People would rather do business with people they know, rather than with strangers. Think about that for a second. I’m sure you agree with that statement and if not, you’re probably in the wrong business or career. You see, when someone is introduced as a referral, there is a much higher comfort level as opposed to someone you found through cold calling. People will buy from you if they know, like and trust you. If not, you wouldn’t get their business! It’s time to take advantage of that trust level, and ask for referrals.
There are a few tips to remember when it comes to referrals:
- Don’t be afraid to ask. I know many people who don’t ask for referrals. They may feel it’s inappropriate or they simply don’t know how to ask. Although you may think you’re being pushy or inappropriate, people won’t give you a referral unless you deserve it. Getting a referral is the highest compliment you can receive. As an incentive to give referrals, you can also reward them by giving them a discount on your services or a gift card.
- It’s all about timing. The time to ask is typically after completion of the work you were doing. In my opinion, you should prepare the client for the referral question. As you are doing the work but nearing the end, mention to your client that when the work is completed, you’re going to ask for a referral. By doing this, your client won’t be put on the spot and it gives them time to think about potential referrals. When the work is complete (and to the satisfaction of the client), remind them and ask for a referral.
- Be different. What sets you apart from others that can provide the same service? Many people probably don’t know how to answer that question, but it’s important that you figure it out. Once you do, I can guarantee you’ll see your business grow. I’m sure you did a good job and your customer service was great, but your competition can probably do the same (and maybe even cheaper). Find out what differentiates you from the rest.
- Be thankful. Always thank someone who has given you a referral. I’m a big fan of sending a hand written note. Most people these days won’t take the time to that. By hand writing a thank you note, you’re showing the person that you appreciate what they did, and because they rarely receive hand written notes, it will stick in their mind much longer than a standard email.
Asking for referrals is much more effective than cold calling, advertising, or any other sales technique. Follow these tips and make a habit of asking for referrals.