Presentation: How You Can Always Pass A Referral Reality Test

How can you always pass our referral reality test? Do you want your external referrals to really count?

There are 10 levels of referral that vary in quality according to how much involvement your referral source invests in preparing the referral. At the first level, you do 95% of the work. At the highest level, you do 5% of the work.  Here are the levels in order of quality:

  1. Name and contact info only: the bare minimum. Your card has been given to a prospect. The prospect may remember you. This is little better than a cold call. What if the prospect won’t return your calls or emails? It is a brush off. So much more could be done by your referral source, such as…any of the other 9.
    What more can be done:
  2. Literature, biography and company information: your referral source gives your literature to the prospect. You have to hope that your literature is strong enough to interest the prospect.
  3. Authorization to use name: Your referral source tells you to “mention my name”. You hope that the relationship between the prospect and referral is strong enough.
  4.  General testimonial or letter of recommendation: it shows the prospect a moderate level of trust between you and the referral source.
  5. Letter of introduction and promotion: this is the first level of referral that involves some effort on the part of your referral source. This letter would indicate a stronger relationship, and include specifics from the perspective of the referral source, about how your products/services could help the prospect. Remember: promotion is advocacy.
  6. Introductory call and promotion: from your referral source to the prospect takes more effort from your referral source, and is more effective than a letter.
  7. Arrange a meeting: your referral source puts in more effort, and moves from promoter to facilitator. (Me & Dan Nugent.)
  8. In-person introduction and promotion: your referral source commits time and energy and becomes an intermediary. This indicates a high level of trust in your product/service. Your referral source can become actively involved in selling your products/service.
  9. Assessment of need and interest: the referral source has thoroughly scoped out the prospect’s needs for your product/service, and has convinced the prospect of it. You just need to tailor your offerings to those needs.
  10. Closed deal: the sale is closed before you even meet the prospect. All you need to do is deliver your product/service and collect payment.

When we are able to get a level 9 or 10 referral, it is easier for the referral source to close the deal, because of the level of trust with the prospect. Your referral source is lending you credibility, which is not to be taken lightly. You must do an excellent job of fulfilling that referral. Keep in mind these 10 levels of referrals. Put the effort in to do those higher levels because:

  • You will be helping the businesses of your fellow BNI members, and in return will get more business;
  • You will look better in the eyes of the prospect; and
  • You’ll be guaranteed to pass the crap test every time.

The presentation above is taken from the book Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections, co-authored by Dr. Ivan Misner.


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