When to Thank Someone for a Referral

Thanks for the referralReferrals in the sales world are the very best way to grow your sales book of business for many reasons. The first one is that if someone whom you respect refers you to work with someone else, nearly half the “work” in building trust has been done.

We give people attention who have been referred our way, because we know and trust the referrer. We listen more. We set up a time to talk with them sooner. We tend to be (not always) more open to what they are talking about. We decide quicker.

Referred sales opportunities come to closure much faster than ones created through standard prospecting.

Although referrals are the BEST way to grow your sales opportunities, most people do not have a process in place for an ongoing stream of referral business. It’s a conundrum for sure.

We will be pulling referral selling apart in upcoming posts here. For now let’s talk about when you should thank someone for a referral.


If you send someone my way because you think I can help them with the services I provide, I need to thank you RIGHT AWAY.


I don’t wait until they buy from me?

- NO.

- Why not?

We don’t need to wait to see if they do buy from me or not – all that really matters at this point is that YOU thought I may be able to help them, and sent them my way. It’s up to me now to build the relationship and see if our services fit for them.

So right away, I will send you a hand-written note, or a shout-out on a social platform where you “live”, or a GIF text or something that stands out and says THANKS.

Thank you regardless of what happens. Thanks for trusting me with your customer / buyer / friend / family member to allow for the conversation to happen.

The person who refers you one time can refer you again and again. That’s why it is important to have some sort of a process to reach out to these folks – your strategic partners or strategic referrers, and on a regular basis you contact them and see how you can support them.

They will think of you because you always think of them.

Yesterday I received beautiful flowers from someone I introduced to someone else because the first person is a keynote speaker and the second person hosts a conference that needs great keynoters. Turns out they hit it off and the person I recommended will be a headliner at their conference.

Because I love aromatic and abundant bouquets like this one, it did put a big smile on my face. That is certainly one way to thank a referrer. I’d be just as happy to have had a conversation instead that helps them learn who I would like to know or who I would like to be referred to.

It does not take money to thank and help others, it takes thoughtfulness. In my case, I love really beautiful flowers so I was thrilled – but don’t think you have to do this to show someone appreciation.

Follow what they are posting on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and see what they like. Find a quote you can turn into a graphic image through someone at Fiverr or yourself on Canva.


Write a note BY HAND. Yes, remember hand-written notes? Virtually no one receives them anymore. For me it is a competitive advantage to write them every week.

Finally, if you did NOT thank someone who referred someone your way, it is virtually never too late to do so, especially if you can do it in a visible way. More on that next.

How are you thanking people who are referring others your way? Share on LinkedIn and add my name so I can learn more about your referral business.


Lori Richardson  helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals. Develop Sales Leaders

email lori@ScoreMoreSales.com | My LinkedIn Profile | @scoremoresales | G+

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