What should I do and say when I get an inappropriate referral?

Right after the meeting walk up to the Member who turned in the referral record with the white slip in your two hands.

Grin broadly, and say “Thank you so much for thinking of me!”

Then ask a question.

  • If there isn’t contact information ask, “How can I reach them?”
  • If it will be a cold call to a potential GateOpener ask, “Can you set up lunch for the three of us? I’m available Wednesday.”
  • If it is to a competitor begin with, “We’re competitiors – did you have a way in mind that I could bring them benefit?”
  • When it is to someone you would be a GateOpener for consider “My current ______ is terrific, and I’m not interviewing anyone else right now. I’m loyal to good people.”

And have a conversation.

Either it wasn’t really a referral yet – and your conversation will help them turn it into one, or you’ll learn what they were thinking, and sometimes their idea will spark a whole new adventure for you!

Example 1:
Charles Jenkins told me that he closed 93% of the referral records he received. (I don’t know whether to be more  impressed with 93% or with the fact that he kept track!) Here’s the Charles Jenkins method:

On Friday, right after his meeting, when he got to his desk, he would call each person who had given him a referral that morning. His voicemail message was: “Bob, thanks so much for thinking of me! I’ll have time to call Kristen Tuesday, around 10. Between now and then would you please reach out to her and let her know to expect my call? I wouldn’t want to ruin your relationship with her by cold calling. Just leave me a voice mail when she’s good to go. I won’t reach out until I hear  back from you. Thank you.”

Ninety-three percent.

Example 2:
Jack Fishman kept sending a referral record to Richard Burg that was … wrong. Just … wrong. The first time Burg walked over to Fishman and said, “This isn’t what I do.”  The second time Bug said, “Like I told you before, this isn’t what I do.” The third time Burg said, (with more than a little irritation in his voice) “Doesn’t look like my InfoMinutes are getting through to you, let’s go to lunch so I can explain to you what a good referral  for me is.”

At lunch Burg began his usual pitch, and Fishman interrupted – “How is that different than the opportunity I’m suggesting?” Burg says it was like lightening struck him. He was silent for a minute (rare for Burg!) and then started asking questions. Within 18 months Fishman’s connection was 40% of Burg’s business.

Forty percent.

The short answer to how to deal with an inappropriate referral record is:
1: Say thank you for thinking of me.
2: Have a conversation.

Go make money!



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