This is the second post in a three-part series on How to Get More Referrals. You can see the first part here.
Build referral generation into your business cycle
Now we can assume you’re doing great work and delivering killer customer service.
How do you now get referrals consistently?
The first thing to do is to set up a system whereby you no longer have to remember to get a referral or kick yourself for not doing it — it becomes automatic.
Here’s what I mean.
You very likely already have systems in place in your business. You may have a set questionnaire your gym clients fill out to asses their physical condition. You may have a quick audit you run on your accounting clients. You may have a standard greeting you want your employees to use inside your retail boutique.
Well just like you’ve got those systems in place, now it’s time to add referral generation into the mix.
This is an automatic process designed to provide you with more leads and more business.
Most people think of getting referrals as coming at the end of an engagement — that is, after they’ve been paid.
That is problematic though, because you’ve just had a fair exchange of value. You did the work, and then you got paid, and now you’re asking for MORE? It puts off clients.
However, it’s quite possible to get more referrals and get paid, if you ask for referrals a) in the right way, and b) at the right time.
Here’s a quick diagram I put together to illustrate this idea.
There are other ways of course beyond asking (and we’ll get into the specifics of asking in a moment).
Over at Passive Panda, I’ve read of an insurance agent who generates referrals and new leads by the following:
After he successfully closes a client, he goes to their neighborhood, and knocks on the doors of his new client’s neighbors. He then tells them a little script, (“Hi there, I’m John Smith, and I just helped Mike Johnson protect his family and wealth. I wanted to give you this little refrigerator magnet — it has my contact information on it. That way, if something were to happen while Mike’s on vacation or away from the house, you can give me a call. I just want to make sure that they are taken care of. Would that be alright?”)
You can read about about a variety of over referral systems over at Duct Tape Marketing.
There you’ll read a story about a remodeling contractor who, after completing a project, throws a small party for his clients — a little open house party. He makes a small presentation at the very end, passes out cards, and the photos he takes there go on his website and postcard mailings.
What’s important is not so much what you do, but the fact that you have a system. You know exactly when you will ask for the referral, and you know exactly what you will say. Once you have a system, then it’s just a matter of testing different approaches and tweaking it.
IMMEDIATELY ACTIONABLE TACTIC: Decide on a referral system and WRITE. IT. DOWN. Maybe it’s asking before you present the invoice. Maybe it’s throwing a party or visiting neighbors. Whatever it is, write it down, and place it in your business cycle as a specific step.
More to come, so stay tuned
Okay, now you’ve figured out how to 1) do great work and 2) provide outstanding customer service that sets positive expectations. This week you’ll be getting part two of our three-part series on building referrals. Part 2 covers how to bake a referral generation system right into your business cycle, so you never have to think about it again.