If you’re still focusing most of your prospecting efforts on total strangers – people who don’t know you and don’t want to know you – you’re missing out on many of your best potential customers. But there is more to referrals than just asking customers to recommend you. Here are three ways to build more sales referral business.
Referrals can increase your business by keeping your prospect pipeline full. But what are the best ways to go about getting referrals? Discover and build the habits of developing a referral mindset, earning the right to ask for referrals early in your relationships and learning to ask for referrals at the right time.
1. Develop a Referral Mindset
If you want to get more referrals, then the first place to start is with your thinking and your awareness. I call this a referral mindset. Is this your mindset?
- You realize that prospects would prefer to meet you through a referral above any other way, so it’s your preferred method of prospecting.
- You aren’t stuck in the transaction game; rather, you’ve tapped into the lifetime value of your clients. You stay in contact with your clients so they can feed you with referrals over a lifetime.
- You know the only way you become referable is by providing great value and great service to your prospects and current clients.
- You have a system for bringing in referrals rather than leaving referrals to chance.
- You are always connecting people by giving referrals.
- And finally, you expect to get referrals. Your attitude of expectation creates more powerful action.
With this powerful referral mindset, you will begin to generate more high-quality referrals.
2. Earn the Right to Ask for Referrals Sooner, Not Later
Would you like to get referrals sooner in your relationships? Would you like to get high quality referrals from prospects? The key to this is bringing real value to your relationships in the first appointment.
- Learn as much as you can about your contacts. Be genuinely curious. Be a good listener.
- Ask your contacts questions that get them thinking in ways they haven’t before. Help them create their own visions.
- Be a teacher, not a salesperson. Teach your contacts how to buy what you’re selling and how to select the right company for them. This will reduce the natural buyer/seller tension and help begin the trust-building process.
- Give referrals to other professionals who might be of service to them.
- Be on time for all appointments.
- Do exactly what you say you will do when you said you’d do it. Any variation? Let the prospect or customer know. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises.
- When you arrive on appointments to give rather than get, it stands out. There is less tension and more trust, which is what you need for the referral process to take hold. Make sure your first appointment with prospects is an extraordinary experience for them, and you’ll get referrals.
3. Ask for Referrals at Just the Right Moment
The right time to ask for referrals is when value has been given and recognized. Can you give value on the first few appointments before prospects become customers? Not only can you do this, but you should. No value recognized equals no sale and no referrals.
How do you know when contacts recognize value? Your prospects and customers will tell you. When you hear value-recognizing statements, it’s usually safe to ask for referrals.
Not sure if contacts recognize your value? Ask value-seeking questions. At the end of every appointment, ask a question like “Of all the things we discussed today, what was the most valuable (or most important)?” This helps contacts see the value, and now you know you’re on safe ground in asking for referrals. It’s the best time to ask.
Make sure your first appointment is an extraordinary experience and that you continue to provide value throughout your relationships.
When you focus on building your referrals and take care to make yourself referable, you will find that asking for referrals comes naturally and that people will be more likely to refer you.
Bill Cates is an internationally recognized client-acquisition expert, author, and speaker focusing on the proven relationship marketing strategies. A successful entrepreneur, Bill started and sold two publishing companies. Turning his attention to help other businesses grow, Bill has written four best-selling books: Get More Referrals Now, Don’t Keep Me a Secret, Beyond Referrals and Radical Relevance.
Email Bill at BillCates@ReferralCoach.com or call 301.497.2200