What is the difference between a lead and a referral?

Often times in our meetings.  I will hear someone ask for a specific contact.  I love it when people are specific.  You are much more likely to get a referral.

I recently heard a member in a group in ask for a specific introduction to a real estate broker that they wanted to meet.  One of the members said, “I know them.  I’ll give you their contact info.”  That isn’t a referral.  We can find that info with a quick google search.

I loved what the potential receiving member did next.
-He walked over and graciously said, “Thank you for thinking of me.  Do you mind warming this up for me? I’ll show you how.”  They then explained why they’d like to meet this real estate broker and provided the member with a brief script on what to say that they could send in a call or text.

Let’s break this down.
1- Initially this was a lead.  Basically a cold call.  No better than a cold call, but showing the member how to warm it up it has the potential to turn into a referral.
2- The receiving member said “Thank you”.  Always show appreciation when someone is trying to help you.
3-  The receiving member showed them how to try to warm this up.  Your job when you are asking for a referral is to make it easy for us to tee you up in conversation.  I’m a big fan of brief scripts that people can use on my behalf.  Make it easy for others to ask.
4- I would’ve been reluctant to make the call in this scenario when it wasn’t warmed up.  Why?  Because it is barely more than a cold call and I would’ve made the call, but I wouldn’t have been excited about it because my experience says that those usually don’t work.

In this case it isn’t a referral yet, but it does have a much better opportunity to turn into one.  Also, at the next meeting in the referral section there would be good educational dialog about how this worked out.  Everyone will learn from it.  We’ll learn more about how to effectively tee up referrals and that process itself will only make the group stronger.

Referral= someone who is in the market for your service and/or product  and you have permission to contact them.  This is important. A referral often comes with a stamp of approval and trust.
Lead= a name and contact info.  They usually have no idea who you are and why you are contacting them.