Before this recession, many businesses relied solely on referrals for business. Now that those referrals have dried up, how can a business start being pro-active in developing referrals? Understand the process of getting referrals before you just boldly ask.
1. CUSTOMER REFERRALS - If you have given extra service and your customer recognizes it, plan to ask for 3-5 referral names. Make sure to re-confirm that they are estatic about your service.
2. DESCRIBE VERY EXACTLY THE REFERRAL THAT YOU WANT - This means having a very clear target and the benefits that you offer.
3. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS SPHERE OF INFLUENCE - Be pro-active by knowing your customers client base and knowing the problems of the industry. Do not hesitate to use LinkedIn and other social media to know more about their contacts and how they can benefit from you.
4. REDUCE THE RISK OF GIVING A REFERRAL - Remember that by giving a referral your contact is putting their reputation on the line. Give assurances that you will give the referral, your absolute best effort and will go the extra mile to please.
5. HAVE YOUR CLIENT SELL YOU - If you can make sure that your client has an agreed written benefit statement of your services. Ask them if they would mind you sending them something in this form, before they call or write to the referral. Let them sell you in a way, that you want to be sold.
6. BEWARE OF THE CANDY REFERRAL SOURCE - Be careful of wasting time with referrals, which are of no benefit to you. There are some people that give out referrals like candy during Halloween. Most of them are not really good referrals, because not much thought has been given to the value you bring, and the need from the other side.
7. IF ALL ELSE FAILS GETS TESTIMONIALS - If someone is to uncomfortable, and you recognize this, ask them if they would not mind writing a testimonial.
A Board of peers like the Alternative Board can dramatically help you improve your referral marketing, sales, and many other areas to help grow your business.