What is your most effective and cost efficient way to earn new clients/customers? Odds are your answer was REFERRALS. For The Growth Coach franchise system, for example, the #1 source of business coaching clients throughout North America is from referrals…referrals from current coaching clients, prospects, and referral sources like CPAs, bankers, attorneys, financial planners, etc. For most high-performing businesses, referrals are the foundation for their on-going growth and success. If this is the case, shouldn’t every salesperson and business owner try to optimize their referrals? This business coach thinks so.
Would you like to earn more income? Then learn to earn more referrals. This coaching blog will focus on helping you and your company to become more referable.
As a business coach for over 18 years, I have seen first-hand that the most successful salespeople and business owners took the time and effort to build long-term and high-caliber referral relationships. These professionals relied on their proven and predictable referral sources to sustain them in good times and bad. They didn’t rely on strangers, unqualified prospects, or marketing gimmicks to sustain them. They never settled for the quick and easy sales fix. With a long-term perspective, they built their businesses on the solid and secure foundation of referrals. They acted like patient farmers…they continually planted and nurtured their seeds every season so they could reap the bountiful harvest. Are you faithfully farming?
Without question, getting referrals from current clients and others is a highly effective and low-cost way to grow your business. But they don’t simply happen. To improve the quantity and quality of your referrals, you must do some honest self-examination. Whether you are a business owner, sales professional, or both, how well are you doing with your referrals? Do you have a real referral system in place? Do you make earning referrals a top priority? Do you analyze your referral activity and try to improve your results? Are you and your company getting an abundance of high-quality referrals? If not, why not? If so, how do you keep them coming?
Now comes the key question…are you and your company referable? Stated another way, are you worthy of referrals? This is the heart of the issue. Are your consistent attitudes and behavior worthy of referrals? Obtaining referrals comes down to earning referrals. To get more referrals, you must BECOME MORE…a better person and company worthy of more referrals. You must have confidence, credibility, capability and character. In short, people must trust you to do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it, and how you say you will do. Simply put, you must establish a track record of coming through for them time and time again.
In order to be referable, you must do the little things well. People must know you, like you and trust you before they refer their customers, clients, peers, friends, advisers, neighbors, vendors/suppliers, etc. to you. Bottom line, you want to get people talking well about you and your services/products to others. They must transfer their enthusiasm and trust for you and your offerings to others. Again, are you and your consistent behavior worthy of referrals?
Here are some basic principles you must follow to earn more referrals and as a result, more income:
- Continually educate others (paint a vivid picture) about who can benefit from your services/products…never stop the education process
- When you meet with people, arrive on time or be early…show respect for others and their valuable time
- Be passionate about who you serve and what you do
- Show appreciation for other people’s time, advice and referrals…say thank you often and send follow-up thank-you notes
- Focus on helping and enriching others, not yourself
- Follow-through on all commitments (call when you say you will, show up when you say you will, drop off a proposal when you say you will, etc.)
- If you know you won’t be able to meet a commitment, call ahead of time and let them know why. Minimize surprises!
- Continually ask for referrals (if not, you are committing a crime against your business)
- Earning referrals is YOUR JOB…nobody owes you anything…you are NOT entitled to referrals…you must earn them
- Give referrals to get referrals…think about helping out others in your network!
- Let people experience your offering (demonstration, samples, a free consultation, a coaching preview, etc.)
- Share your expertise (e-newsletters, published articles, your blog, LinkedIn conversations, free talks, etc.)
- Build up your credibility and share testimonials with your referral sources and others (leverage LinkedIn to help)
- Study your more productive referral sources and CLONE them – find others similar to them
Again, if you want more referrals, become a person worthy of more referrals. Don’t expect others to change (give you more referrals) until YOU change. Follow the suggestions as above and become more worthy of more referrals. Remember, you are not entitled to any referrals. To earn more, learn to earn more referrals.