Getting referrals for your credit union or bank can be pretty difficult, even when you’re doing everything right. It can be even more overwhelming when you’re making mistakes but aren’t aware of it. If you are looking to build your own referral program, it’s important that you know what to do but even more important that you know what not to do. That’s what we are going to focus on in this article.

First things first, you need to understand that good referrals aren’t something you get by accident. It takes work. You need to be known for being trustworthy, good at what you do, and able to build relationships with those who may be able to provide you with great referrals.

Not Reciprocating Properly

In order to see the reward that you want, which in this case is a referral, you must be willing to offer something in return. Sometimes this means sending someone a referral yourself, other times it might mean offering advice, and still other times it might be something entirely different. You can ask someone for what you aren’t willing to give in return. Make sure you are providing something that makes people want to help you.

Prioritizing the Wrong Relationships

You can’t prioritize your relationship with every person you know, so it’s important to spend your business time focused on the right people. The people who are most likely to be assets when it comes to referrals are your bank customers, other owners in the industry, salespeople with similar customers but different services, and everyone else – in that same order. Spending too much time on that ‘everybody else’ can be detrimental. Instead, it’s a good idea to prioritize time with people closer to you and your bank or credit union.

Pushy Salesmanship

Customers want to come to you and get the best possible product or service for their needs. Some people are great at doing this, while others are not. A customer who respects you is much more likely to offer a beneficial relationship. As such, it’s important not to push too much or try to sell people on things they don’t need. Make sure that the people on your team know how to determine what will best suit someone, so they can be assets in generating referrals that help the whole company.

Only Looking When Needed

When it comes time where getting a referral is crucial, it can be the worst time to look for one. When you’re working from a place of extreme need, it can backfire. If a client sees that desperation, they may not feel comfortable offering a referral out of fear that the person being referred will be badgered upon contact. Instead, it’s important to look for referrals even when they may not be needed a great deal. In addition, referrals should be only part of your strategy for finding new prospects.

Not Asking

Of course, if you aren’t asking for referrals, you are very unlikely to get them. It’s surprising how many people don’t seem to take this under advisement. If the clerks and other staff at your credit union aren’t taking the time to ask for a referral, it shouldn’t be surprising when it doesn’t come. Asking is integral, and honestly, the worst you can hear is no.

We hope these tips on what to avoid when looking for referrals have been helpful. If you are looking for a system to help you implement a more complete referral program, think about trying the software at It offers tons of features and can make the process much simpler for everyone involved.