The Shelf Life Of A Referral

Referrals are the primary reason why entrepreneurs, sales representatives and professionals become and stay involved with AmSpirit Business Connections. It is these exchanges of opportunities and contacts among members that fill Chapters with excitement and energy. More importantly, this excitement and energy creates enthusiasm among members to generate even more referrals.

Often, however, we do not maximize the amount of excitement and energy that the referral process can generate. Although we generally do a wonderful job of giving referrals at Chapter meetings, there is much more to the process. It is these other parts of the referral process that, have the potential to increase the level of excitement and energy within the Chapter.

Every qualified referral has a potential shelf life of at least three Chapter meetings. In other words, a referral can be presented or discussed at least three different Chapter meetings – once before the referral is given, once when the referral is given, and once as a follow up to giving the referral. Each time the referral is discussed, we are adding energy and excitement to the Chapter, which carries over into greater enthusiasm to further the process.

Here is a breakdown of the three meetings:

Build Up (Meeting 1): Generally, we have a reasonable notion when we will be generating referrals for people within our Chapters. Often, in the course of working with customers and clients, we are working on the production of referrals well before we are able to give them. It is a discussion of this effort that can create energy and excitement. For example what if we said something like:

“I don’t have any referrals today, but I am meeting with a client later this week. After this meeting, I am hopeful of having a referral for Sandy.”

In creating this build up, certainly we run the risk that the referral will not be generated. This might result in a let down. We should never avoid something because of the possibility of failure. Besides, more often than not, this will not occur. If it does, remember and remind people, like the holiday season, it is the thought that counts. And additionally, this can be spun into positive energy. For example we can handle it by saying:

“Sandy, that referral opportunity I mentioned last week did not work out. I am sorry. But I am going to continue to try to find you something.”

Presentation (Meeting 2): Although this may not be the very next meeting, when the referral opportunity finally comes to fruition, we have a second occasion to infuse energy and excitement into the Chapter meeting. Again, generally we do a good job of presenting our referrals, but an example might be:

“A week or so ago, I indicated that I had a potential opportunity for Sandy looming on the horizon – here it is. Sandy, give them a call; they are expecting you.”

Follow Up Reporting (Meeting 3): We generally know (or should know) the results of our referrals. Generally these results are positive. Sharing these successes with the Chapter provides us a third occasion to infuse energy and excitement into the Chapter meeting. Again, this may or may not be the very next meeting, but once we know that the results were even mildly positive, we should share this with the Chapter. An example of how we might do this could be:

“I don’t have any referrals today, but I want to share with the Chapter that I gave Sandy a referral a week or so ago and my client cannot stop raving about the level of service she provided. Thank you, Sandy. You made me look like a superstar.”

In summary, referrals are the lifeblood of AmSpirit Business Connections and thus we need to maximize the impact they have. Whether or not we have referrals to share each week, we can still create excitement and enthusiasm within our Chapters by not only giving referrals as we have them, but also sharing with the Chapter the prospects of referrals we are working on as well as reviewing with the Chapter the positive results of the ones we have given.