Referrals – What Are They, What is a Good One and How Do I Get Them?

Referrals – What Are They, What is a Good One and How Do I Get Them?

I Think I Know What A Referral Is, But How Important Are They?

Imagine this: Your business is thriving and you don’t do ANY marketing. Your customers come to you, and you have all that you can manager. Look at all the money you’re saving from advertising! Feel how the pressure’s off to get more customers or clients! Look at the publicity you’re getting because your business is featured in all those magazines and stuff! You’re sitting on the beach somewhere in Maui with your family while your competent and trained staff is taking care of business! Your mother-in-law doesn’t know where you are. (Oops! Sorry, different post).

“Is this already possible,” you ask? Especially the part about your mother-in-law? Well, I can’t make claims about the observe protection program, but I can tell you that there are businesses out there who are operating on a Referral Only basis. One of them is an insurance company in California. “Yes, Dorothy, it is possible if you believe enough. Oh, and the most important part? DO THE WORK!”

O.K., So What Is A Referral Exactly? A referral is someone telling someone else that they should do business with you because of your product, service, pricing, or something else, and that you can solve their problem. It can be because the first someone heard about you, or that the first someone has had a good experience or relationship with you or your business. It’s kind of like, your neighbor has a problem with his bookie, or a loan shark is charging too much vig, and you tell him, “I know a guy….” while at the same time you put your finger on the side of your nose and push it sideways a little. You get the drift? You’ll notice that I didn’t truly say, “Mafia.” A referral is a recommendation, is what it is.

The best and most powerful referral is one where someone has a personal relationship with you or your company and advises someone else to do business with you because of the terrific experience they had. If your best friend told you that a company solved his problem with little fuss, hardly any money and in a timely manner with great service, would you listen to him more than if you heard a blaring commercial on T.V. yakking about how great that company is? Of course you would. You would be an idiot not to. What if ALL YOUR CUSTOMERS did that? Could that help grow your business? Would it reduce your marketing budget? Boy, howdy!

So, How Do I Get A Good Referral? Simple. You ask for one.

“Ah, not so simple,” you say. “Well, why not,” I say. And you reply, “Because I’ve asked for them and no one has ever given me one.” And I retort, ” That’s because………..”

STOP!! I’m getting carried away here. This isn’t supposed to turn into a dialog. Let’s scroll back a associate lines.

You get a good referral by asking for one. We’ve got a great tool that you can use to ask for one. Now, you may think that you’ve asked for one, but in fact, have you? Do you know the proper way to ask for a referral, or do you do what most folks do, which is to say something like, “O.K. then, if you know anyone who can use my sets or products, I’d appreciate if you would tell them about me.” Friends, that’s not asking for a referral. That’s just flapping your gums and it’s likely the other person isn’t already listening to you.

Have you ever experienced this when you were a kid, and your Dad wanted to buy you an ice cream cone? He asked you, “What kind do you want?” You said, “I don’t know.” He said, “Do you want chocolate, vanilla or strawberry?” You said, “I don’t know.” He said, “What about sprinkles? Do you want sprinkles on it?” You said, “I don’t know.” So Dad went and bought you a vanilla ice cream cone with no sprinkles on it. Now you were disappointed because you wanted a chocolate cone WITH sprinkles on it, but you didn’t tell him!

Do you see a pattern here?

Don’t just ask for any old referral! Ask for a SPECIFIC referral. Ask it like this – “I am looking for a person who needs inexpensive life insurance for his family because his company doesn’t provide benefits.” Or perhaps, “If you know of someone who is looking for commercial real estate like an office building on the east side of town….” How about, “I want an introduction to the president of XYZ company, so if you know anyone who knows him….” That’s how you ask for a referral. Otherwise, your customers and clients don’t really know what it is you’re looking for, or worse, they send you people that you can’t do business with. Now they are disappointed, the customer who sent them will give up doing so, and you’ll be frustrated. And here’s a news flash…..there is an AUTOMATED tool out there to ask your clients and other folks for referrals. You don’t already have to wait until you see them confront to confront. Email me at [email protected] to see the automated tool.

There is a caveat to all this. Can you guess what it is?

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