Defining What a “Lead” is in a Referral Group…

The question, “what qualifies as a referral lead” frequently comes up in referral groups.

Types of Leads
Generally there are two types of leads in referral groups…

1. Job Leads. A job lead is easy to understand. It’s an introduction to someone, who has expressed interest in learning about your services (most likely because they have a need), and who the person making the introduction knows, and has spoken to.

2. Business Development Leads. A business development lead is a little more abstract, but still relatively straight forward. A business development lead is an introduction to someone that has expressed interest in meeting with you because they’re may be business synergies (ie, the ability to refer each other, or help one another in some capacity).

Confirming & Qualifying Your Leads
While the “types” of leads are pretty straight forward, it’s ultimately up to the person receiving the lead to qualify it as, “a lead” or “not a lead”.

When you receive a lead from someone, you’ll get an email alert to pickup your lead online. When you do, always confirm receipt, and classify it accordingly (lead or not a lead). If you mark it as, “NOT a LEAD”, make sure to let the person who sent it to you know why it’s NOT a lead for YOU (you can do this in the confirmation message), so they can refine their targeting for you moving forward.

A Good Rule of Thumb to Use in Qualifying a Lead
Generally when I receive a lead from someone I look at two things in qualifying it (but remember these are my qualifications and yours may be a little different).

1) Are you connecting me with an an actual individual or person that YOU KNOW (not someone you read about or found online) and that you have talked to prior introducing me?

2) Do I feel the referral or lead you are providing fulfills a need or interest I have expressed to you (jobs or business development wise).


Update

9 September 2016

It’s worth elaborating on what we attempted to express in our original post, simply because it’s one of the most popular and recurring topics of discussion within our community.

We believe, and our group leader community concurs, that a lead can be confirmed as a valid referral when the following two conditions have been met.

  1. The prospective customer expresses a need and gives permission to be contacted
  2. The referring member provides viable contact information (phone and/or email)

We also believe the following, and again––our group leaders concur.  In order for a lead to confirmed as a lead:

  • The prospective customer does not necessarily have to do business with the member, so long as there was an opportunity at the time the lead was generated.  The referring member has no control beyond the point of giving the referral if the customer chooses another provider before speaking to the referred partner.
  • We have to be conscious as to the quality of leads that we give and those we receive, always reminding ourselves that we’re not submitting leads for the sake of showing participation. Yes we want to participate and add value, but we first and foremost need to always be thinking of adding value.
  • Another scenario, which can be agreed upon between members (1-to-1), is where you introduce a partner to someone that they have clearly identified as their ideal referral partner.  This type of introduction is one of potentially high valuable.

Referral leads have nothing to do with whether business is closed. Your partner will introduce you to useful prospects and contacts, but it’s up to you to turn them into business and growth.

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