This is a great perspective on referrals. Early in my career, I didn't ask for referrals, and then the light bulb went on. Once I started actually asking for them, I started getting them, and my clients were happy to refer.
Asking For Referrals, and Getting Them
Referrals are the key to business growth. Here are some ideas on how to improve the quality and increase the quantity of your referrals.
One of the most asked questions I get regarding sales and marketing is how do I get more referrals (or in some cases any referrals). Here are some time tested methods that will get you referrals.
1. Develop relationships with centers of influences that can refer clients to you on an ongoing basis. These are people who’s business will benefit by referring people to you. For example a financial planner, may benefit from making a referral to an adviser who can help a client reduce their taxes, thus providing more money to implement financial recommendations.
2. Establish the expectation of referrals at the beginning of your client relationship. A great way to do this is to mention to your clients you get paid in two ways. One way is from the fees you charge for the services you provide (or commissions you receive from the products you sell) and the second way is from referrals, provided they (your client) value the service you provide. Remember, you have to earn the right to get referrals and you only do that by providing a great product, at a fair price, with excellent service.
3. Give your client a reason to give you referrals. Suggest to them that like any professional, you have to build your business, which means finding new clients. Tell them you can do that one of two ways. You can either go out and find new clients, which requires time and money or you can get referrals from your clients and use the time you save to do more research and provide them with better service and more meaningful advice. Which way would they prefer you work? In almost every case, they will choose the second way.
4. Do things that keep your name in front of your client on an ongoing basis. Email newsletters work well, I also send out summaries of books I have read (the current one is “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”) and copies of articles that pertain to their business or issues you know they are facing. Make sure you remind them you are looking for referrals.
5. Give them a referral first. Provided you know and trust the person, a great way to develop a referral relationship is to offer a referral to an adviser, especially if they are in a position to give you referrals in return. When appropriate, tell them you want to establish a referral relationship with them. By doing this, you will give them an opportunity to talk to a person who has done business with you, which can go a long way in building your credibility with them.
6. Ask you client if they were comfortable with the way you approached them. Assuming they say they were, then assure them you will approach any of the referrals they give you with the same kind of professionalism. This will make them more comfortable with referring people to you.
Spend time finding out about the referral they have given you. Why are they referring this person to you? How do they know them? What profession are they in? How well do they know them? How long have they known them? This tells the person making the referral to you that you will approach their referral in a professional manner.
Don’t ask for referrals from people you don’t know or who don’t know you. There have been many times I have met a person at a Biznik event, talked to them for five minutes and the next day they are contacting me asking me for referrals. Build a relationship first, then ask for referrals.
When you get a referral, make sure you thank the person who gave you the referral. Keep them in the loop. As much as you can without betraying confidentiality, let them know what is going on with the referral that they gave you. Remember, they gave you the referral in the first place because they trust you and care about the person they are referring.
One final, but very important point. If you have given your client great service and they have expressed they are happy with what you are doing for them, then you have earned the right to ask for referrals. Now go out and ask.
Learn more about the author, Richard Whitaker.
Comment on this article
Posted by RJ Baxter, Denver, Colorado |
Apr 18, 2010
Posted by Mr. Dennis Ford Jr, Houston, Texas |
Apr 22, 2010
This is just a very good basic way to have the ole' word of mouth method, to grow your company. Great job Richard.
Have A Great Day ,
Dennis "DJ" Ford Jr. Devine Marketing Solutions Houston, TX.
Anyone in any company can use this generic recruiting system to produce endless leads and sponsor more business partners faster and easier than they ever thought possible.
Posted by Laura Joki, CPC, Portland, Oregon |
May 14, 2010
I love this! Thank you!
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get business and just like we have to ask our clients for the sale, we have to ask our clients to sell us as well!
Posted by Craig Hutchinson, Ketchum, Idaho |
Aug 20, 2010
thank you for your insightful tips.
- the advisers network