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I learned about the power of referrals from  a very good friend who is an extremely talented and . Besides being one of the three most influential inspirations and mentors for my own speaking career, this person is also a constant source of , referrals, and leads. In fact, just this morning I opened my email to find six letters of recommendation my friend sent to their clients for me.

It's such a nice thing they did  for me that the only reason I'm not including my friend's name here with an enormous “THANK YOU,” is that I don't want them to be bombarded by other speakers wondering why my friend is not recommending them as well.

The Power of Referrals

The referrals were incredibly generous and thoughtful. They're also some of the best ways I've found for me to get new gigs with new clients. But here's the best part – I didn't ask my friend to do any of this for me in the first place. Nor do I regularly remind them to send out notes for me. They do it on their own initiative.

What could be better than that?

You see, it's easy to make a connection for a friend when they ask you. As long as you're willing to endorse them, it just takes a phone call or email and the job's done.

It's also easy to make a referral when you run into exactly the right person who needs what the person you're referring can do for them. In this case, you don't even need to call – you just make a suggestion, share some contact info, and you've done it.

But unsolicited referrals like I've received mean that the referrer is thinking about me AND the people to whom they're referring me. It also means they've taken time out of their busy day to do something on behalf of others on their own volition.

That's special.

So special, it begs the question, WHY do people make referrals?

  1. They want to make a gift to their friends and colleagues.
  2. They want to show their affection to the person they are recommending.
  3. They believe it creates a win-win-win ; and
  4. It makes people feel great when they make a referral.

Marketer Dean Jackson says this about the power of referrals: “a referral serves the referrer as much as it serves as the beneficiary.” He calls that feeling “the social reward of referring.”

When you are lucky enough to receive referrals, here are a few important ways to recognize the graciousness and generosity:

  1. Always follow up quickly and professionally. Responding properly is the best way to honor the spirit of the referral and also prove that the referrer was right to refer you in the first place.
  2. If you're fortunate enough to get the job you've been referred for, always do the best job you can. Nothing confirms the and confidence of a referral better than knocking it out of the park on behalf of your mutual client.
  3. Say “thank you” quickly, repeatedly, and sincerely. Make sure both the referrer and the person you're referred to knows how appreciative you are of the act and the opportunity it provided.
  4. When possible, respond with unsolicited referrals of your own. Don't wait to be asked, demonstrate that your referrer is top-of-mind with you, too. And,
  5. Pay it forward. Don't just make referrals for the person who's helped you. Look for opportunities to spread their generosity far and wide.

The Power of Referrals

All of these points are important to demonstrate your appreciation and necessary to maintain the relationship. And it is worth maintaining. After all, imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but the most complimentary form is a referral.

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