How many times has something like the following happened to you: You're talking to a client or another professional when they mention someone they know who they feel could utilize your services, so you hand them your business card and ask them to pass it on to the acquaintance. Then comes…nothing. Time goes by with no call. If the person you gave the card to did pass it on, which is certainly not assured—it's more probable that they forgot and/or misplaced the card—the acquaintance might not get the prompt to action they might need to pick up the phone and ring you up.
Over at the Referral Authority, Matt Anderson identifies this kind of passive "pass on my card" situation as one of the biggest problems people have when it comes to referrals. "Always be in a position where you're asking: 'When should I get back to you to see if this person is interested?'" says Anderson. When you end a referral conversation on that note, with a confirmed future action set in place, you stay in control of the process and ensure that the ball will keep rolling.
The next time a referral opportunity comes up in a conversation, don't end the talk passively. Set the stage for future action, committing to a time when you can follow-up with the person who's agreed to pass the card along.