Finding The Right Referral Team

by Steven Zyskowski

Do you count on referrals to grow your business?  It is my personal conviction that every great, “main-street” salesperson and/or small business owner should seek out and become a part of an active referral passing team.

By “main-street”, I’m talking about the core business providers in a local community.  Like real estate agents, attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, website designers, skin care professionals, computer repair professionals, day care providers, carpet cleaners, handymen, electricians, etc. … the basic business service providers who will always be around, in a good economy and bad.

The benefits of belonging to a successful business referral team are countless, far beyond the financially obvious one. The trick is in finding a great one in your local market, as many will fall short of expectations.

The purpose of this exploration is to help you determine if the referral team you are considering belonging to, or starting up, has the proper foundation in place for it to consistently deliver the goods (referrals) for its members over the long haul.


Prior to setting out to create great referral teams as a passion and profession, I took the opportunity to reflect on my personal experiences. This allowed me think things through very carefully, as I laid out the initial framework for my foundational formula. The questions I pondered:

• Who are the right types of people that will succeed on referral teams?
• Why is it that some referral teams perform at high levels for a period of sustained time while others fade out and break up?
• Is there a tipping point between “ok/great and “ok/bad” referral teams?
• Why do some referral teams seem cliquish or political?

I discovered all great referral teams shared four common traits. Once the discovery was made, it was used as a guiding force as I set out to build my own referral teams.