Referrals and introductions can mean the difference between an appointment and a redirection to voicemail. But did you know that just any little old referral or introduction won’t do? In fact, a poor referral or introduction can actually hurt you!
Let’s look at a scenario. You meet a person at a local networking meeting. After a short conversation, the person eagerly offers up, “You should meet so and so at Company XYZ. The two of you would be perfect together. Here is his contact information. Tell him that I told you to call.”
Now, fast forward to the next day. You eagerly pick up your phone and dial the number they gave you. After a moment of ringing, the prospect picks up. You give your best 10 second blurb yet and end it with your trusty name drop, then wait for it to work its magic. Expecting to get an appointment set up right away you are surprised when the prospect tells you they are not interested in a very short tone.
After hanging up you wander to yourself what happened. Did you blow it? You beat yourself up over it all day. You even bring it up to your power circle at lunch. Your mentor, who is sitting right next to you asks, “Who was the referral from?” You tell him and you can literally see the light bulb go on over his head. He lets you in on a little secret…your prospect just happens to be the newly ex brother-in-law of the person who referred you and apparently the divorce was not on friendly terms.
Ugh, you could just hit yourself for walking into that one! Now your prospect will never take your call again as he associates you with his ex brother-in-law.
How can those situations be avoided? Well, first any referrals or business introductions must be qualified. If someone says to use their name, ask them what their relationship is or how they know the person. Then, ask them if they would be willing to give them a call or shoot them an email on your behalf.
Think of it like this. If name dropping works well, imagine a personal introduction. Then your prospect knows that you are really someone of quality that is worth taking seriously. Plus, this method helps weed out those “referrals” that are merely some eager beaver at a networking event trying to look helpful by passing out contact information for any Tom, Dick, and Harry that he has ever rubbed elbows with.
What was the worst experience you have had with a referral? What did you do to try to overcome it? Were you able to? What did you learn from the experience?
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