I thought the day after Halloween would be a good day for a post. Today we’ll continue on the 5 “R’s” – this time on referrals.
I confess, this is the “R” that I do the least, but it is one of the most important. A referral comes by asking if someone knows anyone that could use your services. Here’s the reason it’s important. A referred prospect is one that has the greatest reason to trust you. Someone they know has suggested that you would be good for them.
I can’t understate the importance of that. If a trusted person refers you as a trusted person, you avoid all the problems that come with cold contacting. Right before I started to write this blog, I got a cold call for a service that I actually have a need for. Because of that I listened to the salesperson. I ultimately did not continue the call because (a) It wasn’t clear that he understood my problem and (b) I didn’t know him and therefore did not trust him. A referral takes care of the latter issue for you.
So how do you get referrals? The reality is that most referrals go to those business people who are intentional about it – those who ask.
If you have current clients, ask if what you provided was helpful. Then, ask if they know anyone else that could use your products or services. Finally, ask if you could have the person’s contact information. Sometimes you’ll get it, sometimes you won’t. Even if you don’t get anything today, it doesn’t mean you won’t get something from that person in the future.
Here’s a key point. Don’t let the fact that someone or even that most people won’t have a referral for you stop you from asking every person you encounter.
The next referral may be the one that leads you to the biggest job or biggest sale ever, so keep asking.
Some companies use promotions for referrals “fill out this list of 10 friends and get a free bottle of wine.” Those are okay, but the quality of the lists you’ll get won’t be as good.
When a referral turns into an encounter, either a successful sale or not, remember to thank the referring person (Hey Jake, I spoke with John yesterday. He doesn’t need our widget today but might be interested in the future – thanks for recommending me to him). It shows you were both paying attention and appreciative.
People who use your products or services are more likely to know people who would want to use your products or services. Friends do what friends do.
Wouldn’t it be great if more of them did it with you?