I’m Asking for a Referral
Take it from an experienced marketer: There's no marketing activity I could provide that would be more effective than a referral from a happy customer. Yet, many salespeople fail to ask for them.
Ask any competent marketer and they may be willing to admit that nothing they can do for you can ever be as effective or as powerful as a referral. Yet, many sales and marketing professionals fail to ever ask for them.
What Makes a Referral So Much More Effective?
Ask yourself which YOU feel will be more effective for you personally:
You want to apply for a job. You know somebody who knows the hiring manager, so you ask for an introduction to them.
You send out resumes
If you reacted more positively to the first choice, it’s no wonder. A personal introduction is just that, personal! How would you rather have that manager learn about you, to hear about you from someone they know and trust? Or from a piece of paper?
Trust is a key element of all marketing. People must trust the source before they will begin to invest belief in the message. Your email, web posting, radio ad, or anything else you’d send starts off completely untrusted. As they come to know your brand that will improve. When a person they know and trust tells them about you and your product, the trust is already there. The friend of your friend is your friend!
How Do You Go About Asking for a Referral?
When you’re confident that you’ve done a great job for a customer, or they’ve really benefited from owning what you sold to them, it should be easy. “Since you feel so good about our work or product, would you mind introducing me to others who might also benefit?” is a very simple question. The very worst that can happen is they’ll say “no” in which case you must immediately ask why to learn more about their dissatisfaction. The answer may have been negative, but the opportunity to learn how to serve them better is as super-positive as it gets!
Recognize the Value of Every Referral
The easiest way to turn a referral into more referrals is to thank the person who gave you one, and let them know how it turned out, especially if you won more business. People love to give, and to feel appreciated. And its totally appropriate to thank them for leading you to more success, even if its only potential success.
The next time you ask that person for a referral, they’ll most remember your graciousness in sending them a thank you note, and share another contact gladly. Soon, they may find themselves becoming proud of the great benefit they’ve bestowed upon their friends, and start talking you up to everyone they know. You become “their” expert, and they’re proud to share you with friends.
Turning Referrals Into a Chain of Success
What was your best project? One you really felt proud of and really profited from. One you know the customer was thrilled with?
What business or industry was that customer in?
Now go and find every single one of their competitors, or those in businesses closely aligned or adjacent to theirs. Build an anonymous case study telling how you served that first customer and how much value they derived from your work. Share this with each of the other businesses you’ve found. Suggest that they too can enjoy the same benefits and value.
You may find yourself repeating the same project over and over again. And don’t be surprised if you’re able to implement it faster and less expensively each time. Just keep your fee the same, don’t reduce it ever, and you’ll be selling the same project more and more profitably each time!
Don’t Reduce Your Fee!!! Price yourself based on customer value, not hours!!!
Routinizing Referral Requests
Make requesting referrals part of your messaging. Include a request at the end of every follow-up email you send. Consider adding a referral request on your invoices in a footer.
Borrow from the “assumptive close” in which you frame the request as a done deal. Of course they’re going to give you a referral. Helps them feel like it’s a regular course of business, the right thing to do.
When it comes to your social media and blog posts, it’s crucial to include a request like, “If you found this information valuable, we hope you’ll share it with your friends. If not, we hope you’ll share that with us so we can improve!”
With all the noise in every media channel, it’s no longer possible to “rise above” it. By asking your readers to help you reach new readers you literally cut through the noise to build your audience of happy readers, many of whom will soon convert into customers.
Leading by Example
Hopefully, you’re finding these articles in Business Technologist’s Journal useful, helping you learn new ways of improving your business, or reminding you to do things you used to do but somehow got away from. In any case we hope they provoke some productive thinking.
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