Key To Generating Referrals: Make It All About Your Clients

Despite conventional wisdom, the best way to generate referrals isn’t to spend time and resources asking for them.

That’s from Stacey Randall Brown, author of “Generating Business Referrals Without Asking: A Simple 5 Step Plan To A Referral Explosion.” Brown is a business coach specializing in training companies on generating referrals.

She says the inherent contradiction with asking for referrals is you’re making it about you to your customer or client. And often the referrals you do get from asking are little better than cold calls.

It’s the relationships you build with your clients after doing top-notch work for them that will determine if you generate referrals.

Determine Referral Sources

Besides current or previous clients, identify people who are centers of influence. These are people who know what you do, don’t provide the same service and come across your ideal clients.

“Every business owner needs to have a list of their referral sources and keep it updated,” Brown said. Use technology to do so, but not as a substitute for human interaction.

Nurture Relationships

Develop a plan to generate referrals. It should be genuine and not built on gimmicks like paying for referrals. Laser in on relationship building, Brown says.

The outreach can be a gift or a shared experience like a round of golf. There is also great value, Brown says, in simple gestures. For example, send a personalized holiday card with your team or family on it instead of just a generic one.

Demonstrate Appreciation

Brown advises things like sending a thank you card to a new client after they come on board. Send another card or a small gift after you’ve completed a job for them.

“It doesn’t take much to move a client from feeling like a number to knowing they matter,” she said.

Plant Referral Seeds

When acknowledging the person providing the referral, Brown has found most people in their haste simply write “thank you for referring me.”

She says it’s far more impactful to write “thank you for referring me to” and then put in that person’s first and last name. Add language like “it’s an honor to help those you know and care about.”

“This type of language extends their memory of what they did and plants the seed of you helping more people they know,” Brown said.

Recognize the different opportunities to plant and do so with the right language or sentiment.

Acknowledge Everyone

Recognize people even when a referral doesn’t result in new a new client. That’s from Bart Baker, author of “The Breakthrough Insurance Agency: How to Multiply Your Income, Time and Fun.” Baker’s B.W. Baker Insurance Services is one of the most successful agencies in the country.

“When you do this,” Baker said, “it cements the relationship you have with that referrer.”

​Baker also follows up with appropriate gifts such as wine, flowers and gift certificates when receiving referrals.

He says new business has been almost exclusively referral based for several years now. Software helps Baker personally thank each new client at the six-month mark and stay consistent with other touch points though the year.

Have An ‘A’ List

Baker pays special attention to those people who are powerful centers of influence.

On birthdays, he might call them personally, send something special or offer to take them out for lunch.

Turn The Tables

Actively refer your customers where appropriate, says Rob Chen, CEO, Brightlink, a communications platform and technology company.

“I’ve worked with customers that have complementary solutions to what we offered, and referring my customers to others has often engendered unexpected yet very effective referrals back,” he said.

Spotlight People

Customers naturally want to evangelize companies that evangelize them, Chen says.

“Highlight personal case studies of the success of your customers and how they resolved important business challenges,” Chen said. “This can be both more authentic and more effective in stimulating referrals.”

He says ultimately individuals do referrals, not companies “and those who feel celebrated tend to naturally respond in kind.”


Getting Ideas Across Effectively In A Virtual World

Business Planning: Take Inspiration From The Thriving Creative Economy


The post Key To Generating Referrals: Make It All About Your Clients appeared first on Investor's Business Daily.

Comments are closed.