Referrals: How Do You Say Thank You?

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thank-you-giftYesterday, I posted about the power of referrals and how you can encourage clients to refer you to others. While offering incentives – monetary payments, free services or discounts – can entice and thank your clients at the same time, they’re neither ideal nor appropriate in every situation. So, how can you thank your clients for taking the time and making the effort to refer you to others?

Send a Good Old-Fashioned Thank You

I’m a big proponent of hand-written, personal thank you notes. As one of the most traditional ways to say thank you, I find it kind of sad that not that many people take the time to do this anymore. I know many of us are driven by e-mail and appreciate the immediacy of it, so we tend to shoot off a quick thank you message immediately. While acting fast is great, there’s still no reason why you can’t follow-up with a real thank you note. A hand-written note can express your gratitude to the recipient in a way they will likely appreciate and not get from any other format.

Give a Gift of Appreciation

Depending on the type of referral you’ve received, you may want to send the referrer a gift of appreciation. As long as there is not an issue with the client accepting gifts (this may be an issue if you are working with a large corporation or government organization), sending a thank-you gift is a great way to say thanks. It can be something simple like a box of chocolates or a gift basket, or you can send something that shows the type of relationship you have with your client and how well you know them – tickets to a sporting event or even a bottle of their favorite wine.

And don’t forget you can also make a donation to your client’s favorite charity instead of giving them a gift directly.

Take Them Out

If you live in the same area as your client and typically deal with them face-to-face, taking them out for lunch or dinner is always an option. In fact, if the new client they referred to you is also in the same area, you can plan a meal with both parties. This can be a great way to not only say thanks, but to also facilitate potential business development opportunities.

Return the Favor

Perhaps the best way to say thanks for a referral is by doing the same for your client. Keep an ear out for contacts that could benefit from a connection with your client and be ready and willing to provide a referral.

Make Your Thank You Public

While there are certainly situations when you will want to keep the referral between you and your client, sometimes going public is a good option. Tweet about the referral, add the client to a Partners page on your web site, send a message out to your e-mail list, or offer a reciprocal link on your web site. This not only increases the visibility of your client, but shows other clients how much you appreciate referrals.

However you decide to thank your clients for their referrals, make sure you do it right away. This is definitely one action you want to make a priority and not put off to do later. Also, keep in mind the type of referral you’ve received, and make your thank you relative in size, cost and time spent. It makes sense to have different ways of saying thank you for different types of referrals.

How do you thank your clients for referrals?

Image credit: Steve Woods

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  • http://www.historycommons.org/ Black Max

    Some people will sneer at this post, but I’m glad you made it. I’m from the southern part of the US, and some of us still value old-fashioned courtesy. In fact, we’re a bit shocked when it isn’t extended. You can lose a client very, very fast by merely omitting the courtesies, and that includes a proper thank-you. It’s been my experience that a lot of people — not just code warriors and such, but people in general — lack some fundamental social skills, and behave in a fashion that they believe to be straightforward and acceptable, but is often perceived by others to be cold, sarcastic, and rude.

    So, thank you for an enlightening post!

    Side note: I have it on good authority that nothing is quite as effective as a thank-you note accompanied by a basket of chocolate-covered strawberries.

  • Bestpublisher

    Mmm..
    This is very useful, but sometimes you just don’t have the time to do that, but It will help you grow the business as you said.

    thanks.

  • Shahriat Hossain

    Not bad :)

  • http://www.historycommons.org/ Black Max

    sometimes you just don’t have the time to do that

    IMO, it is essential to make the time. Even one minute spent expressing your appreciation counts for a great deal in people’s perceptions.

  • http://web-content-designer.com Shyflower

    I find it difficult to believe that someone doesn’t have the time to say “Thank You”. If you have the time to accept the referral, do the project, collect the payment, you should be able to take five or ten minutes more to show some gratitude. Additionally one thank-you can mean the difference between more opportunities to be grateful and no opportunities to say “thanks” in the future.

  • http://www.google.com KonstantinMiller

    I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.