Do you think you have captured all of the referrals you have ever received?
I mean Every. Last. One.
I hope your answer is yes but all too often the answer is no. If we are being completely honest. And I always want you to be honest with me. Because knowing where you stand is the first step to figuring out the path to where you want to be. But if you don’t know or aren’t honest about where you are starting, how can you move forward in the right direction?
I believe the easiest process when it comes to generating referrals is capturing the referral.
I didn’t always think that way. In fact, having to track where the referral came from used to feel like a big production, something I would easily miss because I was always off the next work “emergency” that needed my attention and taking time to capture who just sent me a referral seemed like extra work I didn’t have time for.
The easiest way to end up with a lost referral is to not track it. But there are two other ways to end up with a lost referral.
Before I dive into the other two ways, let’s unpack why tracking referrals is critical and I’ll give you a simple process to make it happen – each and every time.
Tracking Referrals…The Easy Way
When it comes to tracking your referrals received…you just need a few data points to collect. When we try to track too much data it starts to overwhelm us and we are more likely to abandon it. Tracking referrals should be easy – one of the easiest processes you have in your business.
You need to have one document where you capture some basic information – the date or year the referral was received, the name of the referral source is and the name of the prospective new client they referred to you. You can track outcome – if they become a client or not as well but I find when getting started this is optional.
Once you have the tracker, you need a “keeper” of the tracker. If you are a solopreneur and it is just you in your business – then you are the keeper. I was for many years. But if you have an assistant – virtual or local – part-time or full-time – you can delegate the job of “keeper” to them. It doesn’t matter to me who the keeper is – it is just important to have someone responsible for the list.
Here is how my assistant and I follow the referral capture process.
When someone refers me to another person – a prospective client – I simply send the information to my VA and she inputs the data in the tracker. She loads the info in and can send me the most up-to-date version when I ask for it.
Almost 100% of my referrals come through email because that is how I position myself to receive them.
Following our process, I can rest assured I don’t lose a referral because nothing is worse than the “lost referral.” There are many reasons to keep the tracker current…you know how many referrals received, you know who to thank, you know how to categorize your referral sources to leverage more referrals, and you know who you should be following up with to become new clients.
Other Ways to Lose Referrals
So, if not having a process to capture referrals is only one way we end up with lost referrals, what are the two other ways we lose referrals?
- Your team doesn’t capture the source of each new prospect when they call or email and say, “I got your name from a someone.”
- You don’t have language you use every time to turn “I gave your name to someone the other day and they should be reaching out” into an actual email referral introduction where you and the prospect are copied on the email.
Fixing these two other reasons why you lose referrals is easy. Let me show you how to fix #1.
Solution for “I got your name…”
Now I gave you the solution for the number one way a referral goes missing – you don’t have one place – the referral tracker to capture the information. Remember you don’t need to create your own referral tracker, use mine for free!
Here is the solution for how to not lose a referral from a call-in prospect.
Lost Referral Reason: Your team doesn’t capture the source of each new prospect when they call or email and say, “I got your name from a someone.”
Solution: Not all referrals come directly from the referral sources. Sometimes before the referral source can let you know that a prospect is interested in working with you, the prospect takes it upon themselves to follow up. So, when someone calls or emails inquiring about working with you, you need to make sure you and your team always follow the same process of asking where they heard about you.
I called an HVAC company once and said, “a client of yours recommended I call you because we need a new HVAC unit.” Then I waited – she took all my information like name, address, phone number, what the problem was, and scheduled the inspection but never asked me who the client was who referred me.
So how do they know who to thank? They don’t. All the receptionist had to do was ask but she didn’t. And I’m guessing that you can almost guarantee the receptionist will ask if it is made part of the “intake” questions. It may take a few tries to not forget or overlook the question but if your receptionist (or anyone who answer the phone) is taking down information from the caller – adding one more question to the list should do the trick of capturing who is the referral source.
This has definitely happened to me before (and I don’t have a receptionist to answer my calls, I have to do that). I had a prospective new client call and say two people told him to call me and before I found out anything about him I said…”That is great, can you tell me who recommended me? I’d love to know who to thank.”
You can do this…think through the simple steps or changes you may have to make to a current process so you capture all referrals.
Because lost referrals are the saddest!
Tracking and capturing referrals should be easy…but keep in mind, there is a little work involved.
My goal with today’s article is to make it easier for you to track your referrals. Because I know a secret.
Once you start tracking referrals you will want to generate more because generating referrals is the best way to grow your business and touch business development every day in a way that works for you and you actually want to do it. As Peter Drucker famously stated, “What gets measured get managed.”
So, let’s start tracking our referrals so we can measure our success and again, you don’t have to create your own. Use mine!
Spoiler alert – it is not fancy… in fact it is super, super basic. I mean really basic.
When folks start working with me – whether live through a VIP Referral Building Session or online through my Growth By Referrals program – the first exercise I have them do is gather their referral sources. I can almost hear the groans before they ever utter them. Because they know pulling this information should be quick and easy, but it isn’t.
If only they had written the referral down right when it arrived.
If only they had captured those referrals in one place.
If only they had tracked them.
“If only” is no way to run a business or manage referrals.
You need that one place…the one and only place…where all referrals are quickly captured and ready for you when you need them. Then you need to make sure your team is on board with the new process as well.
Now I have a way, as part of my Growth By Referrals process, to make creating a list of referral sources easier even when you don’t have them all written down…but regardless…it would be so much easier if you could say… “No problem Stacey, I’ve got that. Let me send you my referral tracker.”
Well…now you can. Download the referral tracker now, assign your “keeper” of the referral tracker and start tracking today!