Are You Following Up With Referral Leads from Your Referral Group in the Best Ways Possible?

Christina Metcalf
Christina Metcalf
Published on 10/02/2023

As a veteran networker in a referral group, you know the importance of following up with referral leads. After all, your referral group members are putting their faith in you and lending their reputation/name to the referral they send you. When they pass on leads to you, you want to be appreciative but also assess how qualified they are quickly. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time—most of all your own.

Qualifying Business Leads

There are two types of qualifying actions you can take—research discovery and conversational discovery. So as not to waste anyone’s time, it’s best to start with research discovery. These are things you can do to qualify their business before you talk to the referral. If it’s a B2B lead, go to their website. See if your products or services appear to be a good fit for what they do. If they are, reach out to them.

For B2C customers, begin with a qualifying conversation to better understand their needs and decide if your business is a good fit.

In both cases, if you don’t appear to be a good fit, you should still reach out to them. You don’t want your referral group member hearing that you never reached out. Plus, you don’t know who the referral knows. You may not be a good fit for them but someone in their network might be. You want to be helpful but remember time is your most valuable commodity. Safeguard it accordingly and keep your interactions shorter when you know they aren’t a good fit.

Qualify business referrals as soon as possible because:

  1. It shows interest and professionalism. They’re expecting your call. If you don’t respond quickly, they will assume you don’t want the business.
  2. Your referring colleague will look good. The person who referred you is doing so because they think your business is a good fit for their referral’s needs. If you take a while to get back to the referral, that makes the referring colleague look bad and can impact their reputation.
  3. Ascertain good fits. You want to qualify a good fit because you want to get them into your sales pipeline. However, this also provides clarity on who your colleagues think is a good fit for your business. If the referral is not a good fit, let your colleague know why. Politely tell them why you couldn’t help. This will give them a better understanding of the types of referrals you want going forward. If you don’t tell them, they may keep referring that same type of person to you and you won’t be able to use any of their referrals.

After you research and qualify your B2B (or directly if you’re B2C), follow these best practices in qualifying potential customers.

  • Be prompt. The sooner you follow up with a referral lead, the more likely you are to get a response. Ideally, you should follow up within 24 hours of receiving the referral.
  • Personalize your message. Take the time to personalize your follow-up message to each lead. This shows you're not just sending out a generic sales pitch or response.
  • Offer value. In your follow-up message, offer to provide the lead with some value. This could be anything from a free consultation to a helpful article or video.
  • Make it easy to contact you. Include your contact information in your follow-up message. You want to ensure the lead can get in touch with you.

Here is an example of an initial follow-up message that you could send to a referral lead. For best results, personalize it based on your interaction or observation about their website/company.

Hi [Lead Name],

My name is [Your Name] and I'm a [Your Title] at [Your Company]. I was recently referred to you by [Referral Source Name], who is a member of my referral group.

I'm reaching out to learn more about your business and your needs. I'm confident that I can help you achieve your business goals, and I'd love to schedule a free consultation to discuss how.

In the meantime, here's a link to a helpful article on [Topic Relevant to Lead's Industry]: [Link to Article]

Please feel free to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or [Your Email Address] to schedule a consultation.

Best regards, [Your Name]

Bonus Note: If possible, call your referral. You’ll have a much easier time qualifying them as a possible good fit in a conversation than sending a long email asking them a lot of questions, which they likely won’t answer anyway.

Be a Good Referral Member

Another way to get more referrals in addition to a prompt follow-up is by:

  • Learning more about your fellow members and their businesses. This will help you better understand their needs and how you can assist them.
  • Sharing your expertise and knowledge with your referral group members. This will establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build trust with your fellow members.
  • Going the extra mile for your referral group members. While everyone is a part of the group for business referrals, sometimes members may need additional help in other areas that you may be an expert in. This could mean helping them set up a new website or giving advice on being a more dynamic public speaker. Information can be as valuable as a potential customer.
  • Being patient and persistent. It takes time to build relationships and generate leads from a referral group. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Use the same techniques you would socially to improve your relationship with members of your referral group. Go to coffee together. Get to know one another outside of the three-minute elevator pitch.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your referral group membership and generate more leads for your business. Plus, you’ll likely become a group favorite of your colleagues, which could lead to even more referrals in the future.

About the author

Christina Metcalf

Christina Metcalf is a writer who loves stories and specializes in assisting small businesses and chambers of commerce to tell theirs.


Please log in to leave a comment.