Though we live in a modern, fast-paced society, spend a lot of time communicating via text message, email and social media, and are extremely pressed for time, there is NO substitute for grace and expressing your appreciation in business.

This is especially true when it comes to thanking those individuals who support your business efforts. To honor the relationship and encourage ongoing referrals, it’s important that you make the time to stay in touch with them and offer a heartfelt thank you.

One of the reasons it can be challenging to do this, despite the best of intentions, is because service professionals are usually not nearly as organized as they should be with their marketing efforts. So, if thanking someone who has referred business to you (or otherwise extended a helping hand in growing your business) is not on your radar, it’s not likely that you’ll follow-up as you need to.

In order to develop and maintain these potentially lucrative relationships, it’s important that you have systems in place to stay in touch. Here are a few tips on how you can do just that:

  1. Systematize your efforts: Send a monthly letter to your referral partners to let them know what’s new in your business. Share a quick tip, articles from your blog, highlight any new services that you’re offering and let them know that you’re available to help them and their network.
  2. Be sure to promptly follow up (within 48 hours) on ANY leads that you receive: This will show off your professionalism and make it more likely for the new leads to hire you.
  3. Promptly send a thank you gift to the referrer to express your appreciation: Your sign of gratitude will go a long way to make a big impression with the referrer and likely encourage them to send more business your way.
  4. Spend at least 15 minutes each week referring business to someone else: You’ll be seen as a Connector and will stay top of mind amongst your referral circle.
  5. Create a Power Partner circle by connecting with complementary service professionals:  Meet weekly (or monthly) with the specific purpose of referring leads to one another. Since you help the same target market in different ways, you’re not only helping each other, but you’re helping your clients as well.

Don’t leave nurturing your referral partnerships to chance. Give it your focus and attention! Create an action plan for this week:

  1. Schedule time on your calendar to send a letter to your referral partners each month that updates them on what’s new in your business and how you can help them and others in their network. Set a reminder using your project management system or to do list software so that you won’t forget.
  2. Select a thank you gift that you’ll send to your referral partners and plan how and when you’ll send that gift. Planning ahead will make it easy to implement when you get your next referral.
  3. Look for opportunities to refer your clients or contacts to other professionals. Spend 15 minutes each week connecting the people you know with others who can help them.
  4. If you don’t have a Power Partner circle, it’s time to start one! Make a list of other professionals that are targeting your ideal client in different ways. Reach out and explain the benefits of being Power Partners. Share your ideal client profile and educate your partners on EXACTLY what to look for so that they know which individuals need your services.

It’s far too easy these days to forget about gratitude and kindness. You can set yourself apart from your colleagues by going the extra mile to stay in touch with your referral partners and showing your appreciation for the support that they offer. You’ll see the difference as your business grows by leaps and bounds! 

I’d love to hear your ideas on how to express appreciation for individuals in your referral circle. Please share your thoughts below to inspire me and others in our community!