“Colleen – how can I get more referrals?”
This is the most common question I get when conducting prospecting workshops. My most common answer is: “What have you done to deserve more referrals?”
If you want to increase your referral rate, you have to start by asking yourself a number of questions about how you conduct business on a daily basis. The most important question is: “how likeable are you?”
What are you doing every day to be more likeable? Like everything else in sales, there is no magic ‘likeability’ bullet that works every time, with every customer. Over the next few days I will reveal the best six of the best ways I’ve found to help you increase your referrals, by putting the other person first – and simply having fun!
1. Start a monthly advocate program
Once a year, do a customer genealogy to see who or what was responsible for all the additions to your customer base. Odds are, you’ll find between 5-20 primary referral sources, ranging from current clients to friends, partners and suppliers.
Make an “advocate list” of these active referral sources, and develop a concrete plan to keep in touch with them on a regular basis. Every 4-6 weeks, for example, send them something of value – not a brochure or promotional piece, but something they will actually value and use, like an article or book you think they will enjoy, a phone call, an invitation to lunch or breakfast, or even a referral for their business from you.
2. Develop a culture of referrals
Another approach that can help you develop a steady stream of referrals is to ask questions that benefit your customer first.
One Engage customer doubled her referrals simply by asking the following client-focused question at the end of every client
“Now… how can I help you?”
By putting the needs of her customers first, she demonstrates that she truly cares about them. When people sense that you care, they tend to want to return the favor. In fact, you may find that many of your customers are genuinely surprised by a question like this, because no one has ever asked them that before. And that’s why your follow-up question is equally indispensable:
“You’ve helped my business grow by becoming part of our family network. I’d like to help your business grow, too. So let me ask you – what type of people do you want to meet to help increase your revenue?”
That little extra effort is what will get you noticed – and get you more referrals. Let me know how you do – I’d love to hear your success.
Dedicated to increasing your sales,