Many of us could use more business. It can be difficult to find the right way to make that happen. Could referrals be the answer?
What have you done lately to ensure that you get great referrals? You may be missing a few steps! In part one of this post, we’ll explore the first five steps to snagging those awesome referrals in order to grow your business.
Tip # 1: Discipline Yourself to a Routine of ‘Asking’
Here’s something profound. The reason most of us do not get referrals on a routine basis is that we do not ask for them on a routine basis. Well, it’s almost that simple. What would be the upside on your year-end W-2 if you asked for 2 referrals from each of your new customers? Let’s say you average 6 sales per month. That would be 12 referrals per month or 144 per year. Conservatively, you close half of those warm leads. Multiply 72 by your average revenue per sale. Then calculate your commission percentage off the total revenue sold. Now ask yourself if you can afford not to ask for referrals on a routine basis. Maybe you should start asking as part of your process.
Tip # 2: Develop a process to ‘Set the Stage’
Asking for a referral is one thing, but how many times do you actually get one? Execute a Powerful Routine after you sign up a new customer, and request permission for 3 additional minutes to get their professional feedback. Ask a series of questions soliciting their opinion on ways you can be more effective with your sales process, from initial contact to point of sale, with individuals in the same industry and parallel titles. You are now setting the stage for your future success. Over time, your contacts will give you a free ‘Masters Degree.’ Remember to ‘Pack your bags, but set the stage.’
Tip # 3: Communicate to a “Win-Win” Agreement
Be honest and sincere in reference to the importance of referrals for running your business effectively. Tell your story. If you have a high referral ratio let them know that and why it is high. Customers respect a good business person more than a good salesperson. Try to pick a time when the contact would feel comfortable giving a referral to help your business. That may not be at the point of sale, but upon service implementation or some time in the future when you have proved you delivered what you promised. The important point is you must define with the contact when it can happen or what criteria need to be met for it to happen.
Tip # 4: Follow through in order to receive a consistently high ratio of referrals.
You may not ask for a referral until (a) the service has been implemented and (b) the customer is satisfied. But as described in Tip #3 above, you want to minimally set a referral foundation at the point of sale and receive a commitment to when you’ll receive one. Now, this is very important. Always notate in your planner (old fashioned paper or high tech) in front of the contact when the expectation is set, and let them know you are making note of it. Treat it like an appointment for your future success. It’s sound business and will afford you a higher closing ratio, shorter sales cycle and most importantly, more referrals! So, follow-up and get it! THE MONEY IS ALWAYS IN THE FOLLOW-UP!
Tip # 5: Develop a Referral Program
Be creative. Give up some money or gift cards. Maybe it’s a gift certificate to a local restaurant (hopefully a customer) or a graduated percent off of their next invoice. An entrepreneurial mind will come up with a few flexible programs that fit your level of buyer. After all, you’re not putting anything out until the referral is sold. The old saying, “money makes money” is still true. Besides the tax right off (be sure to check with your accountant), contacts absolutely enjoy getting a little something. Measure the ROI and the benefit will be evident.
Ready for more? Check out part two of this post.