The Care and Feeding of Referral Sources

Patience is a virtue. Sure it’s cliche, but it’s still very relevant when it comes to managing referral sources.  Too many of us, especially when times are challenging, tend to lose our cool and give up on relationships before they have reached fruition. Networking and business development cycles can often be long and tedious. The key is keeping the proverbial slowpokes on the grid so your competition doesn’t take them away. So, cool your jets and read these important tips on maintaining your referral sources while they inch forward towards making a connection for you.

Be Realistic

In a perfect world, you’d network with somone and they immediately have a lead for you. Unfortunately, it rarely happens that way. Business relationships must be nurtured and it can take many meetings and calls before a referral source feels confident about making an introduction. Be patient and understanding and continue to build the relationship.

Add Value While Biding Your Time

Start thinking of ways that you can stay in the forefront of referral source’s thoughts without looking like a pushy salesperson. It’s all about providing those little extras that show that you care. What kinds of little extras? Send them articles on topics that might be of particular interest or invite them to an upcoming trade event or networking get-together. Make proactive introductions for them and add value to the relationship even before they have done anything for you.

Hang in There, but Play It Smart

Business development and referrals can sometimes drag on for years and then result in valuable business. It’s your job to determine who has real potential and who is just stringing you along. Sometimes it’s hard to tell and certainly, the best way to determine their viability is to ask lots of questions and keep them close while building the relationship.

Finally, the worst thing you can do is to simply give up and let them fall off the grid without knowing if there was true potential or not. Create an excellent touch point management plan and watch your referrals and business grow.