It would be easy to claim that you have dozens of referral partners, but what percentage of these so-called partners are really valuable? How do you tell if the ones you rely on are indeed reliable?

Here are 3 ways you can tell if you are with the right people.

 No, your friends and existing customers are not the right referral partners.

 Why, because if they were, they would have known that you needed referrals – and given them even without an incentive. Besides, paying friends for any type of business-related favour may not be the best way to handle relationships with people who know your personal inner secrets (yes, financial woes too). The truth is, your clients and networking buddies are not necessarily your best referral sources.  They may not know of opportunities. They may not always remember you. They may not even understand what you do.Referral partners however, are different. They are non-competitive professionals serving the same market. They have an incentive to refer you.

 They movein the same circle with your ideal clients

 Professionals serving your market can be great referral sources for several reasons. Why? Because they know your market and are well connected with many companies you would be dying to penetrate. These people also are more likely to understand what you do and the type of clients you’re looking for. They recognise situations where your services are needed, and will therefore never think twice about referring you – most especially if you offer them an incentive – whether monetary, in kind, or though return referrals.

If they work round-the-clock to get you your referrals – even if you don’t remind them to

Probably the worse type of referral partner is one who merely takes, but never gives back. Someone who enjoys the fruits of your efforts, but never pulls his end of the rope. Someone you would need to remind that you two have a partnership – and someone who does not realise that it takes two to make any partnership work. If you’re carrying dead weight, it’s time to shop around. Pushing the eject button while you still have your sanity is always a good idea. No sense stressing yourself out because of a failed referral partnership. Remember that there are many fish in the ocean. You just need to work hard for victory.