Which referral sources should you invest in for the future? Here’s how you find out: make a list of the referral sources who’ve sent the most business in 2014. Add to this list those other professionals who may have sent a little business but are well positioned to send more. Then list clients who refer significant business or have a great deal of recurring work. Focus your efforts on the individuals on this list.

To get started, examine your list to see whom you’d like to get to know better. While giving gifts is a great form of acknowledgement for some referrers, there is no substitute for time spent face-to-face with those you’d like to get to know. We encourage you to invite these referral sources out to lunch or dinner and express your appreciation for the business they send.

When face-to-face with them, your acknowledgement can be brief and simple. You can say something like, “I’ve been reviewing my referrals for the last year and want to let you know I appreciate all the business you send.” Or, “I really appreciate your continued faith and confidence in me. You’ve sent a lot of business this year and I appreciate it. I will always take good care of the clients you send.” These simple acknowledgements can be used in almost any setting. Our experience indicates that the best referral sources are usually those who become your friends. An expression of gratitude paired with good food in a nice atmosphere can go a long way to turn a referrer into a friend.

If you want to read more about how to do this, check out our article on holiday marketing from which this was excerpted.

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