A referral guide is nothing more than a three-ring binder or folder. The guide is not your marketing brochure, but a stand-alone kit that helps upgrade your process of asking for referrals. Use the guide in a face-to-face meeting with a top client, walking them through it at a reasonable pace. Your client keeps the guide, and can refer back to it when thinking of referring someone to you. Or, they may actually give it to that person. Even if it ends up sitting on a shelf, that’s OK, it will still have done its job! Include the following in your guide:

Calendar of events: Include a calendar with the date, time and location of upcoming events. This shows you are organized, you are part of the community and that you are a busy professional.

Team biography or marketing brochure: If you don’t already have this, you should develop one soon. Include a bio for everyone on your team, and maybe also others you don’t normally think of as part of your team, such as business coaches, valuable wholesalers, managers, etc.

Introductory letter to the referral from you: This sample letter should include a simple opening of introducing yourself, telling the referral where you got his name, your history with that client, and an “action step” in which you invite the referral to a meeting or upcoming event.

Referral questionnaire: With the help of your client, try to get as much information as possible about the referral before the initial contact. Some clients may be reluctant to reveal much information about a friend, so be relaxed and satisfied with what you get.

The ideal client profile: This one-page description lets your client know the prospective referrals you are looking for. For example, if you are giving it to a business owner, you might want to focus on entrepreneurs or other people he is likely to know.

Supplies: Be sure to include a small supply of business cards in the guide. Don’t just put them in the side pocket; get a nice card case or holder.

–From “Referrals: The Professional Way” by Frank Maselli.

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