Sounds a bit hokey… yes… but we’re going to explain what a circle of trust is and why it’s essential to the attitude you need to have when it comes to leveraging your referral network and achieving zen in the world of referral marketing.

What is the circle of trust?

The circle of trust is something that occurs between a network of partners. It can occur between business people who refer leads to one another. When you provide a referral you are giving an active endorsement of a product or service to someone else. You are saying “I personally vouch for this individual and what they do. You’ll be in good hands”. The person who you’ve referred the lead to is in a position where if they don’t take that referral seriously and end up providing an unpleasant experience for that prospect, this will reflect badly on you and will probably end any and all potential engagement with the lead.

Sometimes these situations are unavoidable and you certainly can’t make everyone happy but the long and short of the circle of trust is that you need to feel like the leads you are referring to your network are in good hands and vice versa. You need to fall backwards with your eyes closed and know that your referral network is going to catch you. This is an essential element of successful referral marketing.

As a business owner, you have values and priorities that will require an act of God to change. I affectionately refer to these as your business fundamentals. They define your philosophy and your approach to operating. These can include things like a commitment to excellence in customer service, responsiveness, a high degree of professional integrity, or a commitment to honesty and transparency. People apply these values as a measure to customers and achieve various successes — including and most frequently, trust. Sadly, most people don’t apply these same values to their referral sources.

The reason?

Because most people view their lead sources as temporary go-betweens. The lead they give to you has the potential to create a benefit — and if handled properly it will — but the source is generally seen as a brief presence in the mix which essentially serves one purpose. Wrong. Your referral source may not be engaging you as a client but they’re providing you with them. In order to create that circle of trust you need to treat your referral sources the same way — maybe even better — than the new customers you receive. You need to assure them that any customers they’re sending you will be treated great whether they decide to do business with you or not and if they do, you’ll be keeping in mind that their experience with you will reflect on where they came from.

Tips? Suggestions? Things that are working for you that you’d like to share? We wanna hear’em.