How To Get More Referrals For Your Business

How do I get more referrals for my business?  This was the question I received just a few hours ago via a Klout member seeking advice.  Thinking about my current business and the fact that 75% of my new business comes from referrals I created an outline of what I have been doing.

  1. Start with GREAT customer service.  This should be no surprise to any business owner seeking more I love referralsreferrals.  Now more than ever great customer service is truly unique.  And customers who receive great service can quickly become your best referral source and advocate.  A good start to improving customer service is to think about the last great customer service experience you received and how you can adapt this experience into your business.
  2. The best referrals come from YOUR customers.  Now that you are taking a fresh look on customer service and implementing better customer service strategies you should start noticing something different about your customers.  The most obvious should be happy customers.  This may sound a big cliché but happy customers to equal more referrals.  It’s really that simple.
  3.  Ask your customers for the referral!  Some customers will automatically become raving fans for you and your business.  You don’t have to ask or offer them anything for this to happen as they want you to succeed.  This will only occur with a few of your customers and when it does make sure you acknowledge and encourage it.  With the other 90% or more of your customers you will have to ask for the referral.  To get things started make sure you have a conversation with your customers about referrals and let them know most of julietta casino online your business comes from customers just like them referring you to their friends and family.  Education is the key as this 90% group do not think about giving you referrals if you don’t tell them.
  4. Create your own referral network.  There are many organizations which can greatly help you; Business Network International is an obvious one here.  Joining this organization will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors in regards to referrals.  You can also build your own network of referral partners by finding business with the same customers you are looking for.  Meet with these businesses and identify how you can send them referrals.  Once you do this and start sending referrals let the business know.  Do this a few times and you should start receiving referrals from them as well.
  5. Remember to say Thank You!  I cannot express and encourage this enough.  Saying thank you is the most important part of the referral process.  With each referral you want to thank and acknowledge the source of the referral.  As your referral source matures and gives you more referrals you want to escalate your appreciation.  You can do this in many ways and I encourage you to get creative.

Getting more referrals for your business should not be difficult or painful.  Follow these steps and you should start seeing positive results in your referral marketing efforts.  Do you have some great ideas on the subject of referrals?  Make sure to leave a comment and tell us about it!  And if you get positive results using these steps let us know!

Can I Give You A Referral?

On my last post I highlighted Make A Referral Week 2009. The goal was to generate 1,000 referrals to 1,000 deserving small businesses in one week. I am happy to report the goal was met and I am excited to see Referral Week happen again with a much larger goal!

This week I had the pleasure of talking to one of my favorite people Stuart Manley from ChannelPoint, Inc., a Toronto, ON human resource company specializing in cross border HR. After talking to Stuart I thought of another friend Art Kriegsmann. Art is the CEO of H.R. SERV., Inc. based in San Diego, CA. The conversation with Stuart prompted me to refer both Stuart and Art to each other. I referred them because they both specialize in different areas and could possibly be a great referral source for one another.

The example points out one of the most overlooked referrals we can make. We all love to receive direct referrals which will lead to a new client. Sometimes our best referrals are not a direct referral but someone who can continually give us referrals over time. Creating referral partners, power partners, or fantastic referral sources should be a major part of your referral strategy.

To create a referral source think about the businesses in your network who may serve your ideal client. Possibly a company you notice working with the same clients you have. Once you identify such a company or industry reach out to them and talk about the possibility of sending referrals to one another. This strategy could make the difference of your business maintaining sales this year or possibly growing another 10, 20, or 50 percent! And for those of you who may watch the news or if you happen to still read the paper… Yes I did say you can grow your business in this economy!

If you are still reading this post I have one question for you. Can I give you a referral?

Do you have a company or client you have been trying to reach? Do you know who your ideal client or referral partner is? How can I or the readers give you a referral? Leave your referral request as a comment and let’s see if we can help each other!

“THE MEETING” What to say and is it worth it?

So you have set a meeting for an upcoming future date! Now what? I have these types of meetings almost every day. I have found the best agenda for this meeting is similar to an interview process. Here is my basic agenda for these meetings:

Review your notes on the new contact and their website before calling. When you call the contact remind them of the reason and goal for the meeting. Make sure you are really listening and take notes! If possible you want to engage the other person first by probing them about their business.

Start by asking them to talk a little about their business. (3 minutes)

When the contact has finished or the 3 minutes has passed ask the following question:

Can you give me an example of your ideal client or customer?

I find most small business owners or solopreneurs have a hard time answering this question. Sometimes you may have to help them out by sharing your ideal client. For example: My ideal client is a small business owner, solopreneur, or sales professional that wants to attract more clients and generate more referrals. They typically know the value of following up but often say they never get around to it, don’t have the time, or don’t have any kind of system to make it easy.

Explain to me your biggest challenge in your business.

This could present an opportunity for you to help with this challenge or possibly you have someone in your network that can help or shed a different light on this challenge.

Who is your best referral partners?

Possible referral partners for an Estate Planning Attorney could be a Financial Planner, Real Estate Agent, Lender, or CPA . Sometimes you may have referrals for a new contacts best referral partner before having a customer referral for them.

What makes you or your company different from your competitors?

Some companies will have a highly competitive edge in a marketplace and they know it. A lot of times an insurance agent knows they are the most cost effective for certain industries and if you know this information it makes it very easy to refer them.

Are you on facebook or Linkedin?

I will talk more about facebook and Linkedin in future posts. If you are not on facebook or Linkedin you can visit my profile to learn more.

Is there anything more you would like to tell me about you or your company that might help me give you referrals?

This is an ending question which will allow you to start your part of the meeting.

At this point you want to basically go over these same questions with your new contact so they learn more about you and how they might be able to help grow your business. This process can last 30 minutes to one hour depending on the answers. Make sure to find out at the start of the meeting how much time you have to insure you both get the most value. Speaking of value, do you see how this second meeting can be a huge part of your follow up? Let me know if you have a question to add or if this post was helpful by adding a comment!