Being in business and networking for any length of time inevitably leads to referrals, and these are the best form of business leads to convert into clients. It surprises me at times how nonchalant some people can be about giving or receiving these recommendations, so here are three solid tips for exchanging leads:
- Get the Ball into Your Court. When someone is telling you about one of their contacts who needs your services, don’t just pass along some business cards and wait for the phone to ring. Pass on the business card, but get the name and contact information so you can initiate contact and ensure the initial conversation actually takes place.
- Reciprocate. Watch for opportunities to recommend the people on your contact list, and they’ll be more likely to recommend you, especially if they know you’re watching for opportunities on their behalf. If there are people you recommend often, it doesn’t hurt to have a few of their business cards around.
- Close the loop. Tell the prospect for your contact’s services that you’ll pass along their contact information and get your contact to call them. Obviously you then need to tell your contact about the recommendation you’ve made and be sure to pass along that contact info.
If you’re paying attention, you’ll see that these three tips are interrelated: they all have implications for giving and receiving a business lead, and they’re all to do with making sure the first contact is a “warm” call rather than a cold one, which leads to a higher close ratio. If you follow these practices with people to whom you pass leads, they’ll take the cue and follow them when passing business back your way. If they don’t, then try passing these tips along to them as well.