In contrast to previous article titled “Why Do Referral Efforts Fail”, how can we turn these shortfalls around? How can we put ALL the pieces together to generate an ongoing stream of referrals? Here are the 4 keys to referral success…

You need to have around 12 “core” centers of influence and about 100 potential centers of influence. The core COI’s are the ones you’ll take to lunch regularly. The others are people you are working to develop a relationship with. Two good ways to increase your core centers of influence are to attend networking events and to ask your current core COI’s for suggestions.

This key to referral success focuses on the need to have REGULAR contact with your COI’s. This may be in the form of lunches, cards, emails, voicemails, or letters. It is ONLY by regular contact that you will create a stream of referrals. (Feel free to contact me about automated solutions.)

Stop using a “vanilla” message. Work on developing a message that sets you apart from everyone else out there and gives people a reason to remember you. By the way, an excellent way to set yourself apart is to develop a niche.

This is the key that almost everyone misses. In order to create a reliable stream of referrals, you need to make “deposits” into the relationship (emotional) bank account of each of your referral sources. You need to take the time to get to know them, find ways to add to the relationship, and create an impression with each of your sources. Although this takes some work up front, once the foundation is set, it’s easy to sustain.

In summary, the four keys to referral success are to work with 12 or more centers of influence, implement a systematic way to stay in touch, differentiate yourself from everyone else, and build a connection with each center of influence. If you take the time to get each step right, you will become one of the few professionals who grow their business strictly by referrals.

Author's Bio: 

Written by Michael Beck, “Head Zookeeper” at, a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:
Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.