If your company is running a referral network but you still seem to have a hard time bringing in leads, you may want to reevaluate the management or elements of your referral plan. Those who have tried to keep an accurate count of how many referrals actually turn into real sales know that it is definitely not an easy task. You may want to consider keeping a scorecard for your referral network so you can get an outside look at the inner workings of your networking plan.
Keeping a Scorecard
On your scorecard you should record the source of each referral as well as any specifics on product or services purchases that apply. Record the follow-up plan for each type of product or service, how it was handled by you or your employees and how it was followed up. Referral purchases should always be followed up with an appreciative card, phone call, or even an invite to lunch. Once you have made a habit of recording this information you may begin to see patterns emerge. Analyze what methods of communication were the most effective, and then when needed, change the referral network rules. A referral network isn’t designed solely to benefit a business owner, but to also benefit anyone involved in the plan. As long as you continue to track your activities, it will not be difficult to analyze and measure your results.
Warming Up Your Referrals
Many of those participating in referral networking spend significant allotments of time warming up their referrals, gauging them for possibly future purchases. However, since it can be difficult to determine who is and who may not be quite ready to become a customer, a lot of this warm up time and energy can end up being spent on all of the wrong people. This is exactly why having a scorecard system in place to measure actions versus results. When you track your results you should be able to tell which specific action actually tipped the scales from a prospective to a determined buyer.
How to Make it Work
If your referral network is struggling there are a few issues you can check over and attempt to correct to get it back on track.
Stay on track by setting goals for any of your networking events. If you set goals on how many you would like to attempt to refer, you will be able to better stay on track as well as gain some confidence in your own program as you see your efforts begin to pay off.
Test Run Your Conversations
Just like any other type of public speaking, practicing your referral networking speech can have positive results when your conversation comes out sounding intelligent, direct, and compelling.
Keep Moving and Follow Up
While you will certainly benefit from intense conversation with prospective consumers, it is a better idea to keep moving and talking to as many as possible. However, you will be doing your business a disservice if you do not keep track on a scorecard of those you have spoken to, any specifics you may have shared, and who they may have mentioned as possible referrers in your face-to-face conversations.
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture and Referral Marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture and Referral relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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