Everyone knows that referrals are the best way to get new business. If you want to find an attorney, a new CPA, a new physician, or a good place to go out for dinner, you would rather be referred from a trusted business associate or a friend wouldn’t you? No one prefers solving problems through a cold call to a good referral.
So why is it that most salespeople will admit they are not getting enough? There are a lot of reasons. Here are a few:
- They are not asking – It may seem obvious but many do not
- They do not know how to ask
- They are afraid of adversely impacting the relationship
- They are afraid of the rejection
- After hearing “I can’t think of anyone right now, but when I do, I will be sure to call you” and not hearing back numerous times; they begin to believe it is futile and stop asking
So what can you do to fix this and get more referrals?
- Exceed Expectations
First and foremost you must provide outstanding service. If you are not providing outstanding service, people will not want to refer their clients, business acquaintances, and friends to you and risk them having a bad experience. In fact, just providing a good service, on time for a fair price does not necessarily create loyal customers. When you go beyond what is expected you become more referable.
- Set the Stage Early
When you sign up a new client, you both expect they will be very happy with their purchase. You can ask them if they are open to you asking them for a referral when they are. Most people will respond positively to this request.
After you have delivered your product or service and they are singing praise is the best time to ask and as you develop more of a referral mindset, you will find more opportunities and people to ask.
- Help Them Process the Rolodex
Think about the process you go through when you are asked to provide a referral. First you have to think about what that person does and who they do it to. Then you need to think about who you know that may have said something to you that indicates they are a good referral, how you can deliver the referral, and if you want to do it. This is all very hard work and in the meantime the referee is standing there waiting for a response. You need to be prepared to help them with suggestions of who they may know. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding out who people know. This includes educating them on who a good referral is for you. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for them to come up with some.
- Give More to Get More
Always be looking for ways to help others. The more you give, the more you will get. Think about how many clients, prospects, strategic relationships, family and friends you are in contact with every day. If you received 2 or 3 referrals from half of them, how many would that be? Follow some of these principals and see how many you can get.