Generating referrals is important to every business. Today more than ever, obtaining new customers by word-of-mouth marketing is critical to your success. Word-of-mouth marketing happens everywhere, all the time. You may be at a networking event, worshiping at church, or even working out at the gym. We meet people in many different places that could be referral partners or referral sources to help with the growth of our business.
Simply meeting the right person in the right place is not enough, however. There is a process – a proven process – to generating referrals. This process must be followed exactly as it is shown. Skipping any of the steps can result in the referral never happening or at the least make the process more difficult. Follow this process and you will greatly increase the number of referrals you receive and, in turn, increase your income.
- Identify EXACTLY who is a good referral for you. What industry does this person work in? What is their position? Do you have the name of a specific person you would like an introduction to? Take the time to perform this step in advance of meeting anybody. Do the thinking; perform the research online; write the information down.
- When talking to your potential referral partner, make it clear that you will happily do most of the work to make the connection happen. You can provide an email template for them to use so all they have to do is copy, paste, and hit Send. Should they be uncomfortable with making the connection, simply ask their permission to use their name and let you call the referral yourself. All of the other steps to this referral process still apply even if you make the call.
- Ask the person making the referral what you can do to help them. Who would they like to be connected to? Can you write a testimonial for them on their LinkedIn page? Can you help them market their services through social media? Remember: the Law of Reciprocity always applies.
- Follow Up. This is the most important part of this process. Call them or meet them, but perform with excellence. The reputation of the person who referred you is on the line. Don’t let them down. If you have trouble following up, be sure to contact the connector to let them know what happened and what you are doing to rectify the situation. Sometimes they will help make the introduction a “warmer” one.
- Thank the person that made the referral, especially if it led to new business or a new referral source. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy. A hand written note will usually suffice. If the new business generates considerable financial benefits, a steak dinner is certainly a nice way to say thank you to the connector. (Just be sure you’re not breaking any industry or ethics rules.)
This is where most professionals stop. They move on to the next deal, and they forget about how they received this last bit of business. That is a big mistake. And that brings us to the BONUS step in this process.
- Ask your new client who they know that is just like them, that you could also reach out to. Go to Step 2 above and follow the process. Our best referrals often come from the people we are already doing business with. That’s because there’s nothing like a raving fan. Treat your current customers well, and they will generate referrals for you.
Now go out there and get some referrals! Be sure to give some referrals too. Give as many or more than you receive.
To your success in 2018 and beyond!!!!!!