Acquiring referrals is a topic that gets a lot of attention. But what do you do after you get that referral? Do you have a process to ensure you actually get in front of your prospect?

Below is what we call the Red Zone referral process. It has been used by many of our clients to successfully convert referrals into sales.

  • A referral is received from a client with a name and contact information.
  • Within 24 hours, an advisor reaches out via phone or email to the referred party to request a phone or in-person appointment. This information is emailed to an assistant.
  • The assistant adds the new contact to the advisor's database. Entering the information into the database triggers the next step.
  • The assistant prepares a referral note or gift to send to the person who made the referral. This should include a personal note from the advisor. Entering this information into the database triggers the next step.
  • Within 24 hours after the advisor call, the assistant calls to follow up and schedule a call or appointment. The assistant calls two times per week until the contact is reached. Here's an example of the assistant's script:
  • "Hi, I'm calling for _____________. You were referred to us by _____________. [Advisor] said he reached out to you and is looking forward to talking for a few minutes. He asked me to follow up to see if I could get a quick call time scheduled for the two of you to make introductions. Would sometime next week work?"
  • Entering this information into the database triggers the next step:
  • The advisor calls or emails the person who made the referral to thank her and inform her of the progress in reaching the referred party. Make this call every week (or some other regular period of time) so that this person knows you care about this and are "on it." Continue until the referred party decides whether or not become a client.

It is a simple process but has been proven to work. What is your process to make sure you convert those referrals you have worked so hard to acquire?

Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to

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