Referrals Are Important: Why Not Manage Them Better

referralkey.jpgMany years ago my friend Jennifer Shaheen, Technology Therapist recommended that I consider a referral system of some sort. I didn’t think of her advice until now.
Like many business owners I refer many businesses to another business and make connections. However, for some businesses the base of their cash flow comes from referrals. Without referrals they are not in busieness.
There’s a service Referral Key that helps you manage your relationships and referrals. You might think Referral Key sounds vaguely familiar to LInkedIn but it’s quite a bit different. I interviewed Lewis Weinstein, founder, Referral Key about this.
Before I get into the interview, here’s a few things Referral Key can do:

  • Establish an online referral network to exchange referrals with business associates who already know and trust you
  • Track referrals to analyze relationships and increase reciprocity
  • Expand your network by gaining access to the network of your trusted associates
  • Create your profile to showcase your expertise for consumers and professionals
  • Advertise your business for consumers with links to major search engines
  • Allow consumers to rate and view the quality of your services to build credibility
  • Create promotion campaigns and track referral offers with your clients and peers
  • View member rating scores to learn more about professionals in your
  • network

Here’s the interview:
How does Referral Key work with or compete with Social Networking services like LinkedIn
1. Unlike other social or business networking sites like LinkedIn, which are focused on amassing a vast number of professional contacts, many times through several degrees of separation, Referral Key focuses on a pure platform of referral exchange, tracking and management within your own professional “circle of trust” – those who already know and trust you.
Also, networks like LinkedIn are based on asymmetrical relationships (you want to use a friend of a friend of a friend to contact a CEO about a job and he might agree to the favor out of courtesy), Referral Key is a platform that encourages referrals between members to drive revenue and build stronger professional relationships.
Many people sign up for LinkedIn and then don’t have a use for it. Referral Key is all about generating and exchanging business referrals – not building a network of people you don’t know.
Why use your service and not just pass leads the old fashioned way with a phone call? Email?
Sometimes the old fashioned way fails simply through human error. With Referral Key, the lead is a) pre-qualified and b) timely, and c) put into the hands of the service provider directly.
If I’m an accountant and my client Mr. Smith is looking for a financial advisor, in the old days I might have said, sure, Mr. Smith, call my friend Ramon Ray – I’ve known him for years and he’s a great advisor.
Mr. Smith may plan to make the call, but may lose the piece of paper and not get around to it or may actually find someone else in the meantime. Too bad for Ramon.
With Referral Key. there is a documentation of the lead so that Ramon gets an immediate email with Mr. Smith’s name and phone number, and I get the credit for sending Ramon the lead.
The system then tracks the referrals I have sent and received to Ramon – then automatically checks with both of us to determine if we feel the referral exchange is equal or if the relationship is unbalanced.
Plus with Referral Key, members can get professional and consumer ratings and create automatic promotion campaigns with associates.
End of interview
Pricing ranges from free to $19.95 per month – it can’t hurt to give it a try and see if you get a boost in your business through referrals.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

3 thoughts on “Referrals Are Important: Why Not Manage Them Better

  1. James Rawling

    I’ve been using Referral Key for about a month now. Its nice because I can focus on my clients while the system keeps me visible.
    I’ve recived a few referrals in the past two weeks and two of them lead to new business.
    I passed up two to other associates in my circle but I think that it was a wise move.

  2. Lauren Westford, Esq.

    Great blog. I actually heard about this site through an accountant I work with. We’ve already exchanged a few referrals between each other that resulted is new clients. What I like most about the site is that you can develop new referral opportunities by tapping into each others professional networks.

  3. Chris Burke

    Hi
    I’m a financial advisor and just read about this site in Investment Advisor and wondered if it is effective….it seems a bit like Lawlink, or that site for Real Estate Agents, but this one claims to serve multiple industries. I get a lot of referrals from CPA’s and the legal preofession, and if someone could link all these industries togehter – that would be a huge coup.

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