Referrals are a powerful selling tool available when used correctly. People would much rather do business with people they know than with strangers. When you are introduced through a recommendation, you have a higher success rate of someone calling out of the blue.
While some professionals realize this fact, they don’t know how to generate sales referrals successfully and regularly. They might be uncomfortable asking for referrals, or maybe they’re not confident in how much they will benefit their clients. Either way, referrals are a huge part of running a business, and it’s an important action to integrate into your list of daily tasks. To begin, here are five ways to generate more referrals.
Give referrals to get referrals.
If you give referrals generously yourself, people will reciprocate the action. Whenever you have the opportunity to refer an associate or introduce contacts to each other, do it. And, if you are attending some kind of networking event, use that opportunity as well. Most people will appreciate the referral, and they will want to do the same for you. If they do, always say thank you and keep them informed of any progress you make with their suggestion.
Even if someone doesn’t have a referral for you on the tip of their tongue, they will often put you in the back of their minds in case they hear of someone who they think would work well for you. Don’t be surprised if you hear from someone a week or two after having a discussion with them. Maybe all they need is some time to think about what you said. Basically, nothing negative can come out of giving referrals.
Take advantage of your LinkedIn account.
Your chances of success will increase if you do your homework first. You have your professional relationships at your fingertips with your LinkedIn account, so why not use it? Instead of requesting referrals blindly, scroll through the site and see who you would like to connect with. Use the advanced people search feature to find people who are specifically in your industry. See who they are connected with, and if you have any mutual connections. If you do, boom…ask for a referral. You could even connect with them right there on the spot, and introduce yourself. It can’t hurt!
Focus on the newbies.
Longtime customers love you, but they’re probably not as likely to talk you up as the new customer who just walked in the door. When someone discovers a business they love, they are going to share the news with friends and family. They are going to go out of their way for you without even realizing it, so, go out of your way for them. Always ask people you don’t recognize if they have been to your business before, and if not, give them a tour, let them taste everything on the menu, offer them a great deal…give them an experience they will be impressed with. Make every first impression count, and before you know it, you’ll see some more new customers walk through the door. It’s a fool-proof method.
Make sure people are well-informed about your business.
In order to give a good referral for you, your clients need to know all about the products and services you offer. So, don’t be vague about what you do. Let your customers know the ins and outs of your business, what you are currently working on, and your goals for the future. Often, sellers assume that customers know more about them than they actually do. Don’t let that be you! Really take into consideration how you present yourself, and think about what kind of vibe your business gives off. If you want word to spread, you need to be positive and informative about your work.
Change the way you think.
Start picturing your business as an infinite web of relationships. Every contact you make has the potential to connect you with so many new people. You need to actively pursue these opportunities in order for them to present themselves to you. Don’t let them stay out of reach! Your current contacts may be engulfing a wider network than you realize. Take a step back and question yourself. Have you talked to everyone you can about your business? Have you taken constructive criticism to the blackboard? Have you reached out to the people who matter most? It’s up to you to figure out who you need to connect with in order to create new relationships.