How to Get More Referrals for Your Business
The Beauty of Referrals
In the small and medium business, one of the great ways to get new clients is to ask for a referral. A potential customer who finds out about you through someone else's referral is much more inclined to become your customer than the one you found, for example, through cold calls or email.
Here's how it typically works:
Let's say, for example, if you're good at programming of web design, someone knowing that can say: "Hey, David, I know that you're pretty good at this, so can I hire you for our next upcoming project?". And if everything worked well, these people can refer you to their friends or business colleagues. You're not really trying hard to sell your services here, right? There's no need to go to the conferences, meetups, different business events, you've got your client coming to you on a silver platter.
Imagine your business as an infinite network of connections. Everyone who has a business with you, can potentially connect you with dozens of their friends. But their contacts remain unavailable for you as long as you stay passive. You need to take the initiative and ask the client for a referral.
When to Ask for a Referral?
Most of the people ask for a referral after the work has been done. Let's say you've just wrapped up a project, both sides are happy with the results and everything is good. It seems like this is a great time to ask for a referral. Most people will feel comfortable at that point, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But what if you approach this situation from the other side?
Simple and Effective Tactic to Increase the Amount of Referrals You Get
What is the biggest point of conversion? It's when your client says "Yes, I want to hire you, here's my credit card, my money, here's a check". And in that moment they're most eager to make the right decision - that's where you ask for a referral.
And here's why. Your client need to realize that in order for your business to be successful, you need to spend a certain amount of time on marketing, networking, doing pr and other business activities.
But instead of doing all that, you're going to focus all your energy on his project, delivering actual value to him. Except one thing, - you can do this only if your happy customers are giving you referrals. You make it a part of the deal. And, I'm sure, not a single person will refuse that deal. Because it's much more profitable for a client if you spend time delivering actual value to him, than wasting it on something else.
Persistence is a Key
However, you need to pay attention to one important moment here. Here's what typically happens - 70% of people will say "Ok, let me think about it. I'll see what I can do." And usually we say: "Yeah, I really appreciate you giving me referrals."
No! That way you can wait for your referrals forever. You have to be persistent and push one more time saying: "Ok, just for now, who's one person that you think is in a position that I can serve?" And then, amazingly, 5 out of 10 people will give you a name! And then you get in touch with these people and convert them into your customers.
Keeping Track of Referred Clients
If you stick to the advice mentioned above, you'll definitely have lots of clients. Now you need to somehow keep track of all of them. You can use any tool that will do the job, but I personally recommend you to try FossLook. After downloading and installing the system, you can create your own document type "Client", which is going to have these fields:
- Basic client info
- Who referred you the client
- Date, Location, and Type of referral
- Phone number
- Additional notes
Once you've done that, every time you get a referral, simply login to the web interface and add a client to the system. The platform allows you to set a reminder for a specific time to contact the client. In that way you'll never forget to do a followup, or perform a certain task for the customers.
Don't Push it Too Hard
You always want to feel positive about what you're doing. Do not overdo it. If somebody will say "Hey, dude, back off!", you can throw your hands in the air and say "I wouldn't do my job if I didn't ask one more time".
Remember to always create value from what you're doing. And the moment somebody says "Thank you", - you've just created a positive connection. The key thing here is to have as many of these connections as possible.
Refer People Yourself
Even if you're a well known and established company doing a half-million dollar projects, and you have somebody come to you and ask for a small "mom-and-pop" store website. Don't just bluntly say "We don't do this kind of projects, there's nothing in it for us." Don't simply leave people in the cold, instead recommend them someone you know, who can help in this situation. It still can be a benefit for you in a long run.
Always try to have more meaningful connections in your business. Don't be shy to ask for a referral right away. It will keep you busy delivering real value to your customers, instead of wasting it on hunt for potential clients.