a referral back to the referrer for a little more work before accepting it.

Shade 1: Forget About It

Let me explain.  A Shade 1 referral is someone saying, “I was talking with a client, and he said he was looking for a bookkeeper so I gave him your card.”  What is most likely to happen with this prospect?  Nothing. There is no emotional connection between you and him, and no reason for him to do anything other than add your business card to the pile they already have.

Improving the Shade of Your Referrals

What could the person have done to improve the referral? They could have emailed a recommendation of you to the prospect and included a glowing testimonial explaining how you had solved their bookkeeping issues.  This would be better than a Shade 1 referral, but still only registers as a Shade 4.

Shade 6: Now We’re Getting Somewhere

Imagine the outcome had the same chapter member made a Shade 6 referral, by qualifying the prospect’s needs and arranging permission for you to call and introduce yourself.

Anything below a Shade 6 referral is too low to proceed with any action.  If I receive a Shade 5 or less, I know I need to train my referral partner so they can give me stronger referrals.  I would usually ask the referrer to contact the prospect, clarify their needs, pass on some information about me, and preferably provide them with a testimonial.

Shade 10 – Simply The Best!

A Shade 9 referral is good, but a Shade 10 is best.  A Shade 10 referral would be a chapter member saying, “I have spoken to your secretary and booked an appointment for you with Bill Smith.  I told Bill you were the best bookkeeper in town!  He wanted to know how to get started so I took the liberty of making an appointment for you.”

Take the Time

So, think about the referrals you give at your chapter meetings: could you do a little more work before filling in that referral slip? Time and effort ensure quality referrals and increased closed business for your chapter.

Lindsay Adams, National Director, Referral Institute

Referral Institute, founded by Ivan Misner, is the strategic training
partner for BNI around the world.  If you would like to find out more about
the Referral Institute – check out their website

Categories : Referrals

Leave a Reply