Do your referral partners feel confident that you value the leads they give you? I am not talking about giving them money. There are other ways to thank them. I feel that one of the best, and cheapest, things you can give them, to prove that you deserve their leads, is information.
Joe CPA: “Here is a lead for you, my client says they need new ERP software.”
You: “Thanks very much. We will follow up.”
Then what happens?
If that lead turns into a closed deal I am sure that you thank Joe effusively, perhaps even sending over a nice basket of cookies.
But what about all the stages in between, do you keep Joe up to date?
If he doesn’t hear from you, Joe might start to wonder if you ever reached the client, if the project was a good fit, if you moved forward or not. Then Joe might start to wonder if he should send you any more leads in the future. You never want Joe to think this way.
So why not just send him a quick update so he doesn’t have to wonder.
- If the deal closed, Joe can feel happy that you and his client were well matched.
- If the deal is stalled, Joe might be able to put in a good word for you.
- If the deal was lost, you can let Joe know why so he can be on the lookout for a new lead that is a better fit.
Either way, Joe knows that you value his referral.
Leads are like currency.
Your referral partners want to know that if they invest that money with you, it is going to be well taken care of and not wasted. And certainly not forgotten.
If you don’t treat the referral well, it can reflect badly on the one who made the recommendation. And if you don’t do anything at all with that referral, say you call a few times with no success and write it off, then the referral could have been given to someone else.
In my experience, people like to have information. And it is not hard to give that information. I know you are already tracking the source of all your leads in your CRM system. So just pull a report on a regular basis and sort it by the referral source. Then put that information in a quick, friendly email to Joe.
I did a highly successful referral campaign a while back. Microsoft even gave me an award for it and sent me to Hawaii… that was awesome. The campaign itself was relatively simple but I think a key to the success was that it included sending regular update emails to each referral source giving them the status of the leads they had provided to us.
A brief overview of the referral program:
- Identified top 10 referral sources (IT companies, CPAs, CRM companies….)
- Sent a brownie basket for each lead provided.
- If lead turned into a sale, sent a $$ gift certificate.
- Sent monthly personalized emails that included a timely marketing-related tip.
- Sent out a quarterly mailing to all referral sources that included a small “lumpy mailing” gift and an update on the progress CAL had made with the leads provided. For example, one mailing consisted of sunflower seeds and a theme of “growing”, while another featured an internally developed whitepaper, called “30 Questions Every CFO Must Ask About the Cost of Accounting Software”.)
- Scheduled face-to-face meetings with each referral source to solidify the relationship.'
Campaign Results for one year:
- Number of qualified leads generated: 22
- Cost of campaign: $2,868
- Campaign ROI: 61.6%
You want your referral sources to know that you value each and every lead you give them. None of them are going to fall through the cracks or be ignored. Joe will feel more confident referring leads to you. And over time your feedback will help him learn which leads are the best fit. Who doesn’t want a partner like that?
By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing
Follow me on Twitter: @AnyaCWMktg