People do not refer business to you for three simple, profound reasons: You don’t communicate, you don’t follow up and you’re lacking integrity.

I know it sounds harsh and judgmental, and I know you are saying “not me.” Well, you might want to put your defenses and excuses down and take a moment to ground, get centered and be open to deep exploration.

We have all been guilty of some or all of the above. How we justify it is based on the degree of severity. I didn’t reply to that email “right away,” you might tell yourself. Oh really? What is YOUR definition of right away? Or maybe when you did follow up, it was with qualifiers, justification and excuses.

Recently we hit the trifecta on this. We hired a world-renowned digital and funnel marketer. She has written books, has followers on social media in the thousands and has collected reviews from founders of BIG (HUGE) companies about how she singlehandedly got them to the seven-figure revenue mark. So naturally, after two discovery calls, we fell in love with her infectious energy, ability to connect and unwavering vow to get us to the promised land with consistent weekly communication. As a HIGH follow-through on the Kolbe scale, quality time on The Language of Appreciation Assessment and Collaboration on The StrengthsFinder 2.0, consistent communication and feedback is a must for me. One of the things we insisted on in the contract was a one-hour weekly strategy call. It was April 15 when we signed the “made my heart stop” contract and FedExed the hefty retainer. Go live was scheduled for May 15.

With September gone, we had yet to launch. We had to chase her down every week to ask, “Where are we at? When can we get our weekly strategy call?” Crickets. And then, days later, we would get an email (anywhere between midnight and 4 a.m.) with a varying passive-aggressive response like, “It’s in there, are you not looking in the right section?”

Trust us, her work is beautiful. Genius, actually. But the heartache of working with her caused us to pull the contract and fire her, which is hard as a business owner. What is worse, however, is that we will never refer her. Ever. In fact, we will go out of our way when someone asks us for a funnel specialist to specify, “Just make sure you do not go with x.”

On the flip side, we sent a request to our web developer to update something on our website. He replied with “No problem, 1st thing tomorrow morning.” When we walked into the office, we had an email from him overnight that said, “I woke up at 1 a.m. with food poisoning, I am unsure if I will be able to get to the changes I promised so I am just going to say, I cannot get to them today and I will update you tomorrow on my status. If this is going to be a trouble, contact my colleague X at XXX-XXX-XXXX and he will help you today. I already checked and he is available to do so. Sorry for any troubles and thank you for understanding.”

Wow.

Sure, everyone wants to say, “Marketing people … aggh!!!” But I know plenty of attorneys and small business owners who operate in the same fashion. The client is calling to see when the documents will be ready, following up on the status of their insurance claims, scheduling their appraisals, etc. You get the drift.

Sadly, this happens more often than not. So if you want to ensure that you not only have raving fans but raving fans who refer over and over, here are three strategies for getting CONSTANT referrals:

  1. Communicate: Never put your clients and referral sources in the compromising position of having to chase you down to get an update. Let them know right off the bat, “We know how frustrating it is to work with professionals and have to chase them down for an update on your file. Here is what makes us different from anyone else you have worked with: Every Monday, we set up ongoing tasks to send an update to all clients who have work in progress – and if they were referred to us, copy the source. The average business has 40 open files at any given time, so this will take about 60 minutes (we have tracked it). Sometimes the update is no update: “Still waiting on XXX.” But this will go a LONG way. The root of all anxiety (and frustration) is lack of information.
  2. Follow up: Designate a person on your team as the “Julie McCoy” cruise director; “Any question or concern you may have (phone call or email) is to come directly to Julie, as she facilitates all internal requests that need a response. Trust us, you don’t want to contact me, as I am in meetings all day, and it may be days before you get a response from me. We pride ourselves in Julie’s valuable position to make certain you get a response within 48 hrs.”
  3. Integrity: Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. And if you cannot keep your word, see No. 1. Most people are avoiders and don’t have the bravery to come clean and admit they are behind on deadlines and promises. We are all human. Missed deadlines and promises are not what get us into trouble. And justifying them after the fact definitely does not get us out of trouble. What gets us in trouble is when we know damn well we cannot do what we just said we could do or deliver on it by the time we say we will. This will always, always hurt you tenfold in the long run.

When you look at it this simply, there is no reason not to implement these three strategies today, other than “I don’t know how.” If you are struggling with how to put the above plan in place logistically (and with how to afford it, if you need to hire someone), we have the perfect resource for you AND your team members.  Just click here now to discover the Team Empowerment Academy, your one stop resource to run your business with an empowered team. 

Molly Hall