April 30, 2017 by Darcy Boerio
“I’ve got a lead for you.”
If you enjoy saying those words, you’ll probably be able to relate to this article. If you enjoy hearing those words, then this article is definitely for you.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love connecting people. I’ve built a large referral network, and all of my customers at DAB Partners to date have come from that network. While I’ve primarily been in the business of receiving leads, over the years I’ve also had opportunities to refer business to my network in many different scenarios. Sometimes I’ve referred people to the same businesses multiple times, and others I’ve stopped referring to after the first one.
Why would I stop referring business to someone? The answer is simple: follow through.
Everyone has good intentions, but how many of us make it a point to go back to our referral sources after the fact and let them know what transpired?
Sure, if you won the business, you may send them a referral fee or commission, but what if you didn’t? What if you were never able to connect, or it wasn’t a good fit? Much like your Marketing team, your referral source wants to know that you valued their lead and gave it your best effort. If it wasn’t a good fit, this is a great opportunity to educate them on how to properly identify someone that you can help in the future.
I’ve experienced every scenario – from someone not even responding to acknowledge a lead I sent them to someone inviting me to join every conversation. Guess which one I never sent another lead to again!
One common cause for this is that the individual receiving the lead is not actually the one in the company who will follow up on it. Imagine you’re a VAR, and a CPA firm sends you a lead (it shouldn’t be hard to imagine, but if it is, let’s work on your CPA network!). You hand it off to a rep to handle. Do you make sure to go back and close the loop with the CPA? Or make sure the rep does?
Another common scenario is when the lead goes cold, then wakes back up months later. Sales people eager to close the deal will jump right back in where they left off in the sales cycle, but will they think back to where it came from in the first place and make sure that person knows it’s been revived?
If you want to keep your referral sources coming back, make it part of your process to inform them of milestones in the relationship. Let them know after you’ve had your first conversation and when a decision is made. Reach out to them after the customer has gone live to let them know that you not only won the business, but that the customer is happy.
Add it to your calendar. Better yet, put a task in your CRM. The moment you hear the words, “I’ve got a lead for you”, make your plans to close that loop!