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There is a recipe for getting more referrals. Of course, like any great recipe, there seems to be a secret ingredient. I am pretty big on analyzing things to see what it is that truly makes a difference, so I applied this to referrals. I like to go back and look at the referrals that I have given in the past, and I especially hone in on those relationships that enabled me to give consistent and regular referrals. At first, I had some difficulty figuring it out; what was that key factor that enabled me to give referrals?

In fact, I quit looking for the key factor that allowed me to give referrals, and then focused, instead, on similarities between the individuals to whom I referred. I still couldn’t pinpoint a common factor.

I finally switched my thinking. For years, I have made the statement, “We make decisions based on our emotions and justify them using logic.” So, what was the emotional difference? What was it that made these referral experiences different?


Yes, you read that correctly. The one commonality was FUN. In every instance of repeated and consistent referrals, I enjoyed giving the referral. The person to whom I was referring had made it fun to refer them.

How can you make yourself fun to refer to?

1. Make it easy.

Making yourself fun to refer to is different for each professional. A great first step is to make it easy. Your referral partners should find it easy to refer clients to you. This would include everything from passing relevant information to the referral to getting potential clients in touch with you. Constant communication, using a cell phone or via different instant messaging technologies, is now the accepted standard.

Being easy to do business with may seem very evident, but it isn’t. We all think we are easy to do business with. To get a good understanding, we have to look at why people aren’t doing business with us, and sometimes that can be a bit painful but well worth the pain.

2. Be a joy to do business with.

You may think I am just talking about customer service here; you would be wrong. What I am talking about transcends customer service. This concept is one that is really difficult for me to put into words, so I am going to give an example. I have known many realtors and referred a few. One who I have referred often is the one to whom I referred a complex listing. The property was part of an estate and that added an additional layer of complexity to the transaction. After everything was said and done, multiple members of the family told me to know how wonderful it was to do business with Donna. She had made the transactions enjoyable and she had assumed the burdens involved. There was more to the story; she had formed a relationship with them. When she dealt with them, they felt like they were dealing with a friend.

3. Reward your referral sources.

When I started this post, I had no idea how much detail I would want to add to the three steps I would list. In fact, each of these three steps could be chapters unto themselves, but I want to keep this brief. Good rewards are not cash incentives. There, I said it. The best rewards for referrals are personal: something that makes a referral source wants to give you a referral again. A long time ago, I referred quite a bit of business to a mortgage broker. She was so grateful for the first referral that she took me out to lunch. That became the reward. Every time I referred a client, we went to our favorite Italian restaurant for lunch. I got to know her better and learned about her husband, child, dog, etc. She got to know more me and why I was sending clients her way. Our relationship grew and  I truly enjoyed referring to her.

Let’s all have some fun.

Happy Networking,