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First things first: if you give a referral, make sure to follow up with the member to confirm that you gave them a good referral. Don’t assume that it was solid, follow up and make sure.

When you receive a referral, make it your highest priority to respond. It’s important to show that you know what you’re doing and that you have a high degree of professionalism. Don’t just provided the expected product or service, exceed the expectations.

Make it a priority to thank members who give you referrals. You can do this by a thank you note, a phone call or e-mail. Don’t wait until after the sale, thank them right away. Acknowledge the trust that the member showed in you.

Remember: a referral is not a guaranteed sale. It is an opportunity to make a new connection who you can tell about your product(s) or service(s). The referral is only half of the transaction, you still have the convert the referral into a sale. Sales skills are essential here. But, at the same time, a warm introduction (referral) from a member of the group will make the conversion much easier. In many cases, the person is ready to hire you before you even meet up with them, based upon the referral from someone they trust.

Being good at sales is important. Get good at sales if you are not. However, sales isn’t something you do TO someone; rather, it is something that you do FOR someone. If you believe your product or service will help solve a problem they are having, tell them how. And you should do fine.

What do you do if a problem comes up? Fix it. Whatever it takes. You don’t have a more important client than one someone referred to you. It’s not just your reputation on the line, but theirs as well. Take care of them. Do everything with integrity and professionalism. Make them a happy, successful client. But above all, communicate clearly. No hidden charges, no unexpected exceptions, no bait-and-switch.

Above all, be ethical, or the group may never refer to you again. It takes months to build your reputation and just one mistake to damage it.

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