Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Is It a Lead or a Referral?

There is a distinction that networkers must learn. There is a BIG difference between a lead and a referral. It’s very important to know the difference if you want to be a successful networker.

leadsVSreferralsWhen someone in your network gives you a lead they are giving you a name to call, not a referral. As we help each other to find more business, why would we want to send our valued referral partners into the dark abyss of leads that most likely will never work out? It’s basically not much better than a cold-call. You don’t need them for that. You could purchase a random source of leads and get basically the same thing. You can get leads from the newspaper, the phone book, or the computer, etc.

“However, a referral is the opportunity to do business with someone in the market to buy your product or service who’s been told about you by a mutual friend or associate. In other words, when you contact them, they already know who you are and what you do. It is stronger than just a lead because the prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting the call. Hence, they are referred.” ~ Ivan Misner

A referral is the opportunity to do business. Referrals are much stronger than a lead in that this prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting your call. The best kind of referral is when someone gives you permission to use their name to get in the door. Those are the kind of referrals that have the highest closing rate. The referring networker has already set up some level of trust and rapport by recommending the person they’re referring. Those are “quality” referrals.

So many networkers are guilty of scrambling around at the last moment trying to come up with a name to give you as a lead when they are on the way to the networking meeting. Those are the worse kind. You NEVER want to hand out a referral until you’ve had a conversation with the person that you are giving as the referral. I want to know if the person’s name they are giving me knows who I am, how I might help and is expecting my call.

Ivan Misner goes into much more detail in his article, “What’s Better: A Lead or a Referral?” I highly recommend that you read it to get the “rest of the story.”

Another example of a failed lead or referral is when someone in your network tells you, “I gave someone your name.” That’s nice that you were thinking about me, but am I supposed to be happy about that? They have my name and I have no way to follow up.  Don’t do me any favors! They called you to get help. If you can’t help them, pass the referral to someone you trust who can.

If you’ve done your job by talking about me and setting up some level of trust, how about giving them my number and telling them, “Larry James is one of my trusted friends, I’m sure he will serve you well. I’ll tell him about you and give him your name and contact information so you two can get together.” I never ask if I can give someone their name, I just do it. If they ask me not to, I honor their request. If not, I pass the referral  – with complete contact info – along to someone I trust. In my wedding business, brides and grooms often hire the first person who calls them, so it’s imperative that I have their contact info. Next, give me their name and contact info so I can follow up immediately.

followupThen… there’s the follow-up! This is where most networkers drop the ball. You’ve all heard people say, “Strike while the iron’s hot!” This adage alludes to the blacksmith’s forge (late 1300s). “Make hay while the sun shines” is another. That means that when opportunity shows up, you take advantage of it while it’s available. As soon as you receive a referral… that’s when the iron is hot. “As soon as possible” is best and certainly within 24 hours is a must.

BONUS Articles:
Referrals vs. Recommendations
How Long Has it Been…
How Much Time Do You Spend Looking for Referrals For Others?
Are You Helping Others in the Same Way You Want Them to Help You?

netHQ

Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

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16 Comments »

  1. […] (and some who have been networking for a long time) come to meetings expecting to receive business leads and referrals, but to me they are missing the point. I’ve never understood this line of thinking. […]

    Pingback by Others!?! | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Monday, October 2, 2017 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  2. […] You may recall the line in the song… “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.” Let’s focus on the second part, getting to know “all about you.” That’s how you develop close business relationships. Getting to know the people in your network must be a high priority. It is basically the ability to connect with like-minded people to share, recognize, create or pursue opportunities not just in the meeting but making time to get to know each other outside of the meetings as well. It leads to mutual trust and respect. You have to cultivate deep relationships with your connections before you can ask them for a favor or expect them to give you business referrals. […]

    Pingback by Getting to Know You… | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Sunday, August 9, 2015 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  3. […] Articles: Is It a Lead or a Referral? “How can I help you?” How Much Time Do You Spend Looking for Referrals For Others? Are […]

    Pingback by Your #1 Networking Priority! | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Saturday, July 4, 2015 @ 8:36 am | Reply

  4. […] how important this is. Write notes to yourself and post them where you will be reminded to look for business referrals, ideas, tips, magazine articles, you can offer to others. Always be churning up new ideas about […]

