There is quite a big difference between a referral and a lead. Understanding the difference can with your follow up process as they are both treated differently. Before we get into the process, let's break down what the difference is between the two.
A lead is usually cold. What this means is that you do not have a relationship with the person who gave the lead to you, so it will take more work - usually - to earn the sale. Leads are usually given through paid lead sources or even a hard leads group.
Etiquette tip; When receiving a lead from a leads group - always ask permission to use their name when contacting the individual. This will help so the referrer doesn't think you are name-dropping just to get the sale.
A referral is from someone that you have a relationship with, like a COI. When I give a referral I like to do email introductions with both attached. This way it's like a virtual handshake. You can affirm the person you are referring as well as the other way around. What an opportunity!
There are also a couple different types of referrals. Some referrals are given from a relationship that might be a bit newer - they are testing you to see how your follow through is and the response from the person they referred you to.
Another referral is when someone refers from their inner circle; their close friends and family. If this happens, you know you are doing something right! Way to go! Granted, depending on your industry and what you sell, this could take a longer period of time.
Now that you see the difference between the two; the process for following up can be quite a bit different. Check out my next post to see the best process both time and etiquette-wise for referral and lead follow up.
Yours In Success,
PS. Check out my post on how to get limitless leads! Make it happen!