What do you expect from a business referral?

By | January 14, 2015

SummaryAre your expectations too high, too low or just right and are you playing the networking ‘game’ in the proper way?

In the past I have posted articles on some of the DO’s and DON’Ts of business networking that include such favorites as ‘How To: Business networking done right!‘ and ‘A list of business networking DON’TS!

As someone who networks as an integral part of my client acquisition process, over the years I have had discussions with people whose businesses seem tailor-made for networking and yet who for some reason choose not to get involved in the exercise.

The businesses are such that a transaction involving their area of specialization might immediately be required by an end user or, if not, then most likely at some point in the future.

A prime example of this might be a criminal attorney specializing in traffic tickets or possibly a recruiter focused on a specific industry. With that in mind the reasoning for them not networking has always puzzled me.

In my particular case, where my business of providing title insurance for a real estate transaction is not necessarily well-suited to an immediate need, I typically require a much longer timeframe to acquire a client.

Hesitation To Network

Why can there be a hesitation to network? Perhaps it’s because those who don’t are unsure of the reasonable expectations that they should have as both a receiver of a business referral or some of the guidelines to be a provider of one.

Bottom-line? As Oscar Madison once said when referring to gambling, that ‘there’s no such thing as a sure thing’, I think that he would have definitely stretched that to include generating new business relationships as well!

That said, what are some of the reasonable expectations that one should have concerning referrals? Here is my understanding of the process when it works…

  • Never simply be the taker of referrals but look to be the giver as well,
  • First and foremost, all involved need to understand that a referral is NEVER a guarantee of closed business for the person receiving it. The referral is made in good faith, with the thinking that both sides will potentially benefit from meeting each other,
  • For those with the fear of never being in a position to make a referral, if we listen twice as much as we speak (ratio of ears to mouth), the concern of not being able to refer is misplaced,
  • A referral is simply an introduction to someone who the referrer feels will have synergies with the others business,
  • Knowledge of the people being referred to each other should exist by the referrer either through business that has been conducted, through the testimonials of others or through knowledge gained by a series of meetings,
  • Both sides of the referral, prior to it being made, should be aware that a referral is about to take place as well as of all the who’s, what’s and why’s,
  • Referrals through networking are typically not immediate but often take times to develop. In a world where patience can be at a premium, patience and work when networking is a necessity,
  • A referrer always needs to remember that the person who they are recommending is a reflection of themselves.

Other thoughts please leave them below.


Michael Haltman, President of Hallmark Abstract Service, New York.

HAS is a provider of title insurance in New York State for residential and commercial real estate transactions.

And, for anyone either buying a property or refinancing, remember that although your attorney will likely recommend a title insurance provider you always have the right to choose your own title company (click here to learn more)!

If you have any questions you can reach Michael by email at mhaltman@hallmarkabstractllc.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *