Based on my experiences, I am often asked to make referrals for others to people within my network, whether it is business or personal. Nonetheless, my thinking process for making any type of referral is synonymous. My goal is always to make referrals thatbecome lasting relationships; similar to the relationships I have with each person. Through my successes, I want to share a few guidelines for making effective referrals.
Understand The Ask.
What is the request? Is it a phone call? Is it a business opportunity? What are his/her expectations for the referral? Before you are quick to open up the door for this person, consider his/her goals of the request. You want to be sure that you are making an appropriate introduction that will benefit all parties. Making the right referral will strengthen your relationship with both parties, rather than feel like it wasted time for everyone involved.
Qualify The Request.
Does his/her request align with the mission and brand for the person of the referral? Is this an opportunity that the person of the referral would be interested in pursuing? Does the request match the expertise for the person of the referral? You should have criteria that will define the expectations of the request. For example, a technology firm may be more focused on opportunities with middle market companies rather than engaging with early stage start-ups.
Evaluate Your Relationship.
Review your relationship between you and the requester, and you and the referral. What is the reputation for both parties? Are both parties credible in their knowledge and personalities? Remember that when you are making an introduction, you are validating the integrity for both parties. You want to be able to translate the relationship you have with each party to establish a new connection.
In order to be successful, the expectations and characteristics for all parties need to align; therefore, creating strong, lasting relationships. And as I like to say, it’s a win (for the requester) – win (for the referral) – win (for me).