People would rather do business with people they know – or know of – than with strangers. After all, few things are more reassuring than a positive endorsement from someone you know and trust.
Imagine business as an infinite web of relationships. Every business contact has the potential to connect the business with dozens of other contacts. The relationships are out there, but they will probably remain out of reach unless actively pursued It may never occur to current business contacts to broker an introduction. That’s up to the business owner.
Getting a referral is the highest compliment that can be received. Inform customers that their referrals are prized. Use these tips to make a difference.
When working with a new customer, make referrals part of the initial agreement. “If you’re happy with the work I do for you, will you agree to give me X number of referrals?”
Whenever a customer offers a compliment, respond with a thank you, quickly followed by a referral request. For example, “I’m so pleased you’re happy with my work. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from my services?”
Use every client meeting as an opportunity to collect referrals. To keep on track, jot down a reminder in your meeting preparation notes. Make it one of your standard talking points.
Set a weekly referral goal. Keep track of the number of referrals asked for each day. Don’t limit your requests to clients; also ask business associates, acquaintances and prospects.
Make the most of every networking opportunity. Step out of the comfort zone at networking events and set a goal to talk to at least three new people. We’re all drawn to interesting, enthusiastic people, so plan an approach.
Always be specific when asking for a referral. Looking for high net worth individuals? Say so. Interested in midsize companies? Let them know. If contacts don’t know who the target customer is, time is wasted pursuing leads that can’t be used.
One of the most powerful ways to elicit referrals is to give them generously. Whenever there is an opportunity to refer an associate or bring two contacts together, do so. And when attending a networking event, make a point of introducing people to one another. Most people will appreciate the referral, and it may inspire them to respond in kind.
Are you actively seeking referrals?
Adapted from an article by Ray Silverstein, entrepreneur.com