    Pingback by Be a Business Networking Resource | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Thursday, January 29, 2015 @ 7:30 am | Reply

  5. […] It’s important to “make” time to really get to know the people in your network. Book breakfasts, lunches, visits to each other’s places of business. Spend time with them. Ask lots of questions. That’s how relationships begin. When enough time passes you will learn more about them as a person, their business, their likes and dislikes and you will begin to know them well enough to make some headway with referrals. […]

    Pingback by Give Generously and Graciously | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Tuesday, December 16, 2014 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  6. […] Articles: Is It a Lead or a Referral? How Long Has it Been… Are You Helping Others in the Same Way You Want Them to Help You? A […]

    Pingback by Referral Tips: Do You Have Sex On The First Date? | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Saturday, August 30, 2014 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  7. […] Article: Demonstrate Your Commitment to Networking ~ Here’s How Is It a Lead or a Referral? How Much Time Do You Spend Looking for Referrals For […]

    Pingback by Up Your Networking Referrals | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Sunday, August 10, 2014 @ 8:40 am | Reply

  8. […] Always give quality referrals. Screen them. No “off-the-cuff” referrals. For example, is it a lead or a referral? It’s important to know the […]

    Pingback by Are You Really Committed to Networking? | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Sunday, July 13, 2014 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  9. […] That’s pure folly! Effective business networking is about giving! It’s not about asking others for referrals and leads, it’s about giving others referrals, leads, ideas, etc. Sometimes it’s clipping a newspaper story or copying an idea that may help others by sending it my snail-mail rather than e-mail. It’s true that preperation of snail-mail takes more time, however it also signals that you thought what you sent is special. Send a hand-written note. When you network, you must always to looking for ways to “give” to others in your network of support. By the way, there is a big difference between business referrals and leads. Read: “Is It a Lead or a Referral?“ […]

    Pingback by “Myth-Information” about Networking! | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Sunday, June 15, 2014 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  10. […] BONUS Articles: Referrals vs. Recommendations “Qualified” Referrals – The Currency of Successful Connections! Is It a Lead or a Referral? […]

    Pingback by Who Are You Talking With? | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 7:35 am | Reply

  11. […] It’s important to “make” time to really get to know the people in your network. Book breakfasts, lunches, visits to each other’s places of business. Spend time with them. Ask lots of questions. That’s how relationships begin. When enough time passes you will learn more about them as a person, their business, their likes and dislikes and you will begin to know them well enough to make some headway with referrals. […]

    Pingback by Don’t Wait Until You’re Drowning to Reach Out For Help! | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Thursday, February 13, 2014 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  12. […] easy to get frustrated when you’ve been networking for some time but you‘re not receiving any referrals. Some people are either too lazy or way too busy to provide referrals. Or they are just not that […]

    Pingback by Every Hour You Network Has an Opportunity Cost | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Friday, February 7, 2014 @ 7:34 am | Reply

  13. […] By the way… let’s stop calling business networking groups “leads” groups! I recommend calling them “referral” groups. There is a distinction that networkers must learn. There is a BIG difference between a lead and a referral. It’s very important to know the difference if you want to be a successful networker. Here’s why. Read: “Is It a Lead or a Referral?“ […]

    Pingback by Demonstrate Your Commitment to Networking ~ Here’s How | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Wednesday, January 22, 2014 @ 7:34 am | Reply

  14. […] remains true to this day is that we must acknowledge when we are the recipients of support, referrals, information, and ideas that benefit us. The basics of business networking remain the same: make […]

    Pingback by 5 Unwritten Rules of Business Networking! | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Tuesday, January 14, 2014 @ 7:41 am | Reply

  15. […] things that help you stand out in your networking group. Giving lots of referrals (not leads) is probably one of the best ways. Being obvious in helping others is another. […]

    Pingback by Are You a Hard Act to Follow? | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Friday, January 10, 2014 @ 7:41 am | Reply

  16. […] you?” They are the ones people like and trust and have earned the right to receive referrals. Referrals rarely are received by people who enter the room in selling mode with dollar signs on their […]

    Pingback by Networking ~ Not a Quick Fix! | Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James — Monday, January 6, 2014 @ 7:42 am | Reply


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