Replying to business referrals
May 24, 2011 7:59 PM   Subscribe

A colleague has given me a business referral. How do I phrase this when I contact the person?

This is what I have so far: "You were referred to me by [colleague]. My business is in [description]. How can I help you? Please let me know if you are interested in my services. Let's set a meeting."

Is there another way to sound more, er, for lack of a better word, graceful? I am aiming for professional (but not too formal), friendly (but not too casual).
posted by pleasebekind to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How are you contacting this person? Phone, email, linked in?

Either way, that's a bad pitch. It's bald sales. That is not what you want because people hate being sold to, especially cold. You want warm the relationship; your approach is way too pushy.

Hi John, I was referred to you by Sam Doe who thought we might have some overlap. I'm in accounting/sex toys/art and work with clients in the IT/Aerospace/engineering field, so I'd love to chat with you when you have some time.

If this is an email, it may be ignored but you can follow up with a phone call, which will now not be cold. You don't want to sell him because while he may not be ready to buy, he may be able to refer you to someone else. It has to be friendly before it's business.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:12 PM on May 24, 2011

I think normally, colleague would do this by sending an email to person and CCing you.

"Hey [person], I remember not too long ago, you were saying that you were having trouble with [your services]. I was just talking to pleasebekind and it sounds like there might be a fit. If you are still looking for help with [your services] you guys might want to chat...

Take care,
posted by milqman at 8:13 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: To clarify: am not in a hurry to make business; I just want to make contact and keep the connection while it's still there. My colleague previously worked with the person, and heard that she's in need of services similar to what I do, so I was given her number. I guess for now my aim is to let her know that I exist, and should she be interested, I'm happy to meet up with her whenever she's free.
posted by pleasebekind at 8:32 PM on May 24, 2011

Best answer: DarlingBri has the correct phrasing in terms of the placement of the pronouns (i.e. the proper way to introduce yourself to a referral is to say "I was referred to you" not the other way around).

After reading your follow-up comment, I would just go with a casual email, something along the lines of...

"Hi Jane Doe,

I'm pleasebekind and I was referred to you by John Smith.

John told me how much you enjoy the smell of freshly mown grass. He encouraged me to contact you because I recently opened my own lawn care service after ten years as a professional mowing and raking consultant.

If I can be of any assistance to you, please let me know.


[business address]
[business phone]
[cell phone]"

posted by amyms at 10:08 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

"So-and-so suggested that I should contact you" works, too -- you don't necessarily have to use the word "refer".
posted by redfoxtail at 11:32 PM on May 24, 2011

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