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The good life – How to breed profitable referrals

It’s great when a contact passes a quality business referral your way.  The lead is often warm, the timing’s good and the sales conversion process is often less intensive compared to a cold prospect.

But how do you encourage your prized contact to procure more than one golden egg?  How can you motivate them to hatch more opportunities for you? Here are some fundamental dos and don’ts to help you…


  • Let your contact know what benefits your customers get from your products or services.  If they recognise the need that points to your solution, they’ll find it easier to spot opportunities for you.  In your conversations or catch ups with them, give real life examples rather than theory.  The practical stories will be easier to remember and will help them ‘sell’ the concept of you to their contacts.
  • Guide your contact on the types of customers that are more profitable for your business and those that aren’t. Explain what the typical profile of the two is like and how they differ.
  • Thank your contact the minute they pass on a referral.
  • Keep them in the communication loop when you are dealing/working with their referral.  Pick the right level of regularity that will reassure rather than pester them.  Ask them if you don’t know by saying something like..”Thanks so much for this lead.  I’d like to keep you in the loop as we work on this, if that’s ok with you.  What sort of frequency would you prefer for these updates? And is email ok or would you like a quick phone catch up from time to time?”
  • Do an excellent job with whoever they recommend to you. Remember your contact’s reputation and judgement is on the line here in referring you (by christol).  Mess up this business opportunity and you’ll sabotage your chances of more leads coming your way.
  • Let your contact know the outcome of the referral and the work you delivered – especially if the customer goes on to commission more products or services with you.
  • Reward your contact – it may be a case that you need to refer something back or perhaps a bottle of champagne, box of chocolates or bouquet of flowers would suffice.  Pick the reward that your contact will most value.
  • Find out about their business and interests – can you offer any help or business opportunities from your network?


  • Take ages to follow up the referral, it’ll just show you’re not interested and certainly don’t deserve new leads in future.
  • Keep your contact in the dark about how you are progressing the lead.
  • Let this new lead down in any way with your products or service delivery.
  • Damage the relationship your contact has with this business lead in any way.
  • Just take from your contact without giving back in some way.

About the author: Michelle Daniels,  Managing Director – Extended Thinking.
An experienced and effective business development and marketing strategist, Michelle has built a successful career increasing top line growth for service businesses and organisations. She helps her clients turn their marketing, business development and thought leadership plans into reality with her ‘hands on’ support and practical advice.    A prolific writer, Michelle also combines creative flair with business nous to produce highly effective results.  She has written (and ghost-written) for many professional and business publications and is a chartered marketer and member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Extended Thinking is a hands-on marketing and business development consultancy.  Bringing together great minds and great ‘doers’, we help our clients devise and implement plans that achieve real business growth.  Our clients come from a wide variety of backgrounds and sectors, but invariably are those who are too busy or lack the resources to action their marketing and business development plans.  We roll our sleeves up and muck in to free them up to do what they really want to do and are good at doing.  www.extendedthinking.com


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