Are You Missing Out on Business Because You’re Not Staying Top-Of-Mind with Referral Sources?

Referrals are an important source of business for most professionals. Every business owner has a referral network of some size – even if it’s just a handful of family and friends who send you business once in a blue moon. For most professionals, that network is actually quite large: current clients, past clients, industry colleagues, colleagues in other industries, community leaders, previous employers – the list goes on.

These potential referral sources are people who know you, know what you do and who you help, and trust that you’ll do a good job for the clients they send your way.

But for a referral to actually happen, three things must take place:

1) The referral source must have the desire (and the confidence) to send work your way.
2) The referral source must have the opportunity to send work your way.
3) The referral source must recognize the opportunity and make the connection. (“Oh! I have the perfect person for you…”)

Number one and number two are taken care of if you do a good job of networking strategically. But #3 represents a major missed opportunity for most professionals. There are two primary problems. Let’s break them down…

Problem 1. Your well-meaning referral source doesn’t recognize opportunities to send you business. It’s your job to explain to them what you do, who you help, and to define what a “good referral” looks like. (“A good referral for me is someone who…”). You likely do this early in the relationship… but you can’t expect the referral source to remember forever. It’s important to regularly remind him or her of what you do, and in what situations you can help people.

Problem 2. Your well-meaning referral source doesn’t think of you when the opportunity arises. We’re all busy. We meet people all the time. We’ve got a million things going on. In fact, according to researchers, most of us have at least 50,000 distinct thoughts every single day. So it shouldn’t be surprising that a referral source that you met months or years ago just doesn’t recall your name at a moment’s notice.

The good news is that there’s a simple solution for both problems. You need to establish regular touch-points with your referral network. Those touch-points should serve the simple function of reminding your network that you’re still out there, but they should also remind them what you do, who you help, and what a good referral looks like. And these touch-points should reinforce your credibility and your expertise as much as possible.

There are a number of ways to create these touch-points. You can send birthday gifts and holiday cards. You can eat lunch together. You can make phone calls to check in. You can send resources – interesting books, articles, ideas. You can connect on social media and maintain an active presence. (This allows you to create multiple touch-points every single week!) You can send out regular e-newsletters. The list goes on, and the best approach is a combination – multiple touch-points, through different platforms, so that you maintain top-of-mind awareness across your network. Do this well and you’ll dramatically increase the effectiveness of your referral network.

Contact us today if you’d like to learn how to leverage the internet to create top-of-mind awareness, multiply referrals, and grow your practice!


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Daniel Decker

Daniel Decker is a co-founder and Partner at Spotlight Branding. In addition to helping lawyers stand out from the crowd, he spends his time writing, dreaming up new marketing strategies, and coming up with catchy subject lines. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys playing sports, guitar, politics, and Minnesota sports.