Ho-Hum. Another day at the
office, waiting for a potential customer
to call or come in. Hmmmm.
What would your business be like
if your current customers were enthusiastically rounding up prospective
customers for you? Imagine the excitement of talking to people who already know
about you and know about your products and services. How difficult would it be
to close those sales?
Of course! Selling to those
people would be a piece of cake. So why aren't your current customers bringing
you referrals? Perhaps it's because you have not instructed them, motivated
them, made it easy for them, asked them or initiated the process.
Like most worthwhile endeavors,
getting referrals requires planning and preparation. First, the planning. Start
by making a list of all the people who might be a referral source for you. These
may include people you do business with, such as your banker, accountant,
attorney, printer, consultant, broker, and so on. This list will also include at
least some of your existing clients. How about friends, community leaders,
previous business associates, and suppliers?
Next, scan the list for the
handful of your best current referrers. Chances are, you have a few people who
routinely recommend prospective customers to you. Perhaps you also send
referrals to them. Start with these potential "Referral Partners".
Almost always, you'll have better results by developing stronger relationships
with a few referral sources rather than shallow relationships with lots of
In order to help your Referral
Partners give you good, qualified referrals, you need to get crystal-clear about
what you are looking for. What types of people/organizations make the best
customers for you? Are there any geographic limitations? How about size or
What problems do your products
and services solve? Your Referral Partner will have an easier time of spotting
potential clients for you if they (and you) are clear about what symptoms to
look for. This also makes it very natural for your Referral Partner to suggest
your firm as a way for their colleague to solve a problem.
Don't overlook the desired
personal characteristics of potential customers. As you know, the chemistry you
have with a customer is a crucial factor in establishing a long-term business
relationship. Have you ever noticed that some people make you feel good just to
be around them? These are the people who give you energy when they are near you.
These special people seem to unlock your creativity and stimulate your thinking.
On the other hand, there are
probably others you can think of who just drain all the life out of you. Which
would you rather have as clients? You can surround yourself with people who are
pleasant, easy to deal with, interesting and, oh yes, profitable.
When you are clear about
describing the recommendations you want, you make it easier for your Referral
Partners to identify prospective customers for you.
Now that you have identified
several possible Referral Partners and you are clear about the types of
customers you want, it's time to create a customized plan for each Referral
Partner. Think win-win. What does the Referral Partner get from this
relationship? Brainstorm all the various ways in which the Referral Partner
benefits from giving you a recommendation. Be as specific as you can. Each
person has individual needs and interest, so be creative in discovering ways in
which this person gets value from the Referral Partner relationship.
Perhaps one of your current
Referral Partners could help you brainstorm this list of possible benefits that
come from referring clients to you. Remember, people do things for their
reasons, not yours. If you can't articulate the benefits of sending referrals to
you, you'll not likely get many.
In order to instill confidence in
your Referral Partner, you need to spell out exactly what you will do when given
a referral. Your Referral Partner has surely developed valuable relationships
over the years and will be most reluctant to do anything that might jeopardize
those relationships. Be specific as to what will happen when your Referral
Partner gives you a referral. A simple, step-by-step process that shows how you
will represent yourself (and your Referral Partner) will provide assurance that
the potential customer will be treated with respect and dignity.
Next, discuss the specific
actions you want from your Referral Partner. Do you want them to call the
potential customer? What do you want them to say? Would you prefer they arrange
a three-way appointment? Often, people want to give you referrals, but don't
know exactly what to do or how to do it. Train them; coach them; help them get
clear on what's expected of them.
Once you get a referral, be sure
to show your appreciation. Behavior that is recognized tends to be repeated. You
can show your appreciation in many creative ways. For some Referral Partners, it
may be a gift. Others may prefer recognition, favors, events or special support.
Showing your appreciation is not only the polite thing to do; it is also a smart
way to encourage more referrals.
So far, we've discussed getting
recommendations for potential customers. What about referrals to new referral
sources? By using the same process outlined earlier, you have the opportunity to
develop new Referral Partners. This is a great way to dramatically increase your
business without the time and effort of cold calling and cold prospecting.
Bottom line; developing and
implementing an effective referral strategy can produce a steady stream of new
business for years to come. You can achieve your professional goals faster and
easier through effectively targeting referrals. Start today.
Would You Trust Mother Theresa? The Power of Testimonials in Increasing Sales
Testimonials can have a tremendous impact on deciding whether you can close the sale or not. People feel more confident in buying your products or services if they know that there are other satisfied customers.
The Power of Endorsements
Endorsements are one of the most powerful marketing tools that you can use to promote a product or service. An endorsement simply is when a person talks or writes about a particular product or
service in a favorable manner and recommends that you buy it at the end of the endorsement.
Word-of-Mouth Works Wonders
is crucial in the offline world. The key to marketing success in the
offline world is "location, location, location." The Internet is no
Your marketing success depends highly on the
number of locations you appear -- places on which your site, link, company
or product name exist. In essence, it is to be in as many places as
possible, talked about by as many people as possible and seen by as many
eyeballs as possible.