Introductions, Referrals and Recommendations
The difference is in the risk ...
What is the most successful way to find a new client? Over the years, I have tried every route known to man. Some are ok, some are a complete failure, some are amazing ...
Introductions, Referrals and Recommendations are one way to find new clients!
copyright: 4p business development
In my experience, what works best for me and majority of my clients is referrals and recommendations. But a recommendation is not a guaranteed sale. It is an opportunity for somebody to present their business where that presentation will be looked forward to with anticipation.
Is there a difference between an introduction, a referral or a recommendation? Absolutely there is:
An introduction is when two parties are brought together by a third party for a potential mutual benefit.
A referral is primarily referring someone you know to one or more providers of the service they are seeking and enabling them to make their own choice.
A recommendation is much more. It is where you recommend someone to one of your trusted partners, where you can be sure that they are sincere and are in the position to offer the exact service require to solve a need.
If you can imagine the transfer of trust required to make a recommendation versus the limited trust expended to make an introduction, you can begin to see the difference.
Introductions can be made between parties you know well, or those who you barely know, with limited effect on your reputation. However, careful consideration needs to be given to recommendations in order to keep your valued reputation.
Would you give a recommendation for someone you barely know? Let 'the cause' become the 'because' - the reason - for people to do business with, and to refer business to, you.
It is absolutely necessary to know and trust your partners, to have proof of their competencies, quality of work and preferably have the first-hand experience of their work ethics before you ever consider making a referral or recommendation.
"Your reputation is at stake here!"
So just how do you go about getting quality referrals and recommendations? Well, you have to prove yourself to others then ask them.
Business colleagues may well believe that you are too busy to take on additional clients, so it is important when out networking, or building your trusted partners network that you also communicate exactly what you are looking for and what capacity you have to accommodate the extra business.
Referrals are the privilege of the opportunity given to you by someone else to potentially do business with someone who wants, needs or desires the products or services you offer.
"It is imperative that you understand as much as possible about both parties before any introductions are made!"
With this in mind, I would always suggest that you have a number of one-to-one, face-to-face meetings to get to know as much as you can about the other person before you consider recommending them to others.
Reputations take years to build but seconds to destroy. Make a bad referral, and you'll put paid to all the hard work and effort you've put in to create your own trusted network.
"Would you like to know more?"
Referrals and recommendations to grow your business are just one element in the 4Ps of business. If you'd like to learn more, then do give me a call on 01280 700405 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
For more than 40 years Kath specialised in sales & marketing, operations and general management. During that time she studied a business degree at London Thames Valley University and a coaching and mentoring degree at Oxford Westminster, started a successful innovative subsidiary business in Essex and was General Manager of a ￡12.5m company in Maidenhead.
Kath is passionate about coaching and mentoring business owner/managers to help them achieve their goals and aspirations. Her emotional intelligence combined with her warm, incisive and curious style ensure consistently good results. She encourages business owners to develop an entrepreneurial approach to their business and works with businesses at various stages from pre-start and start-up, through to high growth and exit, enabling the business to be successful and the owner to achieve his or her highest aspirations.
Kath is an approved and accredited Skills Advisor, and is a professional coach holding a certificate in Coaching & Mentoring Practice from Oxford Brookes University. She is a local Town Councillor, a Young Enterprise mentor, mentor of women through South East Women Mentoring Service, a member of The British American Association and an avid networker.