Every business owner and sales professional want to get referrals, but nearly all of them struggle with it. However, the few that have mastered the process have a viable revenue and customer growth channel.
- There is no perfect time: If you are looking for the perfect time where you are assured that your client is most likely to say yes and be excited about digging through their contacts, that time doesn’t exist. There are times that are better than others to get referrals, but nothing is perfect. Believe it or not, a great time is often after you have solved a problem the customer has had. This shows that you are there for the long haul, and they can trust you will also take care of their referrals.
- Create a set timeline/structure: In order to avoid looking for the perfect time, decide when to ask for referrals before you ever add a customer. If you have a plan in place and you always ask for referrals at a specific stage of after a specific amount of time, then there is no decision to make. You made a plan to get referrals and all you have to do is stick to it!
- Assume the Referral: How do you ask, what if they say no, what if they don’t’ know anyone? Are these all questions you have asked yourself? Well if your customer us satisfied and happy with you, then just assume that they have friends or family that could benefit the same way. Instead of asking try assuming with something like. “Important Customer, I know that you have been very satisfied with your experience and my best marketing is a happy customer. Who else do you know that would benefit from the same level of satisfaction that you have seen?”
- Send a Thank You & Provide Follow Up: This may seem outdated in the age of technology, email, messaging apps, social media, etc. However, now that old fashioned cards are not common, when you do get them they are even more meaningful. If you want to make your customer feel special for providing you a referral this is quite a way to do it!! And, it is cost effective, since your local dollar store probably sells perfectly nice cards in a pack for a buck. Handwrite something meaningful, and sign and date it. Either hand deliver it or mail it and you will be remembered next time they meet someone that needs your services.
If you want referrals to be a legitimate part of your marketing plan, you MUST have a structure in place to get referrals. Otherwise, referrals become the luck of the draw rather than something you can count on.