Get More Referrals for Your Business

Why is getting referrals so crucial to your business growth?  And more importantly, how can you get MORE of them without being “that person” who’s always asking for them?

Today we are going to show you 5 steps to get more referrals for your business, and do it the right way!

Before we hop in, be sure to comment below and let us know your best referral story (giving or receiving), and be sure to read all the way to the end because I’ll also share with you the language I use to refer someone to a strategic business alliance of mine so that they can experience a great referral and hopefully return the favor someday.

Why Referrals?

It’s really quite simple.  Closing a sale that began as a referral is easier AND often results in a higher dollar sale.  Why?  Because the transference of trust from the person who referred you to the potential client has occurred – so the relationship and the Know like trust factor begins at a higher point right from the start.  Trust has to be earned, and the fact that the referral source trusts you says a lot to the person they are sending you.

In a recent study by Neilsen they found that over 80% of people prefer to do business with someone that was recommended to them!

But specifically asking people for referrals feels really uncomfortable – so you don’t do it.  I don’t blame you!  I don’t either!  I shy away from people that ask me for referrals so I am sure they would run from me too if I were constantly asking! It comes across as a bit selfish and may even make you look desperate or needy.

Good thing there’s a better way. 

Here is the scoop – referrals come from relationships – plain and simple.  

Pro Tip

If the people that you know and do business with (clients or colleagues and peers) trust your services, products, procedures then all you have to do is stay top of mind and they will refer you when they come across someone who needs your products or services.  You will be the first one they think of and will be happy to connect the prospective customer to you.

Easy – Peezy – right? 

So you might be asking yourself – if it’s so easy why isn’t everyone doing it? Well…because it’s not exactly easy.  It’s also not hard, but it does take time, patience, intentionality and purpose.  You have to have a plan to stay in touch with your referral sources consistently in a memorable and meaningful way.

Now just because it takes some effort, put it in perspective.  I don’t know about you but I would much rather follow-up on referral emails and calls then continuously pounding the pavement to find new clients, cold calling, cold emailing, or trying to cut through the noise and be seen on social media!

Some of our clients spend countless hours on brand awareness, value-based information sharing, and credibility factors (yes…all important things), but they do it to the neglect of their current referral sources and other potential referral sources standing right in front of them.  Although you still have to do those activities – referral relationship marketing should be a primary focus in your business. 

Let’s start with the basics:  ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Am I worthy of referrals – is my customer experience exceptional, average or poor?
  • Do I get to know my clients and prospective business alliances (referral partners) on a personal level or do I always keep it strictly business talk?
  • Do I take the time to show gratitude to those I know?

How did you do?  Average?  Poor?  Excellent?

The point is – you have to get to know people.  Get to know their business, but also be sure to get to know the person.  People like to be known, appreciated, shown gratitude and feel like they matter to you and are not just a “source” or a money sign.

So – what exactly should you do to increase your referrals without having to ask for them?

Step #1 - Examine Current Referrals

Who is referring you now?  Anyone?  Do you have any clients, colleagues, peers, strategic biz alliances that have ever referred your products or services?  Make a list.  Then take a look at that list and figure out the common denominators.  This will reveal to you not only the traits you are looking for in a future strategic business alliance but also what processes and procedures you currently have that have led to referrals….do more of that!

Step #2 - Automate and Track

Don’t automate your communication – this needs to stay personal. But automate reminders for you to reach out, stay in touch, make your memorable shout above the noise.  Use a CRM, a spreadsheet, whatever you’re comfortable with to not only remind you but also to track what’s working and what’s not, who is referring to you and who isn’t.  Evaluate this every 6 months or so and adjust your plan, refocus on people who ARE referring you and the traits of those that are in order to target new referral partners.

Step #3 - Casually Mention Referrals

When talking to others, casually mention that your business is growing and that you’re excited about the referrals that are coming in.  This shows them that you are worthy of referring to (at least others believe you to be) and that you’re dedicated to the process of referrals – therefore, you may also be a good source for them as the relationship grows.

Step #4 - Have a Follow Up Process

Have a solid followup procedure including hand-written Thank You cards when you receive a referral (regardless of outcome), gain a new client, or even enjoy a time getting to know someone better.  Also check out our networking followup video HERE.

Step #5 - Stay Top of Mind

Stay top of mind by consistently reaching-out to your referral sources.  No, not your mass email list.  That goes to everyone and doesn’t make them feel special.  Rather this should be an intentional email, call, invitation to an event, or forwarding an article or interesting fact pertaining to them or their business or life.  Don’t make this about you and your industry unless it can speak to a specific need or challenge that they recently shared with you.  Even then, keep it informational rather than sales oriented.

Most importantly – communication with referral sources is not the same as marketing campaigns.  Avoid the sales or prospecting language and opt for personalized, relationship-building conversations. 

For sticking with me to this point let me share with you how I refer others.  It is first and foremost about identifying the need of the potential client and the possible solution that the person I am referring to can provide.  If I simply introduce them without the context of WHY I am introducing them it is not much better then a warm lead.  Rather I am intentional about using language that will jump-start the conversation between them as to how the relationship can move forward and be beneficial to both parties.

This should be easy because there is a reason you are connecting them – just state that reason.  If you can’t verbalize it then maybe there really isn’t a connection.  This is true even when I am simply introducing two people because I think there may be a potential for a strategic business alliance between them – there is still a REASON I believe that so I share it with them.

Take some time this week and look at your list – find those that are referring you and then create a plan.  If you found value in this please give us a like on Youtube and go ahead and subscribe.  Also, if you’re looking for systems to help keep your referral partners and everyone else organized, check out this post.

As always, give us a shout if you have questions or need more clarification – love to chat with you!