Several years ago, I was introduced to Bill, who lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area. Bill is a sales entrepreneur in a business aligned with mine. The person who introduced us determined that it would be good for the two of us to connect. We spoke on the phone and I autographed my book and sent it to him, but we never met in person. He receives my newsletters, but the last time we spoke was a year ago.

Then, just last month, Bill sent an email introducing me to his client who wanted to build a referral program for his sales organization. I figured this was a perfect time to pick up the phone and reconnect with Bill. As typically happens, there was a lot of news to catch up on, and Bill and I talked about new ways we could work together. He gave me insights into the person he had referred and also told me about that person’s company.

It was a winning conversation. We marveled at the fact that though we’d never met in person and the two of us hadn’t spoken in a long time, he still referred me.

How long does it take for someone to refer you? You just never know. So reach out. Stay connected. Make time for your contacts. You never know when a referral will spring up and surprise you.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com. © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.