Quid pro quo. Tit for tat. Even Steven. It’s the ideal. But we can’t always reciprocate when a referral source sends us a new client. Most of the time, we don’t have anything meaningful to send back to them at that precise moment, or they happen to offer a service that our clients don’t need. (Ever get a referral from a divorce attorney? It’s unlikely you’ll have a spontaneous referral to give in return unless your social circle resembles a reality show.)
It’s fine if it happens once or twice, but if you’re receiving referral number three from the same person and you still haven’t created a two-way street, it won’t be long before they start looking to replace you with someone who can reciprocate. After all, who wants to do business with a taker?
The obvious alternative is to be a giver and send them business. But it’s not always possible, and the last thing you want to do is send over a meaningless referral just so you can create the illusion of mutuality.
But there is a third alternative: be a receiver. A receiver is gracious. They go out of their way to spoil their referral sources. They send a generous gift to express their appreciation. They take the time to write a note of thanks on nice stationery and mail it as if it were the 80s. They update their referral source and let them know how the first meeting went. In other words, they make the effort to be of service—not just to their new client, but to the person who made the connection in the first place.
A taker sends over a quick email that says “Thanks”—if they’re not too busy, that is.
So, today I encourage you to think back on the last few referrals you received and nurture the originators. Go out of your way to make your referral sources feel valued. Be a pleasure to refer to. Write a belated note of thanks or send a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant. Because a receiver recognizes that a few thoughtful gestures go a long way toward repeat business. Authored by David Ackert