How to Get Quality Referrals to Help You Win More Business.
Looking for new customers? They could be closer than you think.
You have a world of potential in your personal and professional networks. Tapping into the people you know – and those who already know and trust you – is one of THE most effective ways to win new business. And consistently asking for referrals can be a powerful sales strategy.
Referral sales require very little financial investment, but they generate some brilliant warm leads.
Thinking about your own buying habits, how many times have you bought a product or service based purely on the strength of a link or recommendation given to you by someone you trust?
A referral takes some of the guesswork out of parting with hard-earned cash, and lowers the perceived risk of buying something new. So, how can you make the most of referral opportunities to get more quality leads for your business?
Unlock the potential of your network
As so brilliantly highlighted in Tim Templeton’s “The Referral of a Lifetime” there are some key principles to help you get the most out of your network:
- Build a database of people you know (250) and then “ABC” them
From your window cleaner to the barista at your favourite café, all the way to your closest friends and family, write a list of everyone you know. Aim to name 250. Then, next to each name, grade them A, B or C based upon the last time you spoke to them. Someone you grade an “A” would be someone you feel certain will refer you, a “C” is your long-lost school pal who you haven’t talked to in over 20 years.
- 250 x 250
Think beyond your network – it’s who your clients, friends and acquaintances know that’s really important. If you maintain great relationships with your list of 250 people, and then share this approach and encourage them to also maintain great relationships with 250 people, you’ll have gained access to a network of 62,500 potential referrals.
- ….“Just Let Me Know”
Be clear about your referral strategy with your clients and friends. Let them know how important referrals are to your business, and at the end of every conversation, simply say, “if there’s any way I can help you in business or anything else you may need, just let me know.” This keeps the conversation open, and leads to reciprocity. In other words, when you connect your contacts to the people and services they need, they’ll be more likely to do the same in return.
Keep in touch, consistently, personally, and systematically
This is the most important principle. You must keep in touch regularly not to sell, but to listen and engage your friend or client. You should aim to turn your C’s into B’s, and your B’s into A’s.
How can you POSSIBLY keep in touch with 250 people?
It’s easier than you think. For SBCA, we use our digital newsletter “Beyond The Numbers” as an effective way to engage clients old and new. For some of your A’s and B’s, how often could you commit to a personal phone call? A regular chat can make a world of difference. For other A’s, a coffee or even lunch. You should have a plan to regularly and consistently meet in-person with your referring contacts.
Thank people for the referral
Whether you use a structured reward programme, such as “refer a friend for a 10% discount”, or use a more personalised approach, saying thank you is a sure-fire way to keep those referrals coming. We value each and every referral from our own network and will always say a heartfelt thank you with a nice bottle of wine or other appropriate gift.
For SBCA, the quality of our client relationships is central to our growth, and we’re not shy about harnessing the power of these relationships to help spread the word about our services. There’s no reason you shouldn’t do the same for your business.
Think of your happy customers as your unofficial sales force. Give them every opportunity to tell their own networks about the great work you do.
With this in mind, I’ll close with three important questions:
- Who do you know who could possibly benefit from a fresh look at their business and finances?
- Would you be willing to send them a link to book a discovery call?
- How can we help YOU to grow? Let’s talk so we can find out more about your business goals – we may have the perfect referral waiting for you.
Looking for more ideas and discussion around referrals? Pick up the conversation in our business community on Facebook.