How to Avoid Poor Referrals

Who’s to blame when you receive a poor value referral – the type of referral that you really don’t rate? In many cases, it’s the person receiving the referral who is at fault because they have failed to educate their fellow BNI members as to what they want.

We have to be very, very specific in defining what a referral is for each of us as individuals. Interestingly, two members of the same profession might have differing views about what makes a valuable referral. Therefore, it’s important that chapters and membership committees don’t try to define what makes a good referral. Each member has to specify what they want.

For example, the following story was quoted in a recent BNI podcast from Dr Ivan Misner.

We actually had a great story at a local chapter. A local coffee shop joint. I loved it. I just happened to be visiting on this particular day. Someone from the chapter was handing over four or five referral slips for stopping by the coffee house. Chapter members are pretty protective of our members and they actually said something in the meeting, “That’s not a referral. You can’t do that.”

The owner of the coffee house actually stood up and said, “Now, wait a minute. He has an opportunity to go to Starbucks every day, every single day. Everyday, he stops at my place, pulls out his wallet and buys a cup of coffee. That’s a referral for me.”

Again, another restaurant or coffee house or what not may say every new customer or client. Whatever. But it’s really dangerous when a chapter tries to define what a referral is for us. It’s important to sit down and analyze. Here is what every chapter member can do immediately. Analyze what type of customers bring you the most money, right?

It’s really important that we take the time to figure out for ourselves what is a good referral, to define it, and then to reach out to the chapter and educate them on actually what it looks like. Set the bar on the referrals that you want, and that is what your chapter members will give to you.

Don’t forget, don’t make assumptions about other professions in your own chapter. If you are not real clear what a referral is, what level of referral they need, it’s a simple question. It works both ways.

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