Don’t wait for referrals; ask for them!

by Shannon F.

ask for sales referrals

Referrals are a great way to grow your business, but they don’t always happen as frequently as you’d like. Think about how many referrals you’ve given so far this year, and you’ll have some idea of how hard it actually is to get business this way. For one, your product or service has to come up in a conversation between your satisfied customer and someone in your locality who is in the market for what you have to offer. If you simply wait for that scenario to happen (unprompted by you), your chances of significantly growing your business by referrals are slim. It is possible to give your referrers a nudge, however; here are the steps for driving referrals the easy way.

Step 1. Wow a new client. As always, the key to getting referrals is to earn them by making sure your customer is absolutely satisfied. If your service was well-received, you should be able to ask for referrals confidently—you earned it.

Step 2. Narrow down the prospects you want to be referred to. For example, say, “I often assist companies that are moving or in transition. Do you know anyone like that who might need my services?” Linkedin provides an even easier way to seek referrals, as Brynne Tillman of Business Development University taught us. Simply connect with your satisfied client on Linkedin and take a look at his or her connections. See anybody you’d like to do business with? Ask your client to introduce you online.

Step 3.
Make the task easy for your referrer. It may help to provide a message of introduction that your customer can simply send off to a few contacts on your behalf. That may sound pushy, but it actually makes your customer’s job much easier; now, he or she doesn’t have to spend time drafting an introductory note.

Step 4.
Try a referral program. Offer incentives, such as a discount or something for free, to customers who drive business to you. The key is to track referrals carefully to make sure clients get credit when you land the deal.

Step 5. Reciprocate. Make sure your clients know you are willing to help them out with referrals and introductions as well. It’s a great way to build long-lasting and mutually-beneficial relationships.

Step 6. Repeat! If you ask every customer for a few targeted referrals, imagine how quickly you’ll be able to grow your network. Think of every InsightPRM lead as two potential leads: the first one provided by us and the second one provided by your satisfied customer after a job well done. Of course, it doesn’t always work out perfectly; even well-meaning customers may forget they promised to refer you. That’s why you should say to every customer, “Hey, I enjoyed working with you. Do you happen to know of anyone else locally who might need my services?” At worst, they can say no. At best, they can introduce you to an expanded network of connections and opportunities.

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