Every entrepreneur and business owner I know wants to increase referrals in their business.
Getting referrals is the simplest, cheapest marketing strategy that small business owners can use to grow their client base and revenue.
But, so few business owners have developed a strategic referral system that they use to consistently bring in more warm leads into their business.How many referrals are you currently getting in your business?
How much is a referral that becomes a client worth to you and your business?
What would it worth to you to develop a clear process to increase referrals into your business?
Referrals happen as a result of conversations
The majority of referrals happen as a result of a conversation.
Which means the more time people think about you and your business during the right conversations, the more opportunity there is to get new leads, prospects and clients.
As a coach, I help a lot of my clients get more referrals for their business simply because I know how to orchestrate referrals.
I was successful in generating referrals in my corporate role, and now coaching entrepreneurs and small business owners.
In my 20 years of experience working with corporates, small business owners and individual entrepreneurs I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work in being able to increase referrals.
If you want to increase referrals in any business, four things need to happen.
1. Be intentional about getting referrals
In order to orchestrate more referrals in your business, you simply need to become intentional about referrals.
How many new prospects and clients came into your business through referrals in the last 12 months and what financial value can you attach to those referrals?
Then, think about all of the opportunities you have to generate new referrals – your clients, your network, your friends, your family, your team and so on.
Rather than having referrals be an afterthought of your marketing strategy, make it your #1 strategy.
The first thing is that you need to be intentional about getting referrals and have referral generation as a key component of your marketing strategy.
2. A conversation needs to happen with someone you know
This article is focused on strategies to increase referrals to your business through your clients, friends and network.
Any conversation you have, if you listen hard, is an opportunity to create a referral.
In order for referral opportunities to multiply, the people you have a relationship with need to be in a conversation with somebody else.
You may have some fantastic clients, but if they are not having conversations with other people, then you won’t get any referrals through that channel.
But people who have lots of conversations.
The people who know, like and trust you.
Those are the people to talk to about proactively thinking about you during their conversations.
3. The person you know needs to be curious
If your network isn’t having many conversations then it will be much harder for new referrals to flow into your business.
When your network is passive, the same is true.
The third thing that needs to be true to increase referrals is that the person you have a relationship with needs to proactively notice that the conversation they’re having is about a pain point that you solve or something that you have achieved a result doing.
If you’re a travel agent, you want your network to listen hard for people talking about planning a trip or talking about a dream trip they want to take in the future.
My network is primed to listen hard when people mention that they don’t have enough time.
They are listening hard for conversations where people are talking about launching a product, or wanting to promote their business, or wanting to get new photos done. And so on…
4. The person you know needs to introduce you
And the fourth thing that needs to happen is, the person you have a relationship with (your client) needs to want to introduce you to the conversation.
The fourth thing is key and the secret sauce of effective referral generation.
If your clients are passive, you won’t get many referrals.
When they are proactive and go out of their way to mention you, then you will get lots of referrals.
A simple way to increase referrals
Let’s use an example. Say you’re a corporate photographer. Then, when one of your clients talks to a friend or someone in their network and they say, “Oh we’ve just rebranded our business. And we’re thinking about getting some new photos of our team taken…..”
The moment they mention it, your client or friend needs to notice that the conversation is about corporate photography.
And then, because you did a good job with your client, they need to think about you and introduce you to their friends or network.
So they reply something like, “Well, we had Mark update our team photos. He was great. You should give him a call, here’s his number.”
What would be even better is if your client does the heavy lifting themselves, through a personal introduction.
You want your client to say, “let me call Mark and set up a meeting for you. He did our photos and they were fantastic.”
Because the thing is…
Know, Like and Trust
People want introductions.
We all want to work with someone who is trustworthy, reliable, honest and has produced results for someone they know.
The people we trust most – our friends, our team and our network. their friends.
And when these people refer you to them, it means that an element of trust has already been created.
That’s why referrals are so powerful.
Good referrals also mean you don’t have to compete with other businesses to build rapport and trust.
So, don’t leave referrals to chance. Make it easy for your clients and friends to proactively refer you…
And, most importantly, deepen your relationships with the right clients and friends so you’re always top of their mind to refer you.
What system do you use to increase referrals in your business?
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