Not all referral opportunities pan out. And there are two reasons why. This article explains those two main reasons.

2 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get That New Client

I want that new client. I need that new client. I am perfect for that new client. I deserve that new client. Dang! Why didn’t I get that new client?!

Unfortunately, not all referral opportunities pan out. And there are two reasons why.

Reason #1: Your Referral Source Didn’t Refer You

Ouch! Hinge Marketing asked referral sources to list the top three reasons “most likely to decrease the probability of referring a service provider.” The results:

52%—Absence of visible expertise

19%—No social relationship

15%—No professional relationship

  5%—Not leveraging traditional networking

  4%—Not reciprocating referrals

  3%—Not attending networking events

  3%—No social responsibility

  1%—Not asking for referrals

My Take: There is a big gulf between the top three and the bottom five reasons—to the point of saying let’s not waste our time on the bottom five activities.

There is also a notable divide amongst the top three reasons—to the point of saying let’s allocate most of our time to the first activity. So, let me remind you about visible expertise.

According to Hinge, “a visible expert is a professional who has attained high visibility in their marketplace as a result of their reputation for being an expert in their practice area.”

And the top factors that contribute to a professional’s visible expertise are that referral sources have: i) heard them speak, ii) read blog posts or articles they’ve written, iii) interacted with them on social media, and iv) read the book they authored.

So visible expertise essentially boils down to speaking, writing, and social media. Are you consistently and persistently doing these things to create that expertise for the audience of prospects who are the most likely buyers of the services you offer?

Reason #2: Though You Got Referred, the Party Didn’t Call You

Jilted! Hinge’s research found that nearly 52% of prospects rule out a referred service provider without even talking with them. That means the referrals you got, and the effort spent generating them, were wasted.

What went wrong? What factors are referral killers? Here is what the buyers said:

44%—I couldn’t understand how they could help me

33%—The material seemed more focused on selling than helping

31%—They didn’t seem to be a good cultural fit with my company

30%—Their website was not impressive

28%—They have a poor reputation

24%—Poor quality content

22%—They are not in our league

21%—Lack of industry knowledge

19%—I got the impression they were too expensive

18%—I never heard of them before

16%—They didn’t show up when I searched online

12%—Other people I talked to never heard of them

  9%—They received negative online reviews

  7%—They are not active on social media

My Take: The top reason for not landing that new client, even though we were referred, was a basic failure to communicate our services, expertise, or capabilities.

What’s the Lesson to be Learned?

The good news is that we can easily address deficiencies in visibility and expertise. We can bolster them by communicating our skills, knowledge, experience, education, and training across multiple channels—especially speaking and writing.

And take heart. Hinge reports that almost 82% of firms get referrals from people who have never worked with them before (mainly because of an expert’s speaking and writing efforts) rather than through existing clients. That almost makes up for the 52% of prospects who rejected us without even calling.

Everyone has a different idea of what a successful practice is. The practice you want is personal because it is based on what “successful” means to you. Rod helps practitioners focuses on the strategies, tactics, tools, and tech to build/grow/scale their versions of successful practices. If you want some help with that, e-mail Rod at

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