As I write this my wife and I are incredibly blessed to be expecting our 2nd child (she is doing most of the work). During our pregnancies, we have relied on the experience of our OB/GYN practice. The practice has been great, except they struggle communicating to each other and to us, their patients. Our appointments are filled with “like we told the last doctor….” ,“the last doctor said this…” and “remember when we spoke about this….”. I only have 4.5 years of post high school education, but I would think simple note taking and internal conversions could solve this problem, right?

Salespeople make the same mistakes when they are networking. Many one to one’s are filled with repetition of previous meetings. You should only have to tell your referral partner about your marital status and your favorite football team once! But let’s be honest, people have a tendency to forget. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to have an info sheet about yourself and company to hand out in meetings (or better yet a digital copy). When 2nd and 3rd one to one’s come around, your referral partner can reference this information before meeting with you.

Each follow up one to one should include a review of what you discussed in the previous meeting. Next, outline what each party wants to cover in the meeting and how you can build upon what you have already discussed. Ongoing one to ones should be filled with these types of questions/comments:

  • I have a good contact at (insert company name), would that be a good fit for you?
  • How do you want me to introduce you to (insert company name)?
  • Give me an update on the last referral that I gave.
  • I have a meeting coming up with (insert company name) do you have any history with that company.
  • (Referring to a referral that worked out) Let’s dive in as to why that referral worked, why did (insert company name) do business with you? What other companies might be in the same position?
  • (Referring to a referral that did NOT work out) Should I have made a better introduction? Why were you not a good fit? How can we get you in better positions to succeed?

As you can see these questions are a deeper dive into a referral partner relationship. For your “high alignment” partners, you should be meeting frequently (monthly to quarterly). You should be able to get to know these individuals so well you can almost sell for them!

Like a physician practice, you may work within a team at your company. Learn from the mistakes of our OB/GYN and have one person be the main point of contact. If the main point of contact cannot be at a one to one, make sure that individual is fully versed on previous discussions and expectations going forward.

Referral pipelines dry up when there is a lack of trust. Trust is developed from effective communication. Following the recommendations in this post can help you build trust and garner more referrals.