Close Close

Practice Management > Building Your Business

5 common mistakes that discourage referrals

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. 

One form of referral insanity is using outdated methods. Managers and trainers often teach what worked for them, but only produce mediocre results in this new world where we need to blend the analog side of referrals with the digital side.

Getting referrals is simple, but not always easy. There are five insanely common and easy-to-make mistakes that so many people are making in their efforts to boost referrals and introductions. Here’s what not to do:

1. Not being as referable as you think you are

Are you referable? How do you know? You’re getting referrals without asking for them. Do notice when your prospects and clients make value-recognizing statements, so you can leverage the value you bring into introductions to others?

After a live session an advisor said to me, “My clients love me, but they’re not giving me any referrals.” We went through the three main stages of client relationships to make sure he was covering all the bases. Long story short, he’s now in therapy trying to deal with the fact that he’s not as referable as he thought he was.

2. Not seeing the opportunities right in front of you

Do you bring confident awareness to asking for referrals and introductions? Are you confident in the work you do and the value that you bring to your prospects and clients? If not, that should be your first priority of business.

Are you aware of all the opportunities right in front of you on a regular basis? When your prospects and clients mention other people in their lives, do you pay attention? Do you get curious? Do you explore the possibility of being introduced to them? You don’t want to be obnoxious, but you don’t want to miss opportunities either.

Focus on customers referrals


Focus your referral marketing efforts on your clients rather than yourself. (Photo: iStock)

3. Not using a client-centered process

I’ve been teaching my system for 25 years. Apparently, I still haven’t gotten my message out to everyone. People are still trying to grow their business by focusing their referral marketing efforts on themselves.

You will be much more effective at getting referrals if you help your clients identify people who need to know about them and collaborating to identify people who deserve to make an educated decision.

4. Not coming prepared to collaborate in a focused manner (winging it)

Without question, the most prevalent mistake I see that prevents people from getting referrals is not helping your potential referral source identify specific people or categories of people who should know about their value. This manifests as the overly broad question: “Who do you know who I can help?”

Please, please, please don’t wing it and throw open the entire universe to them. Come prepared with specific people you know that they know, and/or categories of people to help your sources visualize people in their mind’s eye.

5. Not receiving referrals properly

Do you have a well-defined process that you follow every time you get a referral? If not, you could be hurting your chances of getting additional referrals from your referral source. Following specific steps for processing the referrals you receive will create an opportunity to generate even more referrals.

These are not the only mistakes people make, but if you can master these simple aspects of the referral process, you’ll be on your way to the right habits that produce great results — for you and the people to whom you bring your value.

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

Join us and Like us on Facebook.


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.