There is a real difference between a good referral that’s going to help you reach your business goals and a weak referral that’s not. Referrals are all about quality, not quantity, and you need to understand this qualitative difference in order to carry out a successful referral program.
Referrals Are about Relationships
The foundation of a quality referral is the relationship you have with your customer. You both need to understand each other. A customer or client who doesn’t understand your business fully may misrepresent it to others. This won’t get you referrals.
By the same token, they need to feel that they fully trust you and can stand by you. They’re vouching for you and to some extent their referral affects their credibility with their network.
Since it’s all about the referrer understanding your business, it’s essential that you communicate this well to potential referrers. Tell your referrers exactly what you’re looking for. It may be helpful to say something like, ‘I need more people like you.’ If they can understand why your business appeals to them personally, this can help them identify others who would be good prospects.
The other side of the equation is that you have to understand your customers’ or clients’ expectations so that you can meet them. You need to rely on data or direct conversation with your prospects to understand this, not what you think you know about them.
You should always aim to exceed their expectations and remember that they assume your interaction with those they refer will be the same or less valuable than the interaction they had with you.
Your Tracking System
The best way to separate high-quality and weak referrals is to have a good tracking system in place. You’ll see patterns emerge regarding which referrers bring you quality referrals. Measure performance and analyze results to discover what works best.