There is a Golden Rule of referrals that you ignore at your peril and it is, simply, this: If you are the referee you must always let the referrer know what happened as a result of the referral. So this is a stage on from just saying “thank you”; it’s also sharing what happened as a result, but it still just takes one e-mail or one phone call – and it is essential if you ever want that referrer to recommend you again. Is that important? Well you may remember me saying this in a previous newsletter: “In my sort of business testimonials and referrals are the oxygen that powers the business growth. I try never to miss an opportunity to ask a Client, or a delegate, for a testimonial and similarly I always try to obtain three referrals from every Client I have.
It is just the same for your business – no matter what it is, no matter what size of business you are, prospective clients will be more likely to buy your products or services if they see, or hear, referrals or testimonials from others talking about the experience they have had with you and/or your products or services.” I can’t emphasise enough that business is simple – it’s about people, it’s about relationships and it’s about people dealing with each other in a professional, respectful and polite manner – that’s all.
It is not complex, it is not rocket science, and I believe we all need to look at ourselves and our people to ensure that we are always dealing with people like that – be they customers, suppliers or other stakeholders in the business. You will find that the people who work in the most successful businesses the ones that are held up as examples by others – not only exhibit consistently the above traits but also a real belief in what they’re doing, enthusiasm and fun. Is there any reason why you and yours can’t do the same?
So just how good are you at saying “thank you”? Okay – on a scale of one to 10 how would you rate yourself in the “thanking” stakes? 8 or 9? Well if so I think you must be unusual. I seem to be finding it increasingly unusual for people to acknowledge help when you’ve given it – whether it’s as a company or an individual. I can’t think why – it surely is easier than it’s ever been to type “thanks for that” and press the send button, or just give someone a call. Maybe we are simply too busy these days – too busy running our businesses, maybe too busy trying to get new customers and to keep the existing customers happy. If that is the case then I do believe you need to do something about it.
Firstly if we are just talking about responding to some help or advice we have been given then, not only is it just common courtesy to say thank you, but also it must be in our longer term interests mustn’t it? – because if you don’t surely that person is going to think twice before helping us again. I’m sure I’m not unusual in being a member of a number of networks, both online and other and it is commonplace for us to be asking each other for advice or information. I try and give that advice or provide that information if I can but, frankly, I’ve become so incensed by people not acknowledging what you’ve done that I have now developed a blacklist of people I will simply no longer respond to when they seek my advice or information. Isn’t that just a crazy?
Let’s now move away from the personal and into the business world. Here again I imagine it is not unusual for you or your company to be recommended to a potential client or maybe a service provider of some sort by a third party. This is commonly known as a referral.
© 2011 Roger Harrop Associates
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