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Corporate Culture

A Unique Type of Gift — The Gift of a Referral

Don Appleby, Holmes Murphy Surety Director, & Joe Tiernan, Holmes Murphy Account Executive, PC
Don Appleby, Holmes Murphy Surety Director, & Joe Tiernan, Holmes Murphy Account Executive, PC

When you receive a referral, no matter the source, you have received a GIFT, which, ironically is a fitting topic for this very time of year.

Now, we know this might not be the “type” of blog you’re used to seeing here, but we didn’t want the year to end without passing along some thoughts. After all, in some way, shape, or form, we’re all in businesses that rely upon clients. And often times, the best clients and relationships stem from the help of others.

So, here goes!

So, What Is a Referral?

Well, referrals come from a variety of sources — clients, your outside network, or internal referrals from within your own company.

How Can You Get Referrals that Fit Both Their and Your Needs?

Here’s a technique to improve odds of getting quality referrals.

Your clients and friends want you to succeed. Your network likes when we do well. But do not take for granted that your network or friends knows what you want, what you are about, or are even aware of solutions to problems you provide for referrals.

Connect with your network and be clear what you and your company are about, the type of clients you routinely help, and under what circumstances you are best.

Here’s an example: “We help construction contractors of all sizes and types – especially when they are growing or experiencing trouble.”

Tips for Responding to Referrals

Here are some best behaviors when receiving the gift of a referral:

Respond Immediately

Like now. Not an hour from now. You must deliver responsiveness. There may be no other quality better than this one. Even if you respond with “Hey, I’ll call you in an hour” or “I’ll call you back at 4 p.m.”

A text, an email, or Morse Code if they are into it that. You get the point. Nine times out of 10, there is an issue to solve. Go serve NOW, not tomorrow!

If You Can’t Help ’em, Tell ’em

There is no shame in this response. And, if you know someone outside of your company you can refer them to, even if it is to your competitor, do it!

Report Back to Your Referral Source with a Thank You & the Outcome

It’s frustrating when you give the gift of a referral to a colleague or your network, and then are left wondering “I wonder what happened to XYZ client I referred?” If they know the outcome, you just affirmed they made a good decision, and they’ll do it again if another referral opportunity arises.

Final Point, and Very Important – You Gotta Give, But Don’t Expect to Get

If you give out referrals, return referrals are NOT automatic, nor should they be expected. If you start keeping score, you will drive a wedge between you and your connections. If you give referrals, of course you can go back ask for one. Or, remind your network where and when you are best so they can recognize return referral opportunities.

Naturally, the more business you do and the more time you spend with your network, the more time you spend on social media and the more you fill your bucket of goodwill and familiarity. Add to that, you do what you say you are going to do promptly and reliably and report back. Referrals will start to naturally flow in and out from multiple sources.

Two Bonus Comments

We don’t want to end this blog without mentioning these two final things:

Every big or medium account started small. This means they started with one employee, one vehicle, one piece of equipment, one crew, one product — do NOT scoff at small referrals or startups. Treat them like the gifts they are.

Let us say this again — do not expect referrals. Just work hard, and referrals will show up like gifts. Stay hungry.

With all that being said, we hope you receive some awesome “gifts” this year and throughout 2021!

